Harry Styles: It ‘doesn’t make me feel good’ when fans hate on Olivia Wilde

Note: this profile came out before the Venice drama at the Don’t Worry Darling premiere.

Whenever I finish reading a profile of or interview with Harry Styles, I feel like he really is a genuinely nice guy. Is that wrong? Is he secretly a douche? I don’t think he would be able to hide it this well, honestly. Harry covers Rolling Stone UK to promote Harry’s House (a victory lap) plus his two movies coming out this fall, Don’t Worry Darling and My Policeman. Harry allowed RS to follow him around on tour, where he scandalously… showers after every concert, avoids coffee and alcohol and tries to get ten hours of sleep every night. He talks to RS about sexuality, abortion, race and a lot more. Some highlights:

He goes to therapy: “I committed to doing it once a week. I felt like I exercise every day and take care of my body, so why wouldn’t I do that with my mind? So many of your emotions are so foreign before you start analysing them properly. I like to really lean into [an emotion] and look at it in the face. Not like, ‘I don’t want to feel like this,’ but more like, ‘What is it that makes me feel this way?’”

Who he is privately: “When I’m working, I work really hard, and I think I’m really professional. Then when I’m not, I’m not. I’d like to think I’m open, and probably quite stubborn, too, and willing to be vulnerable. I can be selfish sometimes, but I’d like to think that I’m a caring person.”

His sexuality: “Sometimes people say, ‘You’ve only publicly been with women,’ and I don’t think I’ve publicly been with anyone. If someone takes a picture of you with someone, it doesn’t mean you’re choosing to have a public relationship or something.”

How some of his fans hate Olivia Wilde: “That obviously doesn’t make me feel good,” he says, carefully. It’s a tightrope he’s treading in discussing this. He wants to — and does! — see the good in his fans, but there’s no denying that like every large online community, this one has a faction that runs on hate and anonymity. Even with the boundaries he’s set between his public and private lives, sometimes “other people blur the lines for you”, he says. There’s a conversation he has to have early in a relationship, no matter how weird or premature it may feel. “Can you imagine going on a second date with someone and being like, ‘OK, there’s this corner of the thing, and they’re going to say this, and it’s going to be really crazy, and they’re going to be really mean, and it’s not real…. But anyway, what do you want to eat?’”

Olivia Wilde on how some of his fans hate her: “What I don’t understand about the cruelty you’re referencing is that that kind of toxic negativity is the antithesis of Harry, and everything he puts out there. I don’t personally believe the hateful energy defines his fan base at all. The majority of them are true champions of kindness.”

On ‘My Policeman’ & playing a closeted gay man: “It’s obviously pretty unfathomable now to think, ‘Oh, you couldn’t be gay. That was illegal.’ I think everyone, including myself, has your own journey with figuring out sexuality and getting more comfortable with it.” To him, My Policeman is a very human story. “It’s not like, ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”

He loves walking around cities & chatting with regular people: “If you make your life about the fact that you can’t go anywhere and everything has to be a big deal, then that’s what your life becomes. Now, in London, I walk everywhere. It’s hard to stumble across things and restaurants and places and stuff if you’re just driving everywhere, and it’s just not that fun.”

Maybe having children one day: “Well, if I have kids at some point, I will encourage them to be themselves and be vulnerable and share.”

On racial justice: “I took a massive look at myself, and was like, ‘Oh, I don’t do enough… or anything.” When conversations around anti-Blackness and inaction reached a fever pitch in 2020, Styles marched in the streets and read books like How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi, and The Will to Change, by bell hooks. He started thinking about racial and gender equity, especially as someone who employs many people on the road. “Pretending as a white person you don’t get a head start just isn’t true,” he says.

On the overturned Roe v. Wade: “I can’t begin to imagine how terrifying it is to be a woman in America at the moment.”

[From Rolling Stone UK]

Wilde is quoted about his fans, and she’s quoted about Don’t’ Worry Darling, just telling some stories about how great his performance is and how he got into his character. We’ll see! I think his approach to his fans – or some of his fanbase – is pretty healthy? He and Olivia could sit there and wallow in “I can’t believe these hateful people are saying all of these things,” but neither of them do. I’ve seen those tweets too, and some of them are incredibly disturbing. Wilde is right – Harry’s energy is all about acceptance, love, taking care of one another. Why would his fans go to “let’s hate on the woman he loves”? Everything else – the therapy, the work he’s being doing on himself, his breezy “let’s go exploring” attitude… he’s a good guy. Maybe. Who knows.

