Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s romance has dominated the tabloids since the first blurry images of them together at a Halloween party surfaced last year. Everything they do as #Shefani (one of the more frequently used portmanteaus for their coupling) gets a headline—from hand-holding, to mouth-on-mouth kissing, to afternoon car rides. For a casual follower of celebrity gossip, it often feels like too much. But for the internet’s biggest #Shefani stans, it isn’t nearly enough.
Though I’d never go as far as saying I find Shefani’s love disingenuous, I do think it’s always toeing a line between super boring and super irritating. Their trips to Oklahoma put me to sleep. Their filmed make-outs make me shiver. I understand celebrity couple obsession: I’m the type of person who ships Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor. Kim and Kanye. Jessica Chastain and that stoic Italian guy. But I was baffled by the Shefani fans, and what could possibly make them tick.
What I discovered—and what should have been obvious—is that theirs is a fandom free from cynicism, a rose-tinted version of the already rosy image Gwen and Blake project to their adoring, Voice-watching public. When I asked some of Twitter’s most active Shefani stans why they loved them, I received answers like, “My favorite thing about them is that they’re so different yet so similar in so many ways” and “What is there not to love about them?” Like most true loves, the love of Shefani is irrational, all-encompassing, and wonderful.
Two Shefani stans were kind enough to chat with me over DM. Below are edited versions of our conversations.
What about Shefani do you love the most?
Oh that’s a hard question! Well I’ve been a Gwen fan since I was 9 and I always knew Blake from The Voice. I can’t say I was a “fan” of Blake before Shefani, but I have recently become a fan! Hmm. I think the thing I love most about Shefani is that I can just see how genuinely happy Gwen is. I’ve been a fan for many years and she just seems so so so happy, it makes me super happy that the person who means the most to me a actually happy and is smiling like this again. I also love how happy Blake is looking. It’s awesome! They both seem to be very into each other and like they found their true love, they are so cute and adorable and i can’t get enough. I could go into how much Gwen has saved my life in many ways but I would be here for hours.
Also how it all came to be is a favorite thing to them being great friends then bonding over how similar their pasts were and they fell in love. It’s kinda like a fairytale. It’s all just too perfect.
What other celebrity couples do you ship?
Um I don’t really ship any other celeb couples at the moment!
Do you believe the rumors about them getting married or moving in together, or do you not really focus on the gossip?
I don’t really focus on the gossip, I know that when Gwen is ready to tell us she will tell us. Obviously if anything like that has happened they aren’t ready to say anything. But I don’t really believe it no but who knows these days!
After that conversation ended, I kept revisiting one part in particular:
“I think the thing I love most about Shefani is that I can just see how genuinely happy Gwen is. I’ve been a fan for many years and she just seems so so so happy, it makes me super happy that the person who means the most to me a actually happy and is smiling like this again.”
I can’t remember the last time Gwen Stefani was this happy in tabloids either! She has truly projected nothing but happiness! And when Gwen looks happy, her fans are happy. I guess that’s it. That’s the appeal.
What do you love most about Shefani?
I love the fact they’re so different from each other but at the same time so perfect. I think Gwen really needed a guy like Blake in her life. Talking about her past relationships, she’s never been with a man like Blake, so funny and country, and I don’t know, so perfect for her. I love the fact they’re also really honest with each other and they’re not rushing anything, just living the moment. They compliment each other in the most perfect, pure and honest way.
I’ve been a fan of Gwen since ever. I sang her songs when I was little I have always admired her just by the rad/cool/lovely woman she is. She’s also been this BIG fashion icon for me since ever, on makeup, on clothes. I’m just a big fan of her. And Blake well I was not a fan of him, I’ve never listened to country before. I’ve watched The Voice since season 1 and for me he’s always the funniest guy. He’s one of the reasons the show is what it is now. He gives it the sparkle it must have.
I love him. And now that he’s dating Gwen is even more excited cause two wonderful people got together, I just feel so happy for them. Of course after he started dating Gwen I searched more about him, I’ve been listening to his songs these past months and I’m literally in love with country now. It’s crazy tho but I really love that guy.
Wow, so Shefani made you a country fan?
YES!!! I mean I know it kinda crazy to hear that but I swear to God I’ve never listened to country in my life, I’ve never even had interest for that kind of music. But yes after they started dating, I was already a big fan of Gwen so I wanted to become also a fan of Blake (talking about music) and I started to listened to his songs, I downloaded most of them to my phone and I’m listening to it all days cause it’s just amazing. I have like 2 Luke Bryan’s songs also tho. I’m just loving country now :)
Do you get most of your Shefani news just from them, or do you follow celebrity gossip? (Like the stuff that says they’re moving in together or getting married.)
I follow many gossip pages, but of course I don’t believe most of them. Most of them are just bullshit. They’re not moving together yet, nor getting married an Gwen’s definitely not pregnant. It’s just funny and crazy all the stuff these pages can make, and people actually believe most of them! I believe anything that comes from them, if they say it it’s true. If not, it’s just bullshit.
I still don’t get Shefani, but they are making their fans happy, and for that reason (only), I am glad Shefani exists. Spending a few moments listening to their stans was a sort of a mindfulness exercise—the kind where you look at a confusing piece of the cultural landscape, take a deep breath, and say, “Whatever.”
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images via screengrab.