Since 2015, Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson has been linked to a string of beautiful women.
His first high-profile relationship was with actor Carly Aquilino, and he then dated Larry David’s daughter, Cazzie David, for two years before she asked to go on a break.
Cazzie herself admitted that she quickly realized her mistake and wanted to reconcile with Pete, but it was too late — he’d already been snapped up by Ariana Grande.
Pete’s whirlwind romance with Ariana catapulted him into the mainstream. The two famously got engaged just weeks after going public with their relationship, and their five-month romance inspired songs across two hit albums from the singer.
But if Ariana put Pete’s name on the map, it was Kim’s seal of approval that established him as one of the most desirable male celebrities of our time — a position that some just can’t wrap their heads around.
While women have been swooning over Pete for years, there is a well-publicized disconnect when it comes to men understanding his appeal.
And for every social media post calling Pete the perfect man, there’s another genuinely demanding to know why.
In one viral TikTok, a man asked, “What is Pete Davidson’s secret?” as he reeled off his list of past girlfriends, adding in the caption: “Did he crack the da Vinci code?”
And women have admitted to men actually getting angry over their attraction to Pete. “I love these grown ass people sliding in my DMs SOOOOOOO ANGRY with my love for Pete Davidson, like, attacking me about it,” one person tweeted in December. Another wrote: “I love how angry men get about Pete Davidson.”
In fact, it’s arguable that no other celebrity has endured such a differing reaction from men and women, and one social media user theorized: “Any man who is confused why women find Pete Davidson attractive literally do not understand the difference between the female gaze and the male gaze.”
And this appears to be a common theme, with another tweet agreeing: “Men confused about the appeal of Pete Davidson don’t understand women at all.”
Another person claimed that Pete riles men up so much because he “disproves” their theory about what women want, and that his popularity ultimately suggests that personality is key.
“I think men hate Pete Davidson because he disproves all their shallow theories about what women want and validate that what we want is a decent human being who gets us and is funny,” they wrote in a now-viral tweet.
So what exactly is it about Pete that has captured the hearts of so many women? While somebody’s physical attractiveness is, of course, subjective, he has previously described himself as looking like a “crack baby” and quoted a troll who said he has “butthole eyes” during his standup.
It’s this level of self-deprecating comedy that has captured the hearts of his fans, with one writing: “People being surprised that Pete Davidson could get someone like Kim, Kate Beckinsale, Ariana or Kaia Gerber… as if comedians haven’t been able to pull beautiful women since the beginning of time. Women like funny men. Period.”
And Pete’s seamless ability to make fun of himself is even more of a turn-on, with the comic even managing to roast himself as he called Ariana out for discussing intimate details about their sex life.
During a 2018 Twitter Q&A ahead of her album’s release, a fan had asked Ariana how long the track titled “Pete Davidson” is. Ariana cheekily replied at the time: “Like 10 inches?….oh fuck….I mean….like a lil over a minute.”
She quickly deleted the message, but it had already been screengrabbed and immediately caused a stir online. Despite the comment ultimately being a compliment, Pete later admitted that he didn’t like the fact that she’d discussed his body as he tried to downplay his size.
“Everything is huge to her,” he joked before adding that it was actually a cruel ploy from Ariana, saying: “Why would she tell everyone that I have a huge penis? So that every girl who sees my dick for the rest of my life is disappointed.”
But his reputation ended up preceding him, and in a recent episode of The Kardashians, Kim admitted that it was Pete’s “BDE” — which stands for “big dick energy” — that first attracted her to him.
“I wasn’t even thinking, like, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna be in a relationship with him,’” she said in a confessional. “I was just thinking, ‘Heard about this BDE, need to get out there…’ I was just basically DTF [down to fuck].”
And while she didn’t give away too many details about their sex life, the 41-year-old star didn’t completely shy away from it as she told her sisters: “When I turned 40, everyone said it’s the best sex of your life. Grandma kept on telling me, '40 is the best sex.' And I was like OK, I’m ready. And so far…” she trailed off with a cheeky wink.
This narrative fits another popular reason behind Pete’s appeal, with one social media user pointing out: “Pete Davidson has dated Kate Beckinsale, Ariana Grande, Phoebe Denver and now Kim Kardashian. All his exes have praised his 🍆 and called him the ‘best human ever’. Still men are like, ‘how?? what do women want???’ be good in bed and be a good person. that’s literally it.”
But there’s so much more to Pete than his abilities in the bedroom, and Kim has also revealed that Pete warned her that in four months she’d be “obsessed” with him, before going on to praise how “thoughtful” and “genuine” he is.
In fact, Kim and Pete’s entire relationship is centered around the little things, which is a welcome change from the “extravagance” of Kim’s marriage to Kanye, who focused on grand gestures.
