Florence Pugh’s relationship with Zach Braff ‘bugs people, it’s not who they expected’

Royal wedding

Florence Pugh is 25 years old. She’s dating Zach Braff, who is 46 years old. They’ve been dating for years now. Florence kept the relationship kind of quiet in interviews and her social media for a while, but in late 2019 and early 2020, she started putting Braff on her social. People were in her comments, telling her that the age difference is gross. I’m a long-time believer in A) celebrities turning off their comments and B) encouraging people to not be rude on a celebrity’s social media. That being said, people saying “the age difference is gross” to Florence was the most traumatic thing that’s ever happened to her and that… says a lot. She’s been talking about it for the past year and a half, arguing that she’s super-mature and that’s why she’s with a middle-aged guy, because he likes her for her maturity and she can’t believe someone would find it gross. Yeah. Anyway, Florence covered a recent issue of the Sunday Times’ Style Magazine and she returned to the worst thing that has ever happened to her: her IG comments.

On the Instagram comments: “It’s so weird to me to go on to someone’s page and s*** on it. That’s so not my nature – to go and bully for the sake of bullying. It’s such an odd thing that we’ve become OK with in the past 10 years of social media. The thing is, people want Instagram to be a nicer place, they want to see nice things. They want to be inspired and they want to be happy. I don’t mind you not liking me, that’s absolutely fine. In which case, don’t follow me.”

Why she thinks people are bothered by her relationship: “I think it bugs people that it’s not who they expected,” she said. Florence was then asked if she thinks people would rather she be with someone like Little Women co-star Timothee Chalamet. She responded, “Exactly. Exactly. But it’s my life and I’m not doing anything to please people or to make it a better headline or story. I want to also be a person!”

[From JustJared]

I feel the same way now that I felt last year when she was saying practically the same thing: why is this such a BFD? Again, I’m not minimizing the daily harassment women face on the internet for merely existing. But it genuinely feels like Florence is super-mad (and she’s been mad for the better part of two years) because people aren’t praising her, kissing her ass and yaaas-girling her for banging a middle-aged dude. That’s really the gist of it. And it continues to astound me that no one in her orbit has been like “honey, why are you still complaining about this?” If she’s so confident in her relationship and her maturity, why not just tell the haters to kiss her ass and she can spend more time with her dude?

Cover courtesy of the Sunday Times Style Magazine.

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69 Responses to “Florence Pugh’s relationship with Zach Braff ‘bugs people, it’s not who they expected’”

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  1. Darla says:

    Oh no not this again

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Exactly.
      I don’t understand why it bugs her that much. It feels like she’s trying to justify her relationship with him, like telling herself it’s all fine.
      Hmm….

    • ElleV says:

      Exactly – if they had acknowledged “yeah, we look like a cliche but whatever, we’re in love” and then went about their business I think very few people would be raising eyebrows now. But that would require maturity and security in the relationship…

      Florence’s initial outrage that anyone would dare question or acknowledge the age difference, her continuing to make this a thing long after the conversation moved on, and Braff’s silence when clearly Florence is upset and doing the MOST to be a human shield for him – none of that screams mature and secure to me. Any questions or criticism about an age gap should fall to Braff to answer or ignore – why has it fallen to the younger person to defend this dynamic? She’s clearly very upset, so why isn’t he stepping in to shield her?

  2. lucy2 says:

    Yeah if I were her, I wouldn’t address it anymore. She’s said the age difference doesn’t bother her and she’s happy with him, so that’s that. If she continues to talk about it, she’ll continue to be asked about it, and it’ll be never ending.

  3. Tiffany says:

    Or she is pissed that people aren’t saying that she was the big get for Zach.

    Not enough people saying she can do better.

    Her relationship is about optics which is part of her career.

  4. jbyrdku says:

    It’s not that their relationship is “unexpected”, it’s that she can definitely do better and I choose to see this as a ‘phase’.

  5. Lara says:

    She obviously cares a LOT to keep talking about this. They seem happy together. Good for them. Except Zach had been in her comments on social media leaving creepy comments before they got together.

    “it’s not who they expected”

    Nah girl, we fully expected a gross middle aged man to go after you. And you fell for it.

