The real-life Miranda Priestly is dating Bill Nighy? As in Bill Nighy the Science Guy? No—that’s Bill Nye. But it’s only slightly less crazy that she’s (maybe) dating Bill Nighy, an actor from Love Actually.
Monday evening’s Met Gala was full of major fashion moments, from Doja Cat dressed as an actual cat to Lil Nas X covering his entire body in crystals, but somehow it’s Anna Wintour and Nighy’s red-carpet debut that captured hearts across the internet. She’s the expat editor in chief of Vogue and longtime host of the event, he’s a charming British actor, they’re both in their 70s—what’s not to love? Winter is coming? No, Wintour is nigh(y)!
Despite what some are saying, their arrival at the gala wasn’t a hard launch. The two have been friends for a long time, and rumors of romance have followed them for almost as long. The gossip mill really kicked into high gear, though, in 2021, when they were photographed having dinner together in Rome, with him holding red roses. There’ve been several other sightings of them out together since, looking, as tabloids put it, “cozy” at movie screenings and fashion shows, to the degree that it seemed reasonable to conclude that they were a couple.
But Wintour and Nighy have never been official, so some media outlets took his standing beside her at the all-important gala as the first full-on confirmation of their relationship. Cue headlines like “How Bill Nighy thawed the ice queen’s heart!,” “The ‘secret romance’ that got everybody talking at the Met Gala,” and “Anna Wintour and Bill Nighy at the Met Gala: a power couple is born?” But while some anonymous friends of Wintour’s reportedly told the New York Post that they’re “thrilled” about the news, Nighy’s camp has denied it, saying they’re just friends. Either way, bringing a date to an event of this magnitude is a statement. Something tells me Wintour, a veteran editor, is media-savvy enough to know what kind of impression this would make.
Many people were initially surprised to see Wintour and Nighy together, but the reaction to the maybe couple, at least on social media, quickly evolved into approval and even glee. There was even some flat-out gushing: “She won I fear. Absolutely love Bill Nighy, I’ve decided she must be a fabulous and interesting person,” one Twitter user wrote.
Why were people so excited? For one thing, there’s the sheer novelty of seeing a dishy new couple that happens to consist of two older people, rather than the usual parade of Kardashians and Hadids. On top of that, one of Wintour’s main claims to fame, in addition to her trademark bob haircut, is that she was the inspiration for the titular devil of The Devil Wears Prada—maybe there’s something about the idea of seeing a devil in love? (Nuclear Wintour defrosting!) She’s also famously private, so any sort of peek into her love life seems noteworthy. And even though her stature in the fashion world makes her media royalty, she’s not really famous famous. Thus, Nighy’s movie-star factor lends the pairing an added frisson of glitz and glamour, which the setting of the Met Gala only amplified. Overall, it seemed like a positive moment for Wintour’s image—definitely more positive than some other recent coverage, which has painted her as an out-of-touch “colonial broad,” as the late André Leon Talley put it.
And Nighy? He’s an unproblematic (as far as we know), low-key character actor sort who’s appeared in a surprising number of beloved films—all he really has to do for people to love him is continue to be British and 73 years old. That he’d also find himself in an age-appropriate romantic relationship late in life makes him worthy of stanning, especially in this world of notoriously low dating bars for men. The only thing that makes Nighy looks slightly bad here is his pushback on the rumors—does he fancy himself a playboy who can’t be tied down? Bill, don’t make me compare you to Justin Bieber in the period when he would insist—till the cows came home—that he wasn’t involved with his now wife, Hailey Bieber.
If the two are indeed together, it would be the first time in a while that either has been publicly linked with someone. Wintour was previously married to a psychologist named David Shaffer, with whom she had two children, and after they split she was with a businessman named Shelby Bryan, sort of her Stedman, for 20 years, until they ended things in 2020. Nighy too had a long-term partner in his former wife, fellow actor Diana Quick, with whom he has an adult daughter. You’d have to go back a ways to see evidence of either of their wilder days: Wintour dated Christopher Hitchens—she eulogized him for Slate!—and has long been rumored to have had a fling with Bob Marley, of all people, which she has denied. Less is known about any of Nighy’s romances prior to his ex-wife, but he’s certainly played both cads and hopeless romantics in his films.
Nighy can continue to push back on the rumors all he wants, but the seed of this romance has been planted, and as long as the two are getting photographed together, it’s gonna flourish. We want to believe that love is all around us, as Nighy once sang—we’ll worry about the “actually” part later.