Us Weekly says Prince Harry and Juliette Labelle “hooked up” over New Year and are having a fling which involves “texting and using a lot of emojis.”
But Labelle, a blonde public relations assistant for Christian Dior based on the West Coast, has refuted the rumors, telling reporters in her only quoted comments that she “doesn’t know” Harry.
That doesn’t seem to have deterred the media from reporting on the relationship in ever more enthusiastic terms as the British winter grinds on.
However, aside from her initial denial, Labelle has done little to dampen the speculation.
In what may prove to be a fine example of having one’s cake and eating it, Labelle, who reportedly has an interest in developing a career as an actress, has effortlessly parlayed the reports of a romance into a tidal wave of press attention in recent days, by the simple expedient of posting a series of easily misinterpreted Instagram photos on her now-private account.
“Is it weird that I carry my boyfriend around?” she captioned one of her posts of her carrying a dog, while she wrote in another, “It’s getting really serious between us.”
Then, yesterday, she went for the nuclear option, posting a topless picture of herself taken in October smoking a hand-rolled cigarette.
In the photo, a birthday cake emoji had been digitally added over her nipple.
It can sometimes seem that everyone in L.A. either is or wants to be in the movies. It’s the ultimate company town. So perhaps one shouldn’t blame Labelle for attempting to maximize her 15 minutes of fame. The Sun is now claiming that Labelle is planning a visit to London for acting work. A source told the paper: “Once in London, I’m sure Juliette will reach out to Harry so they can meet up.”
To be fair to Labelle, she has flat out denied the relationship (Harry’s people have declined to comment, as they always do on matters concerning his private life).
A cynic would point out that being linked to Harry didn’t pan out too badly for another aspiring actress, Cressida Bonas, who found herself cast in the Harvey Weinstein movie Tulip Fever opposite that other acclaimed thespian, Cara Delevingne, after splitting with the royal.
If you are in the entertainment business, there’s nothing as important as name recognition. And rumors that you “hooked up” with a mega star can deliver untold clicks, even if, like Labelle, you deny it ever happened.
A similar scenario was played out in London after the BAFTAs when the fame-hungry TV presenter Laura Whitmore—best known in London society circles for showing up to every single high profile fashion show at London Fashion Week in a different dress, often necessitating several costume changes per day—was reported to have gone back to Leonardo DiCaprio’s room for the night after a party following his BAFTA win for The Revenant.
Whitmore’s people let the story run for a few hours—illustrated in most cases by a convenient picture of her whispering in his ear at the event—and build up a good head of steam before they moved to deny it.
In Harry’s case, of course, the alleged romance feeds neatly into the ongoing narrative of Harry’s fruitless wife search.
Did Leo and Laura shack up? Or at 30, was she too old for him? Are Harry and Labelle sending each other passionate emoji texts? Or have they never laid eyes on each other?
Whatever, there’s no denying that Labelle and Whitmore are both a lot more famous than they were before these stories appeared.
And when it comes to a career in the entertainment biz, that can’t hurt.