    • Christina says:

      You hit the heart of the issue. This WAS expected. In the old days, she might be with an older producer and take pictures out with a young male star. Because she is famous and successful, she is supposed to be able to choose what she wanted instead of being pursued by an older man. Young women are prey no matter what. But they are together, so she should embrace it and focus on them.

      Based on my kid, that generation is critical of abuse and calls out what they view as wrong, and most abuse has an age component. Some of us older people come here to speculate. Gen Z isn’t interested in niceties and will TELL you about yourself.

  6. Lauren says:

    She seems to be insecure about her relationship. Yes, the haters will spew their vitriol, but that would happen no matter who she was with.

  7. Wiglet Watcher says:

    Is this the attention she wants? Does he encourage her posts to help him stay relevant? I think so.
    There are so many ways to fix her issues. Pick one and stop complaining in your interviews.

    And those mismatched shoes are not “good look” and that trend should burn.

    • Tiffany says:

      She thinks she is Jane Berkin. All the way to finding her Serge Gainsborg.

      She really wants that comparison, I think.

  8. DS9 says:

    I would like Pugh and Aaron Taylor-Johnson to find freedom from their groomers, please and thank you.

    • Emme says:

      Same.

      He met & directed Flo in a short when she was 18. He’s been dating her since then. He had a thing for Joey King as his ‘muse’ even when she was underage before Flo.

      I think Flo subconsciously knows it isn’t her maturity that attracts Bragg & that’s why she’s still trying to convince the world & herself that it is. Itll be a sad day when she realizes her youth was a requisite for his being with her. And yes she deserves waaaaay better.

      • Mtec says:

        Yikes. I didn’t know she was THAT young when they met. Definitely sus and gross on his part.

      • Cava24 says:

        I googled and it looks like they met in 2018 which would have made her 22, no? He directed her in a short film (11 min) that came out in 2019.

      • lucy2 says:

        Cava24 that’s what I’m seeing too, if 2018 is the year they met, she was at least 22.

      • DragonWise says:

        Wow! Well, that confirms all the things we were suspecting. In the work I do, I see a lot of coercive relationships, and the younger person literally never sees it as problematic and will ignore all the gut feelings to the contrary. It’s very flattering to have the attention of an older person. Once they are in the clutches of the groomer, it’s really hard for them to see what’s going on until it’s too late.

    • lucy2 says:

      Eh….while that age difference isn’t my cup of tea, she was well into her 20s when they met, and had a pretty strong career going. I think ATJ was barely 18.

      • NoNoYes says:

        False: ZB worked with Florence when she was 19 then started dating after.

      • Humbugged says:

        As somebody up thread said she was 21/22 .It was shot in 2018/19 and she is now 25

        Help me god but i can add up .So when the film came out she 23

        Why not go the whole hog and say she was 14 as this when they met stuff is stupid

        Try to change the age of consent to 30 if that your gig better

    • It’sJustBlanche says:

      At 25 you shouldn’t have to date a man who’s looking down the barrel of erectile dysfunction and old man morning breath. You have your entire life for that.

  9. EmmErhm says:

    Here’s the thing….

    He wouldn’t be with Flo if she wasn’t as young as she is. He had a weird thing with Joey King. I want to believe their relationship will last, but let’s see if they’re still together once she’s not in her 20s. Braff likes them younger, like under 25 younger, in your 20s mandatory 😂 I think Flo thinks she’s different & he wants her regardless of her youth.

    Also it creeps me out how much Zach looks like her dad…..

  10. TheOriginalMia says:

    For the love of all that’s holy, STFU, Florence. Truly, I had forgotten she was with him. If he’s the one for her, then say it with your chest and F the haters. But she can’t do that because it’s super important to her, people she’ll never meet approve of him.

    • Nic919 says:

      It clearly bothers her if she’s still talking about it. And it really makes it seem like on some subconscious level she knows it’s a bit off and she has to get mad at people to make herself feel better about it.

  11. Cava24 says:

    I understand why she would think it was offensive to suggest she doesn’t know her own mind and doesn’t know the relationship she lives in every day but it is odd that she discusses it at length, she could just say “You know what? We are really happy” and be … boring and maybe there would be less interest.

