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Actress Florence Pugh has made a big splash in Hollywood lately. Although she had snagged parts in some smaller movies prior to 2019, Pugh really started making a name for herself recently by starring in blockbuster hits like Black Widow and Little Women alongside superstars Scarlett Johansson and Meryl Streep.

At only 24 years old, she already has two huge movies to her name and was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Amy March in Little Women. Needless to say, she’s one of the most talented new actors on the scene and lives much of her life in the spotlight.

Living in the spotlight has caused Pugh to make headlines for her romantic relationship with another famous actor, Zach Braff, who is most famous for starring on nine seasons of popular show Scrubs. Some fans have been hypercritical of her choice in partner, but Pugh won’t stand for hate and had a strong message for her critics in a recent interview.

The history of Pugh and Braff’s relationship

Pugh and Braff are pretty hush-hush about their romance, but they’re thought to have gotten together sometime around 2019 when they were first photographed being affectionate together in New York City. They reportedly were introduced to each other when Pugh starred in a short film directed by Braff called The Time it Takes to Get There; the rest, as they say, is history. 

Pugh took to Instagram on April 6 to post a sweet photo of Braff with a caption wishing him a happy 45th birthday, one of the rare occasions in which either of them have referred to the relationship personally. “Happy Birthday wishes, boogies and cheers for this special person. Raise those bubbles and jiggle!,” she wrote as a special message for her man.

Braff, for his part, posted a picture of Pugh in pink socks on his Instagram Story on the same day.  It even seems that the couple may have adopted a puppy together, so it seems like things are getting serious.

Pugh fights back against the haters

Some fans aren’t pleased about the match, to say the least, because of Pugh and Braff’s 21-year age gap. One hateful commenter wrote, in response to Pugh’s birthday post for Braff: “Just don’t date someone like 20 years older than you? That’s disgusting.”

Much more vitriol followed, much of it has to do with the couple’s age difference. At the time, Pugh immediately shut down the hatred and bullying by posting a video on Instagram addressing these types of comments.

“Within about 8 minutes of the photo being posted, I had about 70 percent of the comments hurling abuse and being horrid and basically bullying someone on my page,” Pugh can be heard saying in the video.

She warns firmly against these sorts of comments being posted on her Instagram: “I will not allow that behavior on my page. I’m not about that. It makes me upset.”

She continues to her life choices, stating: “I am 24 years old. I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love… It is not your place and really has nothing to do with you.”

What Pugh said in her interview with Elle UK

Florence Pugh attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar party
Florence Pugh attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar party | Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

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In a recent interview with Elle UK, Pugh made her position on the matter even clearer. Although she understands that the fact that her partner is another famous actor brings much more (perhaps unwanted) attention to the relationship, she doesn’t understand or condone the hatred that is spewed onto her and Braff’s romance.

“I know that part of being in the spotlight is that people might invade your privacy and have opinions on it, but it’s bizarre that normal folk are allowed to display such hate and opinions on a part of my life that I’m not putting out there. It’s a strange side of fame that you’re allowed to be torn apart by thousands of people even though you didn’t put that piece of you out there,” Pugh states in the interview. She is crystal-clear on how she feels about the matter: she asserts, “People have no right to educate me on my private life. … [M]y point to all this is that isn’t it odd that a stranger can totally tear apart someone’s relationship and it’s allowed?”

It seems like Pugh is not going to let the haters bring her relationship down any time soon.