Why Florence Pugh and Zach Braff tried to keep their breakup a secret

A split image of a man posing in a purple velvet tux and a woman posing in black
Actors Zach Braff, left, and Florence Pugh began dating after working on a short film together in 2019.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/AP; Vianney Le Caer / Invision/AP)

Zach Braff and Florence Pugh ended their relationship earlier this year, the “Little Women” star has confirmed. And there’s a reason we didn’t know about it until now.

“We’ve been trying to do this separation without the world knowing, because it’s been a relationship that everybody has an opinion on,” Pugh told Harper’s Bazaar in an interview published Tuesday.

“We just felt something like this would really do us the benefit of not having millions of people telling us how happy they are that we’re not together. So we’ve done that. I automatically get a lumpy throat when I talk about it,” she said.


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This isn’t the first time the Oscar nominee has opened up about the online harassment she and the “Scrubs” alum endured while they were together. When they began dating a couple of years ago, many were quick to judge the 21-year age gap between Braff, 47, and Pugh, 26.

In April 2020, the “Black Widow” actor took to Instagram to shame people for sharing their unsolicited thoughts about the couple and their age difference on social media.

“I am 24 years old,” Pugh said at the time. “I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love, and I would never in my life ever, ever tell anyone who they can and cannot love. It is not your place, and really it has nothing to do with you.”

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The performers sparked romance rumors after working together on the 2019 short film “In the Time It Takes to Get There,” starring Pugh and directed by Braff. More recently, Pugh acted opposite Morgan Freeman and Molly Shannon in another Braff project, “A Good Person,” set to open next year.


“The movie that we made together genuinely was probably one of my most favorite experiences,” Pugh told Harper’s Bazaar. “It felt like a very natural and easy thing to do.”

Pugh also discussed another upcoming title of hers, “Don’t Worry Darling,” directed by Olivia Wilde. Out next month, the psychological thriller stars Pugh and Harry Styles (in his biggest film role to date) as a married couple in the 1950s whose lives begin to spiral out of control.

The intense trailer for the highly anticipated period piece — which teases some steamy scenes between the “Midsommar” breakout and the former One Direction heartthrob — sent fans and media outlets into a frenzy.

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“When it’s reduced to your sex scenes, or to watch the most famous man in the world go down on someone, it’s not why we do it. It’s not why I’m in this industry,” Pugh said of the reaction to the previews.

“Obviously, the nature of hiring the most famous pop star in the world, you’re going to have conversations like that. That’s just not what I’m going to be discussing because [this movie is] bigger and better than that. And the people who made it are bigger and better than that.”