‘Pretty Little Liars’: How Old Was Ezra When Him and Aria Met?
Since its premiere in 2010 and bittersweet ending seven years later, fans still can’t stop talking about Pretty Little Liars and their infamous teacher/student couple — Ezra Fitz and Aria Montgomery. While it was once out of adoration, many are starting to see it in a new light.
‘Ezria’ was always considered an epic and end-game love story by Pretty Little Liars fans everywhere, but a look back now will say something different. Most notably, being just how old Ezra was when he knowingly had sex and started a relationship with Aria — audience and critic reactions have been mixed since.
‘Pretty Little Liars’: Ezra and Aria were a fan-favorite couple for a long time
If you watched Pretty Little Liars, there’s a good chance you know all about Ezra (Ian Harding) and Aria (Lucy Hale)— or what fans dubbed Ezria. The two lovers met in a bar when Aria pretended to be older than 21 — resulting in them hooking up in the bathroom.
Shocking the viewers, Ezra is introduced as Aria’s English teacher at Rosewood High school shortly after. This doesn’t stop the relationship — maybe gives it pause — as the two continue fooling around and ‘falling in love.’
Many saw the couple as a case of ‘forbidden love’ and rooted for their reunion all the way up until the show’s finale — despite several reasons, it should not work out.
Ezra and Aria’s relationship was illegal and controversial
Fan-favorite couple aside, the whole ‘Ezria’ relationship was actually pretty wrong and creepy. Not only was he Aria’s English teacher in high school, but he also knew there was a huge age gap between when he hooked up with her.
Just how big of a gap, you may ask?
While it was never explicitly mentioned how old Ezra was, based on a storyline in season three, he must’ve been about 22. This is supported when Ezra found out he has a 7-year-old child he believed he fathered at 16, putting him at 23 a year after he and Aria met. This means that while Aria was a child at only 15/16 years of age, Ezra was 22 when they started dating.
As for the hook-up being ‘unintended’ and at a bar where it’s presumed Aria was over 21 — that belief is actually broken down when one dark secret comes to light. Viewers learn in season four of PLLthat Ezra had already been researching Allison’s disappearance before meeting Aria in a bar — meaning he already knew who she was and how old she was that night.
Creeped out yet? Then let’s add that he had a relationship and was sleeping with 15-year-old Ali just before her.
Audience and critic reactions to the age gap were understandable
Sure, there was a lot of chemistry and tension between the actors playing the PLL roles — making us want to root for their romantic success, but the actual details of the storyline are pretty gross in reality. Fans and the show’s producers often called their love ‘end-game,’ rooting all the way up to the end when he proposed.
Not everyone agreed, though.
Rounding its finale, Refinery 29 author Rebecca Smith pointed out how she always loved the show but thought “fans would change their alliances once Ezra’s lair was revealed. He was literally sitting in a creepy apartment watching unauthorized surveillance cameras of four underage girls. Yet the characters forgave him, the writers forgave him, the fans forgave him. I was just repulsed.”
Many fans praised this view, feeling themselves like the show shined too much positive light on an illegal relationship and all its dysfunction. One wrote, “Thank you. Not enough people talk about this.”
Another added that she watched the show with her 16-year-old niece and kept thinking, “STATUTORY RAPE! HE SHOULD BE IN PRISON! I talked to my niece about how wrong it was and that in real life, he would be in prison, and all I got was a shrug and “Ezra’s so cute.” She didn’t think there was anything wrong with it and thought prison time was silly. Our society is a mess.”