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Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse's Relationship Is A Teaching Moment On Office Romance

It's unclear if the two actually broke up.

When news that “Riverdale” actors Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse reportedly ended their two-year relationship, it shattered the hearts of Bughead fans everywhere.

Now, it’s not so clear what their relationship status is. In a W Magazine profile on the couple published after rumours of the breakup became public July 21, the author notes that at the time of their interview, Reinhart and Sprouse insisted on being interviewed independent from the other.

Although the profile implies the two aren’t together anymore, the “Riverdale” colleagues posted their shared cover to social media with captions implying that reports of their romance fizzling have been exaggerated.

“BREAKING: A reliable source has confirmed that none of you know shit,” Reinhart wrote on Instagram.

Sprouse went more cryptic, referring to themselves as cannibalistic cult leaders. ...Okay.

Their “Riverdale” colleagues approved of the caption clapbacks. Madelaine Petsch, who plays Cheryl Blossom on the show, told Access Hollywood that the group chat the show’s actors have blew up.

According to Madelaine Petsch, the "Riverdale" cast approved of the maybe-couple's W Magazine photoshoot, as well as their snide Instagram captions.
According to Madelaine Petsch, the "Riverdale" cast approved of the maybe-couple's W Magazine photoshoot, as well as their snide Instagram captions.

“That shoot was probably one of the coolest shoots I’ve ever seen,” Petsch said. “And then with that caption, I was blown away. I loved it.”

Confusing, right? Whether they’re still together or not, one thing is for sure: the two colleagues will remain entangled onscreen. On the show, the pair play Betty and Jughead respectively: teenage sweethearts who are very much in love, in spite of what last season’s cliffhanger suggests. For now, at least.

Reinhart and Sprouse wouldn’t be the first to fall in love on the job. Not many of us can relate to having a breakup upset thousands on the internet, but office romances are more common than you might think. A study by ADP Canada found that over one-third of Canadans are in or have been romantically involved with a co-worker.

If, unlike the #SprouseHart breakup, your office romance is most definitely over, here’s what you can take away from their split.

Best way to deal with breakup fallout? Be professional

Most agree ex-lovers should remain civil and steer clear of bringing their emotions into the workplace. Sticking to job-related conversations only during working hours helps enforce the new roles you both have in each other’s lives. After a particularly nasty split, this might be easier said than done, but experts urge people not to air grievances with an ex.

“Avoid the temptation to play dirty,” career specialist Nicole Williams told Business Insider. “Do not add fuel to the fire and spread your dirty laundry around the office.”

Although news of the breakup first surfaced while the two were promoting Riverdale at San Diego Comic Con, the two never brought up their intimate issues while on the show’s panel. Reinhart even posted a photo of herself, Sprouse, and fellow Riverdale star KJ Apa from the event, captioned with a light-hearted rib at them.

In the W Magazine profile, writer David Amsden noted that for the pair, who had posed together for the magazine’s cover, keeping their lives separate from work seemed to be a non-issue.

“It was hard to be bothered, even once I learned that the couple I was profiling was maybe no longer a couple. Romance is a weird business for us all, and even weirder for those in show business,” Amsden wrote.

Don’t give into gossip

Riverdale co-star Mark Consuelos said he had no idea about the split on a SiriusXM radio show, adding that he’s thought about voicing doubt to them, but knew it would sound pretty hypocritical.

“I would think about giving them advice, ‘Do you really want to date your co-star?’ But, look at me,” Consuelos said, referencing his marriage to his former “All My Children” co-star Kelly Ripa.

On an A-lister scale, workplace gossip extends beyond the set and into the public eye. Staying mum when the initial rumours broke was a smart tactic for the pair, especially when whatever they say would likely become a headline for both the world and the other person to read.

“Just know that whatever you say will eventually travel back to your ex,” podcaster Yue Xu cautioned for The Cheat Sheet.

WATCH: Lili Reinhart Thinks Betty Cooper Will Get Married Before Her. Story continues below.

Keeping private matters private is something the two stars have already been practicing, from the onset of early rumours of PDA to their relationship debut at the 2018 Met Gala.

To curb attention, Sprouse tried not to post too many photos of his co-star.

“I’ve girded my private life very intentionally,” the former Disney star told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s one of those things that I still sort of grapple with, and Lili and I grapple with.”

Reinhart has been adamant about not sharing details about Sprouse to media.

”I’m not OK talking about my relationship,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “I’m not going to tell you my love story. That’s just not appropriate right now.”

Minimize stress

It’s not realistic to expect an emotional situation won’t affect you at your 9-5. If you’re finding yourself less productive, it’s likely that breakup stress is taking a toll. That’s why taking breaks when needed, doing self-care, or limiting interactions with your ex are important ways to reduce turmoil.

With their relationship status unclear, fans of Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse are divided on whether the two remain a couple.
Albert L. Ortega via Getty Images
With their relationship status unclear, fans of Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse are divided on whether the two remain a couple.

“If you are feeling frustrated or angry at work ask yourself why?” psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow told Elite Daily. “And take time to take a break and recalibrate so that you don’t let your personal emotions significantly impact your work-related relations.”

If unnamed sources were to be believed, Reinhart and Sprouse minimized stress by keeping their distance when they were not at work.

Follow workplace policies

A majority of canoodling co-workers surveyed by ADP Canada were in secret trysts; from those couples, almost half said that their companies did not have policies on intimacy.

Workplace romances are not against the law, but they can still put your job at risk. Depending on existing dating policies, intimacy with a colleague can be outright banned or prohibited unless partners disclose to the company. Breaking those rules can result in a trip to the HR department or in some cases, termination.

“I’m not going to tell you my love story. That’s just not appropriate right now.”

- Lili Reinhart

It’s important to keep human resources or any relevant managers updated if your relationship was known. And even if it was a confidential affair, confiding in a trusted co-worker can alleviate the pain.

“During highly emotional breakups, separations and divorces, it’s not unusual to need additional support from your managers and peers in terms of compassion and understanding,” HR director Erica Perkins told Glassdoor.

In Reinhart and Sprouse’s case, it’s likely that they’ve got that part handled for them. Both are very close to other cast members and won’t be lacking shoulders to cry on … if the breakup is real.

Don’t quit your day job

It might be tempting to avoid the awkwardness altogether and find a new office. And in some cases, that might be the healthiest decision. But before you apply for that department transfer, consider this: getting along with an old flame is probably going to be easier than finding a new daily grind.

Louisa Symington-Mills, an agony aunt for the Telegraph, recommends shifting focus to creating a career development plan.

Sprouse and Reinhart aren’t leaving the acting game anytime soon. Sprouse is set to star in crime thriller “The Silk Road,” with Reinhart enjoying a big role in the upcoming stripper comedy-drama flick “Hustlers.”

Keeping up with the maybe-pair will be easy for Canadian fans. In promotion of “Hustlers,” Reinhart will be walking the red carpet in Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). As reported by Narcity, the actress confirmed her appearance in an Instagram story.

And for the foreseeable future, the two will be shooting season four of Riverdale in Vancouver, B.C.

So are they still dating? Uncoupled? Still figuring it out? Who knows! Uncertainty abounds. Until they definitively clear the air, at least they can take comfort in the fact that they wouldn’t be the first teen drama stars to date and call it quits while in production.

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