During last week’s show, Kim was blown away by Pete surprising her with a tub of her favorite frozen candy, Dibs, for her flight to the Dominican Republic. Previously, she recalled a sweet story where Pete put acne cream on her pimple while she slept after she forgot to do it herself before drifting off.
“Even little things that he’s gotten me that are just really thoughtful,” Kim says in the episode. “Pete is such a good, good person, I can’t even explain it. He just has the best heart and always thinks of the small things.”
And this marries up to what Pete said about himself as a boyfriend during a 2019 interview with Paper magazine. “My love language, when I’m in a relationship, is I treat the person I’m with like a princess,” he said at the time.
“I try and go as above and beyond as possible,” he said. “Because that’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re in a relationship with someone, you’re just supposed to make that person feel as special as possible.”
But Pete’s big heart isn’t just limited to romance, with his incredibly close relationship with his mom, Amy, also drawing people in.
Pete bought a $1.3 million house in Staten Island for his mother and turned the basement into an apartment so that he could live with her.
“I live with my mom, kinda, so I have, like, a basement that’s mine that’s like an apartment. I live underneath her,” Pete previously explained. “I’m getting like a little arcade set up down there trying to make it mine.”
Amy has also appeared on Saturday Night Live alongside her son, and their loving relationship has been a factor in the way women view him.
“I don’t understand why dating Pete Davidson has become a meme,” one fan tweeted. “He’s funny, successful, got his mama a house & lived in it with her for a bit, and clearly isn’t intimidated by beautiful, smart, powerful women. I’ve dated at *least* a dozen worse dudes.”
And this is a stance that Emily Ratajkowski also stands by, with the model quizzed on Pete’s appeal after she worked with him on a campaign. “Obviously women find him very attractive,” she said at the time. “Guys are like, ‘Wow, what’s that guy got.’ And I’m like, I mean, he seems super charming. He’s vulnerable. He’s lovely.”
Emily then added that Pete has a “good relationship with his mother. We love it, that’s hard to find.”
The vulnerability that Emily mentioned stems from the fact that Pete has endured more than his fair share of tragedy and illness over the years, which only made his bond with his mom stronger.
His firefighter father, Scott Davidson, tragically died in 9/11 when Pete was 7 years old, and he has been open about how that impacted his ability to form relationships.
In a 2018 interview, the star said that his dad’s death made it hard for him to trust people aside from his mom and sister, Casey. “My big thing is trust,” he said at the time. “One day [my father] was here, and the next day he was gone.”
Pete has also been candid in speaking out about his mental health struggles over the years, having been “in and out” of inpatient treatment facilities due to his depression since he was 9 years old.
When he started to have episodes of intense rage and bouts of severe depression in 2016, he sought help and was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder the following year.
In fact, the star — who also has Crohn’s disease — has won praise for helping to destigmatize mental illness, especially among young men who are statistically less likely to ask for help.
And Pete has repeatedly acknowledged how hard he has worked to educate himself on the best ways to live with his mental illness, and reinforced the importance of being self-aware and taking accountability. He famously stated in 2018: “Being mentally ill is not an excuse to act like a jackass.”
Although he struggles with his depression and BPD at times, his proactive approach to finding coping mechanisms that work for him does appear to have helped. In 2020, Pete said that he’s “always depressed, all the time,” but he now knows the steps that he has to take to “bring [himself] out of it.” He said: “I have to go outside and be in the sun for a little bit or go for a walk. It’s all just programming yourself to trick your brain.”
He also goes to therapy to help him cope, previously saying: “My therapists are really on the ball, and I’m really lucky to have them in my life. I recommend that everyone go to therapy.”
And in 2018, Pete deleted his social media accounts. He said that it helped to improve his mental health, writing at the time: “Everybody is different, and there are a lot of treatments for mental illnesses and I have done/am doing all of them. And I encourage those who struggle to seek help as well; it has changed my life for the better.”
In addition to various interviews, Pete has used his primetime slot on Saturday Night Live to speak about his personal experience with mental illness in a lighthearted and accessible way for viewers. “Pete Davidson talking about Borderline Personality Disorder on #SNL is an amazing step towards raising mental health awareness,” one person previously tweeted.
“Men, a big part of Pete Davidson’s appeal is that he goes to therapy,” another wrote. Someone else commented on TikTok: “He has his issues too but he actually acknowledges it and he finds ways to cope. He’s emotionally strong. He’s capable of loving people. Selfless.”
One social media user best summed up Pete’s appeal when they tweeted: “People going to all these lengths to explain the ‘mystery’ of why so many women are attracted to Pete Davidson is hilarious to me. Like, he’s hot, funny, and nice, what else is there to explain?”