Ever since their reported engagement earlier this fall, I’ve accepted the fact that I’ve eternally lost my shot with both Irish actor Paul Mescal and the silver-haired songstress of my dreams, Phoebe Bridgers. I dubbed them in my mind as both “mom and dad” and as living proof that shooting your shot on Twitter might just get you what you want. But now, with rumors swirling that the “Punisher” singer no longer has Mescal on her mind and is now dating comedian Bo Burnham, I’m left with no other choice than to restart my grieving process.
I’m known amongst my friend group to make mountains out of molehills, but fast-growing evidence suggests that we’ve got a bit of trekking to do. Between a suspicious concert attendance, a weird lunch, and a group chat that might be a cry for help, it’s hard not to see what has seemingly been hiding in plain sight this whole time. My head is spinning as denial and shock battle to override my brain, so allow me to impart what juicy gossip I have before I succumb to the worst of my seasonal depression.
Bridgers was reportedly among a star-studded crowd (including fellow Boy Genius member Lucy Dacus and Abbi Jacobson and her fiancé) at Monday night’s showing of KATE, starring comedian Kate Berlant. The one-woman show, which is playing out of the Connelly Theater in New York, is directed by no other than Burnham himself. According to a fellow Jezebel staff member who was in the audience, the play started about 45 minutes late due to technical difficulties but was eventually called off about 15 minutes in. Burnham got on stage to apologize for having to cancel the show and then “hopped off to go sit down next to [Bridgers].” He then proceeded to give her his undivided and doting attention. Hm.
While I’m not so puritan as to believe that sitting down next to someone and talking to them implies that you’re also secretly boning them, my colleague sensed that something was afoot. “It felt flirtatious,” they said of the encounter. “Like he was trying to impress her.” The sly move falls directly in line with other rumors that have been swirling about a potential romance between the two. A December 15 episode of the Deux U podcast ran through various sightings of the two “making out,” “canoodling,” and “cuddling” at different spots around Los Angeles, including The Magic Castle, a The 1975 concert, and a local bar. I can only speak for myself and my own pals, but making out, canoodling, and cuddling isn’t exactly the holy trinity of just-friendship.
If the rumors are true, this would mean two equally heartbreaking things: one, that Bridgers’ engagement with Mescal has indeed been called off, and two, Burnham’s decade-long relationship with director Lorene Scafaria—to whom he sweetly dedicated his comedy musical Bo Burnham: Inside—is also done-zo. Objectively, both of these conclusions are far worse than when my own parents split, and I’d formally like to collect my checks for being a three-time adult child of divorce.
While some hopefuls speculated that Bridgers and Mescal are in an open relationship, host Deux Moi immediately shut this hunch down with intel from a “very reliable source” who said: “Can confirm the engagement is off between Paul Mescal and Phoebe Bridgers. It’s not an open relationship in the slightest. Paul found out about Phoebe and Bo and called off the engagement.”
The public has been scratching its chin at what exactly has been going on between Bridgers and Burnham for a while now: The two were spotted grabbing (perhaps platonic!) lunch together in July 2021. A few months later, Burnham was spotted in the audience at Bridgers’ October show at the Greek Theatre in LA, where she sang a cover of his song “That Funny Feeling.” In video footage of the concert, Burnham can be seen smiling endearingly at the stage—knowing what I (may) know now, I can only guess that his body was fluttering with that funny feeling known as lust.
Last week, Matt Healy posted a picture of him and Bridgers kissing with a close-eyed Burnham hovering over them. This has been the mildest of The 1975 frontman’s recent tour antics, but what once only seemed like a quirky promo stunt now feels a lot more sinister. The three were also photographed this past summer having dinner with friends (including Scafaria!), so this definitely wasn’t the first time they’ve hung out. God, if there’s anything good that can come out of all of this earth-shattering hearsay, please let it be that Bridgers and Burnham are not in a throuple with Healy.
As for Mescal, who knows where he’s been or who he’s been smooching as of late. If all of the fabrication does amount to cold hard truths, I suppose Bridgers won’t be spending another rom-com Christmas with Mescal’s family. Amidst the potential heartache, I can only hope that Mescal’s “Tortured Man Club” group chat and a sad Christmas playlist will be enough to get him through the holidays.