There’s nothing like young love. And there’s really nothing like a romance that blossoms on the set of one of pop culture’s biggest phenomena.
Many Stranger Things fans noticed sparks between Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) and Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer) when they teamed up to take on the Demogorgon in Season 1. But it’s become increasingly obvious that the two actors’ chemistry extends behind the scenes.
1. Their characters took a big step in their relationship in Stranger Things 2
When it comes to Stranger Things 2, everybody loves Steve Harrington (Joe Keery). Everybody, that is, except for Nancy. The pair seemed cozy at the end of Season 1, but fate — and a lot of alcohol — tore them apart in the sophomore season. And Jonathan and Nancy once again paired off to try to find justice for Barb.
The mystery-minded duo wound up spending the night in a conspiracy theorist’s basement. After he called them on their obvious attraction to one another, Nancy and Jonathan finally bit the bullet and hooked up.
While their characters’ romance has played out for all to see, Heaton and Dyer seem to have tried to keep their own love lives under wraps. But that strategy hasn’t exactly worked in their favor.
2. Both actors have been able to keep their private life quiet
When Stranger Things started filming in 2015, Heaton and Dyer were not well-known faces. Even after the first season hit Netflix, they kept a fairly low profile in comparison to the rest of the series’ ensemble. And that seems to have helped them keep the early phase of their relationship under wraps.
Heaton and Dyer both have social media accounts, but they’re not incredibly active. They were each featured in a handful of magazines and press appearances. But most of the attention was on Winona Ryder and the lead child actors, like Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard.
But while Heaton and Dyer mostly stayed out of the spotlight, they didn’t keep fans completely in the dark about their bond.
3. Fans started wondering if they were dating over a year ago
While Stranger Things mania was sweeping the globe, Heaton and Dyer were likely adjusting to their newfound fame. And fans on Tumblr and Reddit instantly noticed, from just a handful of social media posts, that the pair seemed to be close.
Fans’ speculation about their relationship status grew louder when Heaton and Dyer traveled to Europe together. Heaton shared an Instagram photo of Dyer on the beach in Spain in Sept. 2016 — and Dyer offered her fans a photo of Heaton (covered in birds, because, of course) on the same trip a few days later.
Neither Heaton nor Dyer made an official announcement about their relationship status. But fans could see that they were as close as ever when they started filming Season 2.
4. They stayed strong while filming Stranger Things 2
Throughout the filming of Stranger Things 2, Heaton and Dyer stayed relatively quiet on social media. But Heaton did share a photo of the pair dressed up as Wizard of Oz characters the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion for Halloween on Instagram in October 2016.
Once award season kicked into high gear, though, the pair seemingly let their guard down. They were photographed leaving Los Angeles International Airport together and looking cozy when the Stranger Things cast attended the Golden Globes in January 2017.
Around that time, entertainment news outlets and tabloids began to run stories about Heaton and Dyer’s relationship.Their reaction to the buzz was curious, to say the least.
5. Heaton and Dyer stayed coy about their relationship
In March 2017, TMZ posted a video of Heaton and Dyer being asked questions about what it’s like to date a co-star. Neither came out and admitted they were, in fact, dating each other. But they also didn’t try to deny that they knew what it was like to date, or “hang out with,” a co-star.
Since early 2017, both Heaton and Dyer have been busy filming other projects — The New Mutants and After Dark, respectively. But they’ve still managed to pique fans’ interest during their downtime.
6. Tabloids stories have shown another side of the pair
As Stranger Things 2’s premiere date loomed nearer, all eyes were on the cast. And for Heaton and Dyer, that meant a renewed scrutiny and the chance for rumors to fly about their relationship.
In October 2017, Elle published a story confirming the actors’ relationship. It included photos of the pair walking hand-in-hand in New York City, the most obvious confirmation yet that they are an item.
However, despite the excitement surrounding Stranger Things 2, Heaton and Dyer weren’t able to fully celebrate the season’s success. Fans noticed that Heaton was conspicuously absent from the ST2 premiere. And the reason he was a no-show turned the media’s focus from his love life to his personal life.
7. Dyer has stood by Heaton’s side amidst legal issues
On Oct. 28, 2017, news broke that Heaton, a British citizen, had been denied entry to the United States after security discovered trace amounts of cocaine in his luggage.
Two days later, Heaton released a statement about the incident:
My planned travel to the U.S. last week was affected by an issue at U.S. immigration, and I am working to rectify it as soon as possible. I do want to clarify that I was not arrested or charged with a crime and cooperated fully with the U.S. officials at LAX. I’m sorry to all the fans and my Stranger Things family for missing the premiere. We are all so proud of this season and I would never want this story to negatively impact the show.
And while some fans wondered what this would mean for his relationship with Dyer, the pair seems to be doing better than ever. They met up with Keery in Paris to do press for Stranger Things in November 2017. They were also photographed being especially affectionate with one another a few days later in London.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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