Olivia Wilde on Harry Styles romance: 'When you're really happy, it doesn't matter what strangers think about you'
Though she's been a frequent presence at his concerts, Olivia Wilde isn't giving away much when it comes to her relationship with Harry Styles. Indeed, in a new interview for the January 2022 issue of Vogue — which sees her rocking a black bra in a cover shoot lensed by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz — a representative for the actress and director decline to confirm her romance with the musician, who stars in her second directing feature, Don't Worry Darling.
But Wilde can't quite escape discussing Styles and the media frenzy surrounding their year-long relationship, including speculation about the end of her engagement with Jason Sudeikis, with whom she shares two children, and the 10-year age gap between her and her former boy bander beau.
"It's obviously really tempting to correct a false narrative," Wilde tells the magazine when asked to respond to the speculation and scrutiny the couple face. "But I think what you realize is that when you're really happy, it doesn't matter what strangers think about you. All that matters to you is what’s real, and what you love and who you love. ... In the past 10 years, as a society, we have placed so much more value on the opinion of strangers rather than the people closest to us."
Without specifically naming Styles, she made it clear that she's in a good place right now.
"I'm happier than I’ve ever been," she shared. "And I'm healthier than I've ever been, and it's just wonderful to feel that."
She also addressed the mom-shaming narrative that she had abandoned her kids by vacationing in Italy with Styles.
"Parenting forces you to be honest about how you live your life. It puts in sharp, clear focus decisions you’re making," Wilde, who shares custody with Sudeikis, said. "I think we owe it to children to be happy. They sense it. They're so intuitive. The idea that you can trick your kids into thinking you're happy is ludicrous."
She added, "You can go deep on Cold War influences on family structure, why we all think we need, you know, a two-parent household and a microwave. It's very easy to control women by using guilt and shame, and I have no time for misplaced guilt and shame. The work I've done personally in the last decade has been learning to have a voice, and taking my voice seriously."
According to the article, Styles first caught Wilde's attention, as an actor, with his small but significant role in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. He was eventually cast to play Florence Pugh's husband in Don't Worry Darling — a role once set to be played by Shia LaBeouf, with whom Wilde reportedly clashed — after his touring schedule opened up due to the pandemic. The role — which involves a scintillating sex scene with Pugh — is a supporting one that Wilde had struggled to cast.
"I cannot tell you how many men read the script and said, 'Unless it's a two-hander, unless I'm in as much — or more — of the script than she is, it's not worth it,'" she said of the reaction to playing second fiddle to Pugh's protagonist. "And it's not their fault. They've been raised with this kind of innate misogyny as a part of their society: 'If I don't take up enough space, I won't seem valuable.' Actresses — highly trained, highly valuable actresses — have appeared in supporting roles in countless films. We don't think about it in terms of, 'My role is not as big as his.' It's, 'Oh, it's a good role. It's a role where I have a brain.'"