  12. Jules says:

    I haven’t seen her in anything so this is the only thing I know about her….. because she keeps talking about it!

  13. Amelie says:

    Well it is a bad look for Zach to be dating someone who was barely born when he graduated college (dunno if he did but most students graduate at 21 or 22 and they have a 21year age difference). How old was she when they started dating? I don’t get why women in their early 20s think they are special when older men date them and get surprised when they are tossed aside when they get closer to 30. They don’t have a lot of life experience and nothing to compare it to so they are more easily managed. Good for sex and some companionship but nothing deeper than that. Once they get older, they tend to find agency, question things, and to speak up and that’s when they get kicked to the curb and traded in for a more pliable, fresh, and younger 20 something (looking at you Leonardo Di Caprio). Some of these relationships do last but they aren’t the norm. And Florence doesn’t sound mature when she says she is mature. That’s a sign she still doesn’t get it.

    • Darla says:

      So interesting. Honestly this happened to me. He didn’t dump me, but he made things very difficult and i left him for someone else. I was in my 20′s and head over heels for him, and we were together 8 years. But I started speaking up about things I couldn’t tolerate from him, and what I thought about the way he voted, and when I would point out some things he said were racist. That flipped him out. So he got worse, and then I met someone and I left him, and it broke my heart at the time. I think he would have eventually dumped me for someone younger and more pliable, I suspected at the time he was looking. He was not a man who liked to be alone and he was very good looking and had money, so age wasn’t much of a roadblock for him. If any. At the time I wasn’t strong enough to leave him without what we now call a “jump off” and I would be shredded here. LOL. But I did the best I could at the time.

    • KNy says:

      “I don’t get why women in their early 20s think they are special when older men date them”

      I think because they are in their early 20s and have early 20s brain. I had that brain once upon a time. It’s the brain where you take a class in college and think you’re the FIRST person who realizes xyz or you listen to, like, The Beatles and feel like you are the FIRST person to “get” them and wonder why your friends only listen to silly popular music. It’s when you’re purposely moody and then when people genuinely ask what’s wrong you scoff at them. It’s when you see a guy in their 30s or 40s and think he is so much better than the guys you know in their 20s because he’s older, and it makes total sense he’s creeping on you when you’re only 22 because you know he sees something special in you.

      She’s super young and she thinks she knows everything. I was her. I get it. I think a lot of young women go through a John Mayer phase. Fingers crossed she will grow out of it.

      • Susan says:

        Agreed. I also think if you take a long hard look at a lot of guys her age, they are not…mature. NOT Ready for adulthood. Is it society, is it gender, is it parenting? Who knows. What I do know is I have several female colleagues of that age and their male counterparts are….not as mature. A little lost. And those that aren’t lost are definitely not looking for a one-on-one relationship. My husband and I met in our mid 30s and we laugh about how in NO WAY would we have EVER worked out when we were both in our 20s. He was an immature d-bag and I was looking for love in all the wrong places.

      • observer says:

        oh boy i remember being this person too….the phrase “youth is wasted on the young” has never been more true

  14. Angela says:

    I side eye age gaps that large. Those years in between them count. You can’t get back your 20′s.

  15. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    The only crime here is that pair of pink monstrosities on her feet. What on earth is going on with shoes lately? These look like my grandmother’s quilted polyester robe in Pepto Bismol pink…when I was a little girl. Many many many decades ago. That must be it. She’s an old soul. 🙄

  16. Lowrider says:

    I like Florence. I like her name, her acting ability and that she’s not a waif.

    • lucy2 says:

      I like her too, I thought she’s been great in the various projects I’ve seen her in, and she seems nice and fun.

  17. Veronika says:

    Oh weird….I just realized that their 21 year age gap is exactly the same as my age gap with my dad (he’s always told me he was way too young to be a dad & although I was unplanned my parents made it all work out fine)

  18. Case says:

    It would be better for her image if she dated whoever she wanted but STOPPED COMMENTING ON IT. The more she talks about this, the less mature she appears. It’s really not becoming.

