Tiger Woods had just reached the point, post car-crash, divorce and New York cover story, where no one cared much about his personal life anymore. Then, this happened: “Something nice that’s happened off the course was meeting [Olympic skiier] Lindsey Vonn,” Woods wrote recently in a Facebook post. “Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating.”
It’s an understandable move, and one that’s become very common for celebrity couples: getting ahead of the story before it’s broken by a news outlet, so you have some hope of controlling the way the news is framed and presented. A Facebook post is more detailed than Kanye West shouting out Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy from a stage, and has more space to ask, as Woods did, for some space: “We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy,” he wrote. “We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continue to compete as athletes.”
In the dull, cheery pictures Woods released with the announcement, the hosts seem to be hovering in an odd space in between a People cover shoot and a brightly-lit engagement photo. Maybe Vonn and Woods are trying to ward off public scrutiny, but their Facebook posting is in keeping with a kind of relationship creep enabled by the social media age. Even among the non-famous, we have a tendency to treat every milestone as if it’s worthy of—if not letterpressed invitations and reply cards—public professions of affection in the virtual town square. Stars, they’re just like us! But with better pre-Facebook Photoshop.