Covers courtesy of Rolling Stone UK.

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65 Responses to “Harry Styles: It ‘doesn’t make me feel good’ when fans hate on Olivia Wilde”

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  1. Emmi says:

    It reminds me of the Robert Pattinson/Twigs situation. The fans were horrendous on another level. I don’t know the exact things Harry’s fans are saying but I can imagine. Fandoms are insane sometimes. I don’t know that I would appreciate my boyfriends being this nice about it.

    • Maida says:

      It’s the internet-enabled, and therefore more widespread and potentially dangerous, version of something that’s been true of many fandoms over the decades.

      An early instance was the hatred many Beatles fans directed against Yoko Ono when John Lennon began a relationship with her. (And since Ono is of Japanese heritage, the hatred in her case was heavily racist).

      It’s scary where some fandoms are now.

  2. girl_ninja says:

    So many fans of these male stars are purposely and viciously cruel to the romantic partners of these guys. See Tom Hiddleston, Rob Pattinson etc. it’s gross and horrible.

    • Vs says:

      Those fans are usually women and I wonder why? Would they be happy to receive the same amount of hate were they the one dating the guy ? I just don’t get jealousy that turns into hate!

      • Concern Fae says:

        There is a known phenomenon where people become more extreme to gain status and leadership within a group. So somebody says “I don’t like her” and it escalates to death threats. In the earlier days of the internet, a lot of work went into moderating message boards and comment sections. Social media makes an enormous amount of money by not hiring people to do that work. Intensity means more engagement, so they let things run wild.

  3. Woke says:

    I don’t know his whole attitude towards Olivia during the festival made me side eye him and think he’s secretly a douche or at the very least too obsessed with his public image. Also his whole queer baiting shtick lol I’m not a fan. Timothee chalamet manage to be quirky and fun with his style without it.

    • ML says:

      On the queer baiting: I do know people who aren’t out, so I cannot judge him on that.
      I agree with you @Woke on his festival behavior. I’m really side-eyeing that, too.

      • Woke says:

        I don’t even fault him if he’s inthe closet and don’t want to come out but he continue to feed into it by responding to these questions and offering commentaries on queer culture it just read disingenuous. I’m sure his publicist can get these publications to stop asking these questions.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      There has been issues with his and the rest of 1D’s behaviour from the beginning – his just to covered less by the press while others in the group were hung out to dry.

      If his fans behaviour to Olivia really bothers him then he should speak out and tell them to cut it out – if he called them out on it then maybe they wouldn’t do it so much. I remember the crap from the 1D fanbase Caroline Flack got when they dated and he said nothing then about it.

      • Kebbie says:

        The other Harry did that exactly, but aimed it at the press. I think this Harry is too worried about being likable to put it all on the line for Olivia.

        That being said, I doubt it would help. Those kinds of people are deranged and sometimes they low-key hate the person they’re obsessed with. Giving them any attention just fires up the crazy even more.

    • Lea says:

      I complete agree, he seems hyper-conscious of his image and putting it above anything else, even refusing to publicly support his girlfriend.

      And I can’t help rolling my eyes at his answer about queerbaiting, he doesn’t have to “declare ” his sexuality but pretending he hasn’t dated only women is disingenuous, because he hasn’t really tried to have a lowkey dating life either.

      • Jennifer says:

        He hasn’t been “publicly with” anyone? Huh? People can deduce these things after awhile.

        And yeah, he clearly gives off bi signals all over the place, even if he wants to kinda hedge about the whole thing. Whatever, dude, I don’t really care, you do you–but I think we all kinda knew who your girlfriend was here, for awhile.

    • WiththeAmerican says:

      Yeah, I get don’t want to mess with his fans by supporting his girlfriend vibes, and all this hate OW is getting between his fans and her ex, it’s a lot. I think if anything she’s going to look back on this period of her life and wonder why she was taking all of this crap just to be with some dude.

    • VoominVava says:

      I agree, I don’t think he’s necessarily a bad guy, but his fashion and the things he says seem more performative than genuine.

  4. ML says:

    I like the HS in the Rolling Stones article. Yesterday, however, we got to see HS in Venice… look people are a mix of good and bad parts, right? HS publicly ignoring/ avoiding OW as thoroughly as he did in Venice kind of gives oxygen to his OW-despising fans and negates what he’s saying here.

    • Kebbie says:

      If they’re not broken up, all he did was feed the fire with that. She tried multiple times to make eye contact with him and he just refused. Your peripheral picks up when someone is looking at you, especially when it’s your partner. It took more effort to ignore her than it would have to briefly look at her.