  19. Mcmmom says:

    I found out that one of my ex’s second wife is 20 year his junior and appears to have met him when she worked for him. She does seem to be lovely, but I can’t help but side eyeing him for being “that guy.” He was just an ex boyfriend – I can only imagine what his first wife thinks.

  20. rawiya says:

    Of course, Flo. No one expected you to date someone who looks like your father.

  21. Lena says:

    I also think it’s rude as hell when people go on Instagram and call out the person about anything really (if you’re a hater just don’t follow them-easy) but that’s when you can turn off the comments. I think she was probably asked about ‘the controversy in this most recent article & maybe she really isn’t all that more mature than any other 25 year old and just HAD to vent. Try to say no comment on my personal relationships thank you Flo and we will understand.

  22. Haylie says:

    Zach Braff is a creep. One day, Florence will realize it. Today’s not that day.

  23. tealily says:

    Maybe this is a stretch, but Natalie Portman’s annoying woman-child character in Garden State always felt like a callback to her precocious young neighbor role in Beautiful Girls to me. Kind of “what if Marty grew up a little but still acted like a kid.” I tried to go back and watch that one a while back, but I couldn’t get past the grossness of that dynamic. Anyway, all of this is to say that I assume Zach is a fan, and it’s turned me off to him completely.

  24. candy says:

    Oh gawd, I can’t believe she actually gaslights herself by proclaiming her maturity. Unless you have a time machine, you are not older than your age.

  25. Red Weather Tiger says:

    They are both over 18, so I don’t care. Zach may be/have been a creep previously, and she has chosen to be with him anyway—she’s an adult. Her life.

    Zach does come off wonderfully in Ananda Kloots’ memoir, _Live Your Life_. Zach and her late husband Nick were close friends, and Zach gave Ananda, Nick, and their baby Elvis his guest house for as long as they wanted it in the fall of 2019. When Nick got sick with Covid in late March 2020, she mentions the help she got from Zach and Florence more than once as part of their Laurel Canyon community. So I have trouble seeing Zach as nothing but a pervy monster.

    • Humbugged says:

      amandakloots’s profile picture
      amandakloots
      Verified
      Awww ZB thank you for this beautiful message and for standing by our side through it all. Love you ❤️

  26. Dragonlady sakura says:

    Well, also being Zach’s age, I can say it is gross. I can also say it’s really none of my business or anybody else is either. They are both legal age. I will leave you with this. My nephew is the same age as her and I remember changing his diapers, so think about that . 😑

  27. TheRickestRick says:

    I keep forgetting about this entirely until she brings it up……hmmmmm
    I agree with the poster saying that she is trying to convince herself more than anyone else

  28. LP says:

    I mean I think if she was with an equally talented 46 year old we’d talk about it less too! She’s very good, and he’s…the guy who made *Garden State*. C’mon!

  29. KissMyA**23 says:

    I like her as an actress, don’t get me wrong. But why even mention the relationship at all in regards to people shaming her/Instagram comments. You’re only feeding the toxicity if you talk about it. Don’t even put any energy into it. Unless she loves the drama?

    Girl has a lot of growing up to do I guess.

  30. Ann says:

    My grandmother had shoes like that. She wore them with a powder blue chiffon housecoat.

    She’s an adult so it’s fine, I guess. Though if it were my daughter I would side-eye it and be on the lookout for all the issues that can arise with this kind of age difference and power dynamic.

    I don’t quite get the fuss over her. She’s good, but she’s not amazing. I appreciate that she’s not the typical Hollywood skinny, just thin and healthy but looks like a normal person.

    Best of luck to them. My cousin married someone almost twenty years older than her and they are still together with the three kids. He hasn’t traded her in for a younger model.

  31. Thirtynine says:

    I really don’t like the cover pose. Or the shoes. She looks …. weak and helpless.

  32. Isabella says:

    I like acting her a lot, but hope she won’t turn into another Jennifer Lawrence. So over-exposed that I can’t watch her in a film without noticing all her little tics.

  33. Isabella says:

    The story should be about Florence, not her boyfriend. She created that dynamic by bringing him up. I didn’t know/care she was dating him.

