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On Tuesday 24 May, the Don’t Worry Darling actress shut down the dating rumours in a statement posted to her Instagram story.
“Ooookay. Man. This is getting a little silly now,” she began the typed statement. “No, Will Poulter and I are not dating. We went to the beach with our friends, who are always about half a metre away from us in every picture, but have been cleverly cut out/framed out so that it looks otherwise.”
“I understand that the nature of this job is that you sometimes get your privacy completely bulldozed by paparazzi, but to fabricate this stuff actually does more damage than good,” she added. “Thanks for saying we look sexy... doesn’t mean we’re doing the sexy.”
On Monday, fans of Pugh speculated that the British actor had split up with boyfriend Zach Braff after seeing photographs of her with Will Poulter on the beach in Ibiza. The duo, who have been friends since they met on the set of Midsommar in 2019, were spotted playing in the sea together and sipping cocktails while lounging around on the sand.
Others were quick to point out the age difference between Pugh, 26, and Braff, 47. Since the two began dating in 2019, much of their relationship has received negative attention for its 21-year age gap. In her Instagram story, Pugh addressed the “trolls” who poked fun at Braff after the Ibiza photos surfaced.
“There’s no need to drag people through this,” she continued in a separate post. “Regardless of your opinion on who I should or shouldn’t be with, at the end of the day if you’re complimenting someone by trolling another person... you’re just bullying. There’s literally no need to be horrible online – no need.”
Pugh went on to add: “Think about what you write. Think about who it affects.”
She concluded: “Anyhoo.. Onto more wonderful pictures of lovely people being gorgeous and tanned and fabulous!”
The actress carried on by sharing additional photos from her trip, including one with best friend Olive who Pugh said she “actually DID snuggle with for hours on this bed”.
“Probably can see the pap in the distance..hiding behind some poor family, waiting for the optimum time of ‘let’s make a fake relationship’ happen. Grosssssss,” Pugh captioned the oceanfront photo of her best friend.
In an interview with The Sunday Times last year, Pugh addressed criticism surrounding the 21-year age gap between herself and Braff, and opened up about the backlash she received from sharing an Instagram photo of them together in 2021.
florence pugh and will poulter in ibiza pic.twitter.com/fSd8wybFg5
— Florence Pugh Daily (@bestofpugh) May 23, 2022
“It’s so weird to me to go on to someone’s page and s**t on it,” Pugh said. “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 okay 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,” she added. “I don’t mind you not liking me, that’s absolutely fine. In which case, don’t follow me.”
Speaking about the negative reaction her relationship has received from some fans, Pugh replied: “I think it bugs people that it’s not who they expected.”