      The only explanation would be if she said “let’s not interact out there” and he took it to an extreme. Otherwise, he’s a complete d***.

  5. Colby says:

    If they broke up, it was very recently. Is someone a douche for avoiding a very recent ex at an event they’re contractually obligated to attend? I don’t think so.

    He also may be feeling resentful that her actions are overshadowing the movie that was supposed to be a big career move for him. Frankly I’m sure the whole cast feels that way at least a little bit.

    He showed up, didn’t make a scene, did his job. That’s all you can ask of someone in that situation IMO.

    • tolly says:

      Wilde put everyone in an awkward position by mismanaging her mess. An apology before the premiere would have cut down the suspense and put the onus on Pugh to “make nice” for the cameras. Instead, everyone had to figure out how to behave around a director who refused to take responsibility for insulting the leading lady behind her back.

      • Kebbie says:

        This is a lot of assuming on my part, but she seems like the type of person to not take responsibility or accept any blame. I wouldn’t be surprised if she feels like she did nothing wrong because she was just trying to appease her lead actor (while overlooking what she did to Florence and that she lied about it in the press afterwards.)

        It’s completely speculative on my part, but it didn’t seem like Olivia had been humbled by it at all.

  6. shanaynay says:

    I don’t like HS. There is just something about him that rubs me the wrong way, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

    • Duchess of Hazard says:

      @shanaynay – agreed. He comes across as so contrived. From his 70s wardrobe to everything, really.

      • Keekey says:

        Someone did a Twitter thread where they documented Harry copykeening the styles of Brandon Flowers about 16+ times and now I can’t see it.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        I cannot unsee the Brandon Flowers cosplay – right down to the hair.

      • Kebbie says:

        Brandon feels so much more natural in those clothes. Like you can tell he genuinely loves having feathers on his shoulders lol

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Yeah – he annoys me, esp since going solo. I think a lot of it is to do with the contrived image he’s created for himself – it feels more like a branding exercise than a true reflecting of himself.

    • Michael says:

      I was going to say this as well but I think I will hide behind your comment. I think Harry Styles gets a lot of “Pretty Boy Privilege” and people interpret what he does in positive terms because of that and because of his Mick Jagger/David Bowie Cosplay. Personally, I am not really a fan. His music is ok and I do not think he is evil but something about him feels very contrived

      • Jenn says:

        Ah, yes, the “halo effect”! I do agree, insofar as he seems to really understand that a salient aspect of old-school fame is remaining enough of a “blank slate” that fans can kind of project their ideas and fantasies, and even values, onto you. Ryan Gosling has that quality (and I think so does Florence Pugh, incidentally). It’s not a bad thing per se, but it makes me personally uncomfortable when I can’t get an accurate read on someone. That’s a “me” thing, though, and not really a Harry Styles thing. Anyway, I agree.

    • Tulipworthy says:

      He reminds me of Justin Timberlake.

  7. Amy Bee says:

    He just seems very performative to me.

  8. Pilar says:

    I don’t know, I sideeye him for not having the guts to speak out against his fans when they attack his gf same as I side eyed Pattison for not speaking out against the racist vitriol twigs had to endure.
    That’s were Prince Harry showed himself to have some balls.
    Styles brand is very curated, he’s got some of the biggest movers and shakers in the business invested in him being a big star. Which is why you have all this bizarre hyperbole around him, when he debuted as a solo artist he was the new Bowie, and now he’s such a good actor he should quit music according to the studio…
    It’s hard to know who he really is because everything seems so curated and marketed but if the press conference in Venice is anything to go by he just isn’t very bright and seems to have need to be centre of attention all the time.

  9. SAS says:

    It’s all so passive. I cannot respect anyone who doesn’t stand up for their partner in the face of persistent harassment (à la The Better Harry).

    I think Olivia has been an absolute dick in a million ways but she has publicly backed him a number of times to absolute crickets in return. In my eyes, it makes him come across as immature and self-involved.

    • C says:

      Yep. I get if you don’t want to alienate your fan base but then if that’s the case and that’s what’s keeping you from speaking up, maybe rethink the relationship. It doesn’t even have to be inflammatory, just “she’s my partner and that’s that.” But this was very wishy-washy like the rest of his public actions toward her.

  10. Yup, Me says:

    “It’s not like, ‘This is a gay story about these guys being gay.’ It’s about love and about wasted time to me.”

