It was the summer of 2018 and celebrity couples were getting engaged left and right, exiting long-term relationships only to turn around and immediately make lifelong commitments. Before you could say “where is Cazzie David,” (Africa!) we had BDE and Hailey Bieber to deal with—not to mention Cardi B and Offset’s emotional roller coaster and whatever went down between Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan. The weather was nice, a bunch of bad things hadn’t happened yet, and people still thought Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez might get back together. Were we ever so young?
2018 was the year of celebrities jumping into serious relationships because, well, why not? Maybe it’s because the world is ending, or maybe it’s just what young, hot, famous people always do—whatever they want. It was the year of announcing your pregnancy on SNL, like Cardi B, and getting engaged to someone from SNL, like Ariana Grande, and Lil Xan eating so many Hot Cheetos he had to go to the hospital. The year of proposing to your doppelbanger, like Justin Bieber did to Hailey Baldwin, and then making out with her at a list of trendy venues that reads like a walking tour of gentrified Brooklyn. The year of vloggers dating vloggers and breaking up with your significant other over a meme-based miscommunication.
If your relationship disintegrates and there’s no fan Instagram account specifically dedicated to mourning your break up, did you even date? (@thankupetiana, “Pete Davidson & Ariana Grande thank you for the love that you shared.”) And if you didn’t post a video peeing on the plaque for your song “Betrayed,” were you even betrayed?
A-listers over 40 fell in love and broke up this year too, but nobody cared because they’re old.
Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande
Yes, we’re all sick of talking about it (although probably not as sick of it as Pete and Ariana themselves). But Pete Davidson’s and Ariana Grande’s relationship defined celebrity culture in 2018. He was our dirtbag muse, a sort-of funny guy whose big dick energy landed him in a sick Manhattan penthouse at the pinnacle of the national zeitgeist. She was the prescient pop queen who hated America before it was cool. Together they were less relationship goals, and more relationship realities: two people who bonded over tragedy, got way too intense way too quickly, and thought they were quirky and cute enough to not need silverware (no one is too in love for forks). The situation was bound to devolve as quickly as it had escalated, ending in a broken engagement, concerning social media posts and a real smash of a song. It is with sincere gratitude, and hope for a healthy new year, that we all say thank u, next.
Jacob Sartorius and Millie Bobby Brown
After seven months of “being in a relationship”—Sartorius is 16, and Brown is 14—Jacon Sartorius and Millie Bobby Brown “broke up” in July. The former Vine star and Stranger Things actress posted a number of couple snapshots on social media before eventually calling it quits. One headline declared “Millie Bobby Brown just broke up with boyfriend in the most mature way possible.” Millie Bobby Brown is 14!
Justin and Selena and Hailey Baldwin Bieber
When Hailey Baldwin first met Justin Bieber, she was a 13-year-old fan. Two years later, she tweeted in support of his on and off again love affair with pop star Selena Gomez, posting, “I don't care what anyone says but Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez together is the definition of a teenage dream! #word." About four months after Jelena’s most recent breakup, TMZ announced that Baldwin and Bieber were engaged. It’s been a real journey.
Who can forget the iconic 2016 Caity Weaver profile of Justin Bieber, where she encounters Hailey Baldwin waiting patiently in Bieber’s hotel room, sitting on the bed, doing nothing (“no TV, no book, no phone, no computer, no music, no oil paints, nothing”)? At the time, Bieber described Baldwin as “someone I really love.” Later in the same profile, he talks about not wanting to be tied down romantically, musing, “What if Hailey ends up being the girl I’m gonna marry, right? If I rush into anything, if I damage her, then it’s always gonna be damaged.” Two years later, and Baldwin has officially changed her last name on Instagram and Bieber is posting about his “first Thanksgiving as a married man.”
Of course, nothing can compare to Bieber’s Instagram engagement announcement, which featured some of the most amped-up prose ever used to hype a lifelong romantic commitment. Choice quotes include “You make me so much better and we compliment each other so well!! Can’t wait for the best season of life yet!” and “Gods timing really is literally perfect, we got engaged on the seventh day of the seventh month, the number seven is the number of spiritual perfection, it’s true GOOGLE IT!” Reader, I did not google it, but if Justin Bieber is saying that Jesus brought him and Hailey Baldwin together to suck face in Williamsburg, then who am I to doubt it? Also shout out to Bieber for embracing a True 2018 Mood: crying in public!
Bella Thorne and Mod Sun and Tana Mongeau
Hey, did you hear that polyamory is a revolutionary political weapon? Keep fighting the good fight, Bella Thorne, Mod Sun, and Tana Mongeau!
Cardi B and Offset
While Cardi B and Offset officially started dating in 2017, the hip-hop power couple took things to the next level this year when Cardi announced her pregnancy and revealed that they had secretly gotten married in September 2017. Also in 2018, Cardi gave birth to her daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus and ended things with Offset after the latest flurry of cheating rumors. The Migos rapper took one look at Cardi B’s mature, gracious announcement and decided to go in a different direction, interrupting her mid-performance and begging her to take him back. On the one hand, it’s sad to watch the dissolution of a marriage, and even sadder to watch a woman at the top of her game being ambushed in the middle of a set by her cheating ex. On the other hand, Cardi is going to be just fine—she reacted to Offset’s plea with remarkable restraint, and even told her social media followers not to rag on the father of her child. And in relatable content, the only thing Cardi misses about Offset is his dick.
Lil Xan and Noah Cyrus
Here are some facts about Lil Xan and Noah Cyrus’ relationship that will make you feel old. The rapper, who actually doesn’t do Xanax anymore, slid into Miley Cyrus’s sister’s DMs in February. In August, they made their red carpet debut at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they became a meme. Just a month after the couple shared an iconic face smush, all hell broke loose after Noah Cyrus sent Lil Xan a meme of Charlie Puth’s head Photoshopped on to a naked man’s body. Believing that he had been cheated on, the rapper went in on Instagram, at one point peeing on the plaque for his own song, “Betrayed.” Lil Xan denied that his cheating suspicions stemmed from the Charlie Puth meme; later, he alleged that the entire relationship had been set up by Columbia Records. Also in September, Lil Xan went to the hospital after he ate too many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Amandla Stenberg and King Princess
Why watch a 22-year-old rapper named after a sedative mash his face against his girlfriend’s face at the VMAs when you could be watching Amandla Stenberg and King Princess hold hands? This one isn’t funny, they’re just really good together. Young love!