Have you heard? Bella Hadid and the Weeknd are getting engaged. So are Taylor Swift and her British actor boyfriend Joe Alwyn. Even Leonardo DiCaprio is planning to put a ring on his 21-year-old model girlfriend’s finger — and fast. In the last six months, a rash of celebrities have apparently decided to legally commit to their partners for the rest of time, which means we are about to witness the biggest celebrity weddings boom in all of recorded history. That is, of course, if you believe the intrepid reporters at Us Weekly.
Since this past summer, the American Media, Inc.–owned tabloid has reported that just about every currently unmarried celebrity couple is planning to lock it down. And how thrilling would that be! I personally love weddings, and I especially love to see how much money exceedingly privileged people decide to spend on them. Unfortunately, only one of Us Weekly’s predicted engagements has so far come true. (At the end of November, the tabloid reported that movie star Chris Pratt and lifestyle blogger Katherine Schwarzenegger would be “engaged soon.” The couple announced their wedding plans in January.) Everyone else is still living in sin like the rest of us.
Why does Us Weekly want everyone to get married so badly? I think the desire probably dates back back to June of last year, when Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson created a tabloid frenzy by getting engaged after two weeks of dating. A few weeks later, Justin Bieber proposed to his model girlfriend Hailey Baldwin, and Nick Jonas proposed to actress Priyanka Chopra, both after similarly short courting periods. My guess is that just about every outlet that covers celebrity gossip benefited, traffic-wise, from this summer of high-profile, quickie engagements. People love to read about love and the life-altering decisions young people make when they are in love. But unfortunately, the summer ended, and so did the celebrity engagement news. What was Us Weekly to do?
Start reporting on potential engagements. If pop stars in their early 20s could promise a lifetime of commitment to their summer flings, why couldn’t anybody else? And so Us Weekly began speculating about all kinds of celebrity couples in just about every issue. By my count, the tabloid has predicted over a dozen celebrity engagements since July. Other tabloids have, to a lesser extent, followed suit, but none of them have been quite so brazen.
The stories themselves all sound pretty similar to each other. In each, a source tells Us Weekly that a proposal is “on the horizon” or that the couple is “getting engaged soon.” Here’s what a source had to say about Bella Hadid and the Weeknd in November: “They’re madly in love with each other. A proposal is on the horizon.” A month later, a (purportedly different) source revealed this about Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez: “An engagement is definitely on the horizon. Alex is obsessed with Jen and spends as much time as he can with her.”
What about Chris Martin and Dakota Johnson? According to Us Weekly’s source on that relationship: “They’ll be engaged soon. Chris is head over heels.” Soon is the key word for Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn, too: A source told the tabloid in December: “Joe is very keen on proposing soon, but he wants to make it unforgettable and extremely special.”
With Jennifer Garner and her new boyfriend, the robotic burger-chain CEO John Miller, things are moving quickly, too. A source told Us Weekly last month, “No one would be surprised if they got engaged by summer. John has discussed marrying Jen.” Do you know what else would be unsurprising? Britney Spears getting engaged to her boyfriend, Sam Asghari. A source told the tabloid in July, “They are more in love than ever … Don’t be surprised if they get engaged in the next year.”
It’s almost as if there is one, all-knowing source who gets a little tingle every time a celebrity couple is photographed in a certain kind of light, and — pow! — they are gifted with the divine knowledge of imminent engagement. Thank God Us Weekly is in regular communication with this prophet.
What happens when the predictions don’t immediately come true? Us Weekly remains hopeful. In August, the tabloid reported that 43-year-old perma-bachelor Leo DiCaprio was “ready to settle down” with his 21-year-old model girlfriend Cami Morrone. “They’re very in love and serious,” a source said then. “They’ve talked about getting engaged.” Months went by, and DiCaprio and Morrone did not get engaged. So Us Weekly reported the same story again, like a prayer, in November. “Everyone is saying that marriage could be soon for them,” a source revealed. Soon, soon, soon.
Sometimes, Us Weekly predicts more than one engagement a week. Take the January 28 issue, for example. According to sources who talked to the tabloid that week, Gwen Stefani, James Franco, and Jeff Bezos are all getting engaged to their current significant others. Stefani and her boyfriend Blake Shelton “are going to be announcing their engagement very soon,” a source told the tabloid. Franco and his 26-year-old model girlfriend Isabel Pakzad, meanwhile, are “serious” and have “spoken about getting engaged.” As for barely divorced billionaire Bezos? Well, “wedding talk has already begun” with his mistress/girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, apparently. A source elaborated, “Lauren and Jeff are so committed to each other; nobody would be surprised if they’re engaged by the end of the year.”
The Bezos story, in particular, is made all the more bizarre by the fact that AMI CEO David Pecker allegedly blackmailed Bezos this month by threatening to release Bezos and Sanchez’s sexts through his other publication, The National Enquirer. No matter what’s going on behind the scenes at AMI, Us Weekly remains committed to giving the people what they want: beautiful engagement stories.
There’s relatively little risk for Us Weekly in predicting celebrity engagements, which means the tabloid will probably keep doing it until people get bored. It’s not like reporting on a celebrity pregnancy, which can ultimately be verified one way or another. “Talking about a proposal” is much more difficult to prove. Aren’t we all getting engaged soon, in some sense?
Last week, a celebrity did get engaged: Jennifer Lawrence’s rep confirmed that she is planning to marry her art-dealer boyfriend, Cooke Maroney. Unfortunately, no one told Us Weekly about this proposal beforehand. “Page Six” got the exclusive, instead. Oh well. Us Weekly has plenty more chances to get it right. Don’t be surprised!