Lady Gaga appeared to announce her engagement on Monday night, when in her speech at a “Women in Hollywood” event at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles, she thanked “my fiancé, Christian,” a reference to boyfriend Christian Carino. Congratulations to her! But for many people who have seen Gaga in A Star Is Born, the happy news was a bit deflating. A common reaction seemed to be: Should she maybe be dating Bradley Cooper instead?
The pair’s electric chemistry on screen in A Star Is Born is one of the reasons the movie has been met with such titanic enthusiasm. It’s a movie for adults about adult themes—addiction and ambition, primarily. But it has turned many viewers into swooning teens. The way Jackson touches Ally’s nose! The way she caresses his cheek! Before the movie even arrived in theaters, a minor moment from the trailer that consists of not much more than a few seconds of eye contact between became an inescapable meme.
Fans of Ladley Gooper—go with it—seem to know they’re working with thin evidence. But a dream is a dream. “I knew he was taken but I swear he is IN LOVE,” one fan tweeted. “Like the way he looks at her and talks about her he deffo loves her in some sort of way lol.” Another tweet: “also can Bradley d*vorce his wife and date Gaga cause they low key cute together.” “I ship it so hard,” said another.
Why is it so irresistible to “ship” Cooper and Gaga (that is, to root for their almost-certainly fictional relationship)? For one, because their public relationships are so utterly boring. Gaga dates blandly handsome bros who are considerably less famous than she is. Her previous fiancé, Taylor Kinney, is an actor on the television shows Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago P.D., and also appeared on an episode of Chicago Justice. He seemed fine. But it was impossible to be interested in them as a couple. Carino, her new fiancé, is a talent agent 17 years older than she is. He represents stars including Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez. He once waited by the stairs for her. (This is one of the only anecdotes about him she has shared publicly.) He seems fine.
Cooper, meanwhile, is currently dating supermodel Irina Shayk, who gave birth to their daughter last year. He’s long been linked to models and A-listers, including Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz. There is little to no colorful information available about his relationship dynamic with Shayk, though gossip outlets are currently running stories about how miserable they are together. He doesn’t give many openly revealing interviews about his personal life; a recent profile in the New York Times depicted him stuffily refusing to answer softball questions about the relationship between his art and his personal life.
Neither Gaga’s nor Cooper’s actual relationships, in other words, have managed to grab the public’s imagination in the way their movie relationship has. They’re actors, duh, I know that, ha-ha, obviously! But it’s hard not to be seduced by the undeniable rapport this duo has on screen—the piercing eye contact, the quiet smiles. There’s also the endearing professional courtship Gaga and Cooper have described in interviews. He saw her sing “La Vie en Rose” at a charity event and drove to her house the next day; she made him spaghetti and meatballs in her kitchen, and they sang together and knew it was meant to be. There’s the way he “fell in love with her face and eyes” on set, which is a very normal way to describe falling in love with someone. Then they attended the film’s premiere together and held hands on the red carpet. Even if it’s delusional, you can’t help but want to take another look at them.