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17th Nov 2018

Why are we so invested in celeb relationships? Here’s the scientific explanation


Pete and Ariana, Jenna and Channing – celebrity breakups hit us hard.

The devastation we we often feel at this kind of news is pretty nuts; but just why do we get so invested in celeb relationships?

Well it turns out that it’s the very same reason you were so happy for Beyoncé when she announced her pregnancy and why you still think you have a chance with Ryan Gosling.

Did you gleefully share a gif of Rachel from Friends when you heard about the Brangelina split? Do you remember exactly where you were when you learned the meaning of the phrase ‘conscious uncoupling’?

Well, you could be in a parasocial relationship.

Parasocial relationships, according to Find A Psychologist, “are one-sided relationships, where one person extends emotional energy, interest and time, and the other party, the persona, is completely unaware of the other’s existence.”

These intimate, and yet not at all intimate, relationships actually mirror real-life relationships in that fans “experience a connection with the media user and express feelings of affection, gratitude, longing, encouragement and loyalty towards them.”

Thankfully, parasocial relationships are harmless (unless you take things to a creepy level).

With that in mind, here are the celebrity break-ups we’re still not over.


Chris Martin and Gwenyth Paltrow

This hit us like a train – we just weren’t ready for the conscious uncoupling.


Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield

They were so goofy and cute and perfect for one another.


Nicolas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence

Another couple who met on set and made us believe in love.


Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams

This magical moment from the 2005 MTV Movie Awards says it all.


Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

They seemed rock-solid. Why can’t they make it work?