It’s fair to say that Florence Pugh has enjoyed a pretty incredible few years in terms of her professional life.
After making her movie debut in 2014, she achieved global acclaim five years later when three of her biggest films were released in quick succession.
Florence blew fans away with her performances in Fighting With My Family, Midsommar, and Little Women, which ultimately secured her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
And 2019 was also a great year for Florence’s personal life, with the actor going Instagram Official with her boyfriend, Zach Braff, in November.
It is unclear when the couple first started dating. Zach was initially spotted liking her social media posts in August 2018 before he directed her in his short movie In the Time It Takes to Get There, which was released in April 2019.
After dating for several months, Florence paid tribute to Zach in a sweet Instagram post on his 45th birthday in April 2020.
Sharing a photo of him snoozing on a sofa, then-24-year-old Florence wrote: “Today we shall smile wider than the clouds are grey. April 6th and we’re celebrating hard! Happy Birthday wishes, boogies and cheers for this special person. Raise those bubbles and jiggle!”
But the post ended up sparking fierce backlash, and Zach was viciously targeted for dating somebody who is 21 years younger than him.
In fact, the discourse was so unkind that Florence ended up reacting to it in a passionate video, where she said that “70% of the comments” the post had received were “hurling abuse, being horrid, and basically bullying someone.”
"I will not allow that behavior on my page. I'm 24 years old, I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love,” Florence went on. “And I would never in my life ever, ever tell someone who they can and cannot love.”
“It is not your place,” she added at the time. “And really it has nothing to do with you. The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you throw at me.”
And while Florence largely keeps her private life private, she also addressed the controversy that her relationship incited in an interview a year later.
Speaking to the Sunday Times in July 2021, she said of her love life: “I think it bugs people that it’s not who they expected. But it’s my life and I’m not doing anything to please people or to make it a better headline or story.”
Florence and Zach’s relationship has been incredibly low-key ever since, and the subsequent mystery around them means that they are often subjected to rumors on both ends of the scale — from secretly getting married to privately breaking up.
Most recently, the speculation has been firmly on a secret split, and Florence was romantically linked to her former Midsommar costar Will Poulter earlier this week.
The pair had been photographed laughing and joking together while on a beach holiday, and the pictures sent fans into meltdown as they shared their excitement at the potential new relationship.
“Actually screaming if Florence and Will are a thing they look so good together,” one person tweeted. Another echoed: “Ok but Florence Pugh and Will Poulter together is so slay.”
But Florence wasted no time in shutting down the rumors, posting a lengthy but lighthearted statement to her Instagram story where she insisted that Will is just one of her close friends.
She also pointed out that two other friends were with them at the beach, but they had been cleverly edited out of the photos.
“This is getting a little silly now. No, Will Poulter and I are not dating,” she began. “We went to the beach with our friends, who are always about half a meter away from us in every picture, but have been cleverly cut out/ framed out so that it looks otherwise. You can LITERALLY see my best friend in the corner of so many shots and Archie’s arms at the sides.”
“I understand that the nature of this job is that you sometimes get your privacy completely bulldozed by the paparazzi, but to fabricate this stuff actually does more damage than good,” Florence went on, before joking: “Thanks for saying we look sexy… Doesn’t mean we’re doing the sexy.”
In her subsequent posts, Florence circled her friends in the photos, and shared another picture with the caption: “This is my best mate Olive, who I actually DID snuggle with for hours on this bed. What’s hilarious is my nipple kept popping out and I am actually GOBSMACKED that they didn’t catch it.”
“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,’” she added, also posting a photo of Will and a male friend on a sunbed together “enjoying their private time. Soaking up the sun. Enjoying their no drama holiday.”
In addition to general commentary about Florence and Will making a cute couple, there were several tweets that shaded Zach and made jibes about his age.
“Florence Pugh going from this Zach Braff to Will Poulter is one of the greatest upgrades in history,” someone wrote. A second said: “I do in fact hope Florence Pugh dumps her old ass bf for Will Poulter i think that would nicely set the tone for the whole summer.”
“Hoping down to my spirit that the new Florence Pugh/Will Poulter photos mean that she has freed herself from the clutches of fossil man Zach Braff,” a third added.
And Florence addressed this in a more serious post, where she wrote: “On another note, a very important note. There’s no need to drag people through this. 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,” she went on. “Think about what you write. Think about who it affects.”
Will shared a screenshot of this post to his own social media page and added: “By my dear FRIEND @FlorencePugh. Thank you for calling out bullying when you see it.”
Despite confirming that she isn’t dating Will and seemingly jumping to Zach’s defense, Florence did not confirm whether she and Zach are still together amid growing speculation that they have amicably separated.
However, in March, Zach spoke highly about working with Florence in his new movie, A Good Person.
The former Scrubs star directed the actor in the dramedy, and told Collider: “Florence Pugh’s performance in the movie, I know I’m biased, but it’s the most miraculous thing you will ever see.”
“I know that anything Florence does is incredible. People say she’s maybe the best actress of her generation. I think she’s one of the best actresses working. This performance she gives is unbelievable,” he added.
The movie’s release date is yet to be confirmed, and it is just one of Florence’s projects this year, with her much-anticipated role alongside Harry Styles in Don’t Worry Darling set to hit screens in September.