The “Black Widow” star, 26, confirmed in a Harper’s Bazaar profile published on Monday that she and the “Scrubs” alum, 47, quietly ended their relationship earlier this year.
“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 the outlet. “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.”
The low-key couple, who were first linked in 2019 after working on a short film together, have largely kept their relationship out of the public eye, notably never walking a red carpet together.
Instead, the duo preferred casually interacting with each other on social media, where they shared photos and first confirmed the romance with a sly nod to their age difference.
Privacy remains paramount for Pugh, and she pushed back on the negative press about their relationship from the onset, describing the invasive attention surrounding her personal life as “incredibly wrong.”
“Whenever I feel like that line has been crossed in my life, whether it’s paparazzi taking private moments, or moments that aren’t even real, or gossip channels that encourage members of the public to share private moments of famous people walking down the street, I think it’s incredibly wrong,” she told Harper’s Bazaar.
“I don’t think that people, just because they have this job, that every aspect of their life should be watched and written about,” she added. “We haven’t signed up for a reality TV show.”
The “Little Women” star has made a habit of publicly addressing the conversation about her age gap with Braff, previously slamming internet trolls for “bullying” them on Instagram.
Last year, Pugh even offered a theory as to why their romance attracts so much attention.
“It’s not who they expected,” she told The Sunday Times, noting that her fans presumed she might date a Timothée Chalamet type. “But it’s my life and I’m not doing anything to please people or to make it a better headline or story. I want to also be a person!”
In recent months, speculation has swirled that two went their separate ways, especially after Pugh was seen vacationing with her “Midsommar” co-star Will Poulter and friends earlier this year.
But she came to Braff’s defense again after the internet preemptively celebrated the split, shutting down rumors that she and Poulter were romantically involved and reiterating that “there’s literally no need to be horrible online.”
“There’s no need to drag people through this. Regardless of your opinion on who I should or shouldn’t be with, at the end of the day if you’re complimenting someone by trolling another person.. you’re just bullying,” Pugh wrote in May.
Braff has yet to offer a public comment on their relationship. The two seemingly remain on good terms, as Pugh went onto praise the experience of collaborating with Braff in the forthcoming film “A Good Person,” which he wrote and directed.
“The movie that we made together genuinely was probably one of my most favorite experiences,” Pugh told Harper’s. “It felt like a very natural and easy thing to do.”