    I’m curious how this will land for folks in the LGBTQ+ community. When you have to hide or suppress a huge aspect of yourself because it’s considered unacceptable to society, then your story is necessarily about “guys being gay.” It’s the central feature. Freedom (and representation often gained by activism) is what allows the stories of targeted and oppressed communities to be seen as wider stories of the human experience.

  11. Nievie says:

    He’s not a douche, I think he’s just got a mess of different things around him, not necessarily representative of him or his personality. Without his script writers , producers and stylists he’d just be another dude. Compare him to Chris Pine and Chris would be interesting to chat to regardless of if he was a movie star etc

  12. Lilpeppa40 says:

    I don’t know him, and haven’t heard anything nasty about him so I don’t have a problem with him but I feel as if ppl are trying to force him on us in a way? They’re declaring him in this cover the most wanted man and some time ago the new king of pop and it just makes me roll my eyes so hard because he’s talented I don’t doubt, but he’s not all that, which is fine, he doesn’t have to be, but stop shouting at me that he is.

  13. Harper says:

    Harry came from a very humble life situation and broke out in a big way when he was only 16 or 17 when One Direction blew up. The members of One Direction have said they left home one day for their X Factor auditions not knowing they wouldn’t be back for a year. Many, many young singers have imploded in that kind of life changing A Star is Born situation.

    IMO, Harry has always been the one out of the group who was the most conscious and most vocal about how lucky they were and behind the scenes urging the other band members to keep it together and not ruin a good thing. His niceness and his professionalism are his brand and he is also really sweet and charming. That’s not to say that he’s a robot or a Stepford Celebrity or never puts a foot wrong. But it does mean he’s earned the benefit of the doubt in my book. If he did spit at Chris Pine (and after a Zapruder I still think he did) then it’s really out of character for him and it’s disappointing he hasn’t cleared it up yet.

    • Cloe says:

      Unless you are incredibly wealthy his background would not be described as humble. Niall, zayn and Liam are all from proper working class backgrounds. Harry’s background is middle class and actually on the wealthy end of the middle classes. His stepfather literally had a house with a swimming pool that the guys lived in.
      I think its honestly very fitting that he became the biggest success. He had the resources ( his stepfather was an early advisor on how to invest his money and navigate the music industry ) whereas some of the other boys literally became their families breadwinners as teenagers. So he’s always had a certain privilege. And sadly it’s a lot easier for privileged people to navigate the industry successfully.

  14. Jillstjohn says:

    His image is so cultivated and a total appropriation of LGBTQ culture. I don’t like the hypocrisy of the titillation that he might be gay, possibly, but the reality is something different. That’s just using people and your fans. For sure, there must be soo much money invested in this guy to make him a megastar – the music is okay but let’s face it – this is no rock giant and the fame does not justify the musical efforts – and still, he is playing Slane Castle in Ireland next year – a place that really is for giants.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      I think Styles is failing victim to that age old problem of believing your own hype – I agree his talent in either music or acting does not equate to the level of fame and opportunities he gets. This is where his image and branding has come in and is doing all the work – his name will put bums on seats, its that simple really.

    • LIONE says:

      Yes to this!!

      Freddie Mercury and Prince did the same thing and it seems to me like Harry Styles is trying to create that same mystery that surrounded them for a while.
      Same goes for the band Måneskin. The front figure is constantly queer baiting, but is in a long term relationship with a woman and has been vocal earlier about being straight. However, he is still doing this thing where he queer baits in different ways.

      This sort of thing was cool for that era. Now in 2022 it’s just not. It seems like a gimmick and very insincere.

      For someone who is all about being authenticity, Harry Styles sure is serving us a very well crafted image. It’s boring and bland.

  15. TIFFANY says:

    Curating and image is all he knows in his career. Hopefully one day he will be more comfortable in exploring different things. He states he is in therapy, so that could be a start.

    And everyone that has encountered him or worked with him says he is a professional and pleasant to be around. That part of him I believe.

  16. AngelaH says:

    I love Harry and have since 1D. I think he is genuinely a nice person. I saw a video yesterday where he was standing with Olivia and a couple other people chatting and then ran over to sign someone’s copy of his album, so behind the scenes, he was interacting with her. If you watch him on stage when he is performing, he is in control of the audience, he chats, he jokes, he’s relaxed. The Harry in Venice was so uncomfortable and uncertain. I think he was very much out of his element and I don’t think that’s something he’s comfortable or handles well.

