Remember Tuesday? I sure don’t! Apparently every gossip magazine and yours truly fell for an unsubstantiated rumor that Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart, Jughead and Betty Cooper on the hit teen noir Riverdale, respectively, broke up after two years together. Now that it’s Thursday, there’s no confirmation as to whether or not they’re still a thing, but it’s looking like they might still be a thing. They just don’t want the public to know... anything?
Both actors posted the same Instagram photo on their official accounts—an image of the pair on the cover of W Magazine—with some opaque tongue-in-cheek captions. Sprouse wrote, “UNPRECEDENTED: Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart consume the flesh of ‘reliable sources’ to fuel their bacchanalian sex cult,” which reminds me of a joke a guy in my college poetry class made once, before he ate his poems in front of the workshop as part of a performance art project.
Reinhart’s comment was slightly less excruciating: “BREAKING: A reliable source has confirmed that none of you know shit.”
Seems to me like they’re still together. Except, of course, that when the W Magazine cover story hit the internet, journalist David Amsden wrote, “they did not want to be interviewed together as, well, an actual couple. If this seems a bit calculated, that’s because it was. But to what end?”
“I’m so glad we’re making your job more difficult,” Sprouse said, laughing, when I broached the subject. Two months later the two would part ways romantically, lending credence to my suspicions that the separate interviews might have been connected to the two of them being uncertain about their future together. But when we met, Sprouse, an affable 27-year-old who carries himself with a kind of beatnik swagger, he explained the choice with the same nonchalant diplomacy that Reinhart had exhibited when I had met her a few days earlier at a nearby coffee shop. “We’re not fighting with the idea that people group us together, but we are paired up a lot,” she had told me, meaning both as the celebrity couple that had spawned an awkward hashtag (#sprousehart) and as Riverdale’s Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones, or “Bughead,” in fan parlance, an avenging duo that has become the dominant romance on a show with no shortage of dewy entanglements. “We’re acknowledging that we’re in a relationship, but it’s a small part of who we are as people. We want our own separate identities.” On the roof, Sprouse offered up a similarly polished nugget of discretion. “Lili is an incredibly talented individual who speaks for herself and deserves her own voice box in every single way,” he said. “That alone is justification enough for me to do it like this. I don’t think we’re weaving two different narratives here.”
The timeline is needlessly muddled here, but it sounds like they were dating, and then they were no longer dating. But maybe they are still dating, and never broke up, and they enjoy confusing the public. Later in the article Reinhart says she’s “X amount of years” into her relationship, which means mostly nothing to me because I’m over it:
“Though Reinhart is the less sociable of the two, she said it was Sprouse who pushed for harder boundaries between their public and private lives early on. “At first, I didn’t want things private,” Reinhart said, referring to their relationship. “Now that I’m X amount of years in, I do appreciate the privacy we have, that he’s encouraged me to take. No one knows how long we’ve been together, and no one will until we’re ready to say it. No one knows how we fell in love, except for our close friends and us. It’s really special.” She alluded, briefly, to the potential logistical dilemma of them parting ways, though in the context of their fictional romance. “If and when we break up on the show, I don’t know,” she said, trailing off. “It’s weird being with an actor. You deal with shit no one has to deal with.”
Read the full cover story for yourself here. And then tell me what to think, so I can drop this once and for all.*
*I think they’re dating.