Fake or Not?
“Promances” celebrity pairings that are less about true love and more about profile — are nothing new, watching Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston flaunt the relationship around the world is like watching a bad chick flick. On the surface, the pair make perfect sense: Swift, a successful pop star, Tom Hiddleston, a very British actor in a very successful franchises. Both tall. But the very public way in which they have played out their romance so far, mostly doing things when the paparazzi are present, has led everyone from their respective fanbases to Phillip Scofield to call fake on the whole display.
But celebrities end up in fake relationships (if it indeed is a fake relationship) all the time and for many reasons. Usually it’s just good old-fashioned, ambition. As proved by real couples as far back as Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbank and up to the current-day powercouples such as the Beckhams and obviously the Kardashian clan, two powerful people are better than one in terms of earning power and brand recognition.
On the other hand, relationships forged in a marketing boardroom can occasionally blossom into something more genuine. It seems likely that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, as the stars of one of the biggest teen movie franchises in the world, were encouraged toward continuing their onscreen romance off-screen to sell the idea of true, unending vampire love to the millions Twilight fans around the globe. Their relationship, never properly confirmed, but told through long lenses and red carpet appearances, may have begun as work, but years later appeared to be very real. By the time Stewart was caught cheating on Pattinson with the director of her movie The Huntsman.
Then there are bearding promances, where one or more celebrity in the pairing is concealing their sexuality in order to maintain credibility within the industry and to the public. Again, this practice has been used in the world of celebrity for years — constant co-stars Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, one of the Golden Age of Hollywood’s prominent power couples, never married and conducted same-sex affairs throughout the whole of their long-term relationship without the public knowing. Recently, with attitudes toward gay relationships becoming more accepting, this kind of PR arrangement is less frequent, with high-profile personalities who shy away from being publicly out preferring to live in private, while never explicitly lying about their sexual orientation.
The trend toward PR relationships seems to have tailed off in a social-media age, which relies more on transparency and honesty than deception and manipulation. Celebs are still spotted together, of course, more often than not because they have agents, publicists, managers, and record labels in common, but once the pics hit the press and the speculation begins, they can tweet a rebuttal that gives them two bites at the publicity apple: the “ARE THEY TOGETHER?” headline and the “FAMOUS PERSON DENIES RUMORS!” headline, which is often just as effective as faking a romance. When relationships are engineered, they are usually handled with such finesse that suspicion is never aroused.
Which is why Hiddleswift, wild-eyed and practically clawing at your skin for attention, seems particularly clumsy. If Hiddleston was making a bid at raising his profile in order to secure the role of James Bond, the entire caper has backfired spectacularly, with him being ruled out.
Whatever the truth, when operating at as high a level as Taylor, to some degree, every move you make is calculated PR to some extent. Her personal life has felt as stage-managed as her professional life as far back as her squad and the constant welcoming to the stage of her last world tour. Every public event she does, somebody if photographing her. In which case, good luck to all those in a promance.