“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 magazine. “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 breakup confirmation comes months after the Little Women actress denied romance rumors with her Midsommar costar Will Poulter after the two were photographed getting playful in the ocean together on May 23.
“Ooookay. Man. This is getting a little silly now. No, Will Poulter and I are not dating. We went to the beach with our friends, who are always about half a metre [sic] away from us in every picture, but have been cleverly cut out/framed out so that it looks otherwise,” Pugh wrote via her Instagram Story the following day. “You can LITERALLY see my best friend in the corner of so many shots and Archie [Madekwe]‘s arms at the sides.”
She joked, “Thanks for saying we look sexy … doesn’t mean we’re doing the sexy.”
The England native further slammed the speculation in a separate post that same day.
“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,” she added.
Pugh has dealt with her fair share of criticism surrounding her love life — particularly when it came to her relationship with Braff, who is 21 years her senior.
The former couple — who were first linked in April 2019 after Pugh starred in Braff’s short film, In the Time It Takes to Get There — faced frequent backlash throughout the years for their large age gap, which the Marvel star has vigorously defended.
“I’m 24 years old. I have been working since I was 17 years old. I have been earning money since I was 17 years old. I became an adult when I was 18 years old and I started paying taxes when I was 18 years old,” Pugh wrote via Instagram in April 2020, slamming trolls who harassed the Garden State actor about the pair’s age difference.
“I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love, and I would never in my life ever, ever tell someone who they can and cannot love. It is not your place,” she continued. “And really it has nothing to do with you … The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you throw at me.”
Braff praised his then-girlfriend for her response in November 2020.
“She literally sat down, hit record on her phone and said that,” he gushed to MR PORTER at the time. “I thought: how could I possibly follow anything as intelligent and articulate as that? So, I chose not to.”
Five months prior to making the video, Pugh clapped back at a social media user who pointed out Braff’s age.
“@zachbraff you’re 44 years old,” one person wrote on an Instagram photo of the actress enjoying a meal in Los Angeles.
“And yet he got it,” the Hawkeye alum retorted at the time, adding an OK emoji.
Though the former couple spent time defending their romance from naysayers, their relationship was also filled with joyous moments, including the adoption of their dog, Billie, their quarantine date nights, celebrating their birthdays and working on their garden.
“I allow one takeaway a week. So that’s our special date night,” the actress revealed on the “Table Manners” podcast in May 2020, adding that she and Braff were also “growing lovely leaves and lovely elephant garlics” to cook with.