    I like her acting, but hope she won’t turn into another Jennifer Lawrence. So over-exposed on TV and in magazines and in roles that don’t suit her that I can’t watch without noticing all her little tics.

  34. Humbugged says:

    He is all over the place in the UK with De Niro,TL Jones and Morgan Freeman with his porno moustache

    and he got a portrait of Florence done for Black Widow

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CRE-1OerA7V/

  35. Ladiabla says:

    I remember reading something about ZB and Mandy Moore’s breakup a long time ago. Apparently, it was a bad breakup, in the article some friend of Mandy’s described Zach Braff as the worst combination of narcissistic and insecure. Never forgot that. Florence will probably regret giving him so much of her time, but as someone said above, today’s not that day. It’s a shame whenever a young woman gives her time to some old ass predatory dude, especially when she’s at the height of her youth and beauty.

  36. tatannelise says:

    I thought Zach Braff was cute when I was 25 too. He had more going for him at the time (early 2000s).

  37. LillyfromLillooet says:

    For those of us who have followed Zach’s career long term, this feels like a confirming sleazy move. Natalie Portman, Shiri Appleby, and god knows who else had the hots for him. Zach was/is really really into the cinematic idea of himself as a family man exploring Jewish identity. I feel like he went the way of Josh Radnor, Rob Morrow, Topher Grace and whomever else established leading man cred through a TV series and then didn’t launch a huge career.

    It always stung that IRL Zach never landed the plane–Shiri gave him a serious look as a life mate, and I kind of have shook my head over the years as these shiksa-nanigans with younger and younger women continue. Mandy Moore, god bless, seems to have broken her sweet tooth for Zach’s ilk. Florence will be fine–he’ll waste her time for a few years and she’ll move on. I think the guy is one of those irritating AF dudes who say “I just don’t feel my age!” And take their perpetual arrested development as a serious sign of Vision, Higher Purpose etc.

  38. Eulalia says:

    It bugs people because she can do so much better. She’s young, talented, on the rise and he’s a washed up creep.

  39. Teebee says:

    Zach Braff does not behave like a man in his mid 40s. He is a man/child, and prefers women that seem to remind him of youth, probably his own as well.

    When I was in my mid 20s I briefly dated a man in his mid 40s. Very mature. Very sexy, but I barely kissed him and grew increasingly uncomfortable with our life experience difference. He was divorced with adolescent children, and discussed those issues with me… I could not relate. But for that brief time I felt very mature, but in the end knew it wasn’t my true self, yet.

    I don’t think Zach brings maturity to their relationship, even at half his age I bet she is still the more mature. And I think that would be exhausting. Flo- enjoy your youth, it is fleeting. You only get one time round. It’s too bad, that when you’re in it, it’s hard to see yourself objectively. I hope she realizes sooner rather than later there is more to life than working on a relationship, especially in your 20s.

  40. questions says:

    Do that many people really question it? Leonardo probably dates younger, and we’ve just accepted it as his reality.

    If she were dating Leonardo, I can’t actually see anybody raising much of an eyebrow (it’s a little older than what he usually goes for and he has status). So is there something specifically weird about Zach Braff that people find odd?

  41. LillyfromLillooet says:

    @questions

    A) Hi Zach!
    B) If FloPu had the temerity to date dime deep Leonardo, you can expect that not only would my eyebrows be raised, I would call a few of my friends over and then manually lift their eyebrows as well. They’d be like, “What are you doing?” and I’d say, “FloPu is dating DiCaprio and I only have the two eyebrows to raise!”
    C) Yes, there is something specifically weird about Zach Braff, as there is something specifically weird about everyone, only most of us aren’t high profile individuals and there are only so many hours a day and blogs on the planet.

  42. Chimney says:

    I don’t see what’s so shocking about this. It’s not like they’re married or anything. I know everyone wants to paint her as some kind of power dynamic victim but maybe she likes older men? She is capable of making her own decisions and is not a teen or a child. I mean Zach Braff is not hot but to each their own.

    I like Florence and I like her work. I imagine they’ll break up and she’ll have some kind of “I loved, I learned, now I’m powerful” experience like Cher did when she left Sonny Bono.