    I don’t know what happens with him and Olivia behind closed doors, nor would I presume to. I do know that the night that Shia released the video of Olivia begging him to not quit, Harry was off during his MSG show. Nobody knows what Harry was told either, so there may be some stuff he’s working through as well. I think there were behind the scenes discussions about how the two of them should not interact in Venice and I also think Harry may be processing some big emotions over the way things have blown up in such a public way and possibly what he personally believed about the casting situation. But this is all speculation on my part.

  17. LooneyTunes says:

    King of Pop? 😳

  18. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’ve changed my opinion about him. There, I’m saying it. To myself. He’s a performative shmuck.

    His mission might be love and world peace, but his actions say different. It’s all I need.

  19. Blueish says:

    As someone who used to be more involved in fandom, I would provide this advice to Harry: you can’t have it both ways. He does things that pander to all sides of fandom, making everyone believe their corner of the fandom is right/true/correct, which I imagine is smart from a business perspective. However if something bothers you that much, make a stand, an unmistakeable statement where fans can’t say someone is putting words in his mouth or they didn’t hear him say that so the reporter interpreted it one way but he meant it another. Does he have to come out and/or declare his sexuality? No. But he can make definitive statements to silence corners of the fandom and. he. doesn’t. He plays coy so as to not alienate anyone. It’s either that the money is more important to him or that there is at least some truth in the “crazy” corner too.
    Anyway I’m glad I’ve distanced myself – I check in occasionally, roll my eyes, and shut the app, because his fandom as a whole is very unhealthy. Treat people with kindness may be his cute little marketing slogan but it’s not followed by fans or in some instances by him.

  20. Case says:

    After watching him at the Venice press conference the other day, I’m convinced he has no thoughts in that pretty head, just vibes.

  21. shanaynay says:

    Found this on a different site. Info on their relationship and/or supposed breakup


    • Dot says:

      That article claims “the two are notoriously private about their love life”, which is patently untrue. And “it’s no accident they both wore Gucci” to mean they’re still together?

      I have no real opinion on this other than it’s an amusing trainwreck, but that article is such a stretch that I’m worried it pulled a muscle.

  22. Nic919 says:

    I don’t see a huge difference between him and older boy bander who was successful solo and now thinks they are an actor: Justin timberlake. He’s got some decent songs, but let’s stop pretending these guys have any acting ability outside of what their PR people do with a cultivated image.

  23. Shai says:

    His fans can be extremely toxic and it’s obvious he’s not trying to alienate them by calling out their behavior. I’ve seen artists literally scold their fans for their toxicity, he’s not one to do that.

  24. Bobbie says:

    He’s a sex symbol to a lot of women. And .. really … who wants to hear a hot guy ramble on about his girlfriend? 🙂

  25. Trish says:

    I don’t like him. He comes off as very phony. He seems to want to be the most wokest, perfect ally and it sounds very scripted.
    And while I’m no fan of Olivia Wilde, if this was my boyfriend’s response to me getting ripped apart by his fans, I’d say adios.

  26. Baze says:

    The lack of interaction in Venice convinced me this was a PR relationship that was a huge mistake. The intentional distance was more distracting. I haven’t seen any pictures of them together except sullenly holding hands. The only time people hold hands is if they can’t get enough of each other, a therapist is forcing them, or it’s for a camera. Maybe I’m missing some where they look genuinely in love. If anyone knows of any, please let me see.

  27. Bread and Circuses says:

    I think Harry’s very sweet, has his heart in the right place, and…is maybe not a well-honed tool? Perhaps only because, instead of being a teenager in school, he was a pop star.

    I honestly think Olivia’s actions toward him have been predatory. She hired him into a job he desperately wanted, then seduced him, despite being both his boss and quite a bit older (not to mention already in a relationship with two small children involved…)

    I’m not saying Wilde doesn’t bring something to their relationship that Styles values — only that there was a big power imbalance there, and she was wrong to act on it.

    Harry, on the other hand, seems like a bit of a Himbo — a beautiful sweetheart who doesn’t necessarily understand what’s afoot.

    • Mimi says:

      Harry has dated an older married woman in the past, with no remorse. This ain’t his first time at the rodeo, so to speak, although Olivia was not married. If anyone was seduced, it was probably her— but Harry fans are not ready for that truth. He’s not some poor misguided lamb.

  28. Karisma says:

    I find him incredibly fake. And this interview was a good way for him to take a stand and defend Olivia who has been the victim of an insane amount of vitriol from his fanbase, but he couldn’t even do that, don’t want to upset his groupies I guess