When you’re dating one of the most adored male music stars on the planet – who also happens to be 10 years younger than you – it’s inevitable that people will have opinions about it.
But Olivia Wilde has just summed things up perfectly in an interview with Vogue, saying: “It’s obviously really tempting to correct a false narrative.
But I think what you realise 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.”
Actress and filmmaker Wilde, 37, and Watermelon Sugar singer Styles, 27, have been low-key about whether or not they’re an item – but the pair have been photographed together throughout the year.
Of course, one of the major downsides of fame is having to put up with anyone and everyone scrutinising your life – and love – choices.
But, it’s something that can creep in for all of us, to some degree or other. For so long, society has had a very set and narrow model for the relationship patterns we ‘should’ follow, and worrying what other people think can be all too real.
Wilde’s simple take on the matter might be exactly what we need to hear. The mother-of-two (Wilde has a son and daughter with ex-partner, Jason Sudeikis) also said she is the “happiest she has ever been”, adding, “I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, and it’s just wonderful to feel that.”
Tina Wilson, relationship expert and founder of Wingman, wholeheartedly agrees: “I think Olivia has nailed it. Nobody has the right to judge anybody else’s relationship, and Olivia is 100% right.”
Putting our own happiness first can be a learning curve for many of us, especially if our life path doesn’t follow the patterns we think are ‘expected’ of us.
Wilson says this is where “the advantage of experience” can really come into its own – it’s OK if there are twists and turns and each relationship and break-up can teach us more about what we truly want.
“Olivia is using her experience of relationships to know that her happiness comes way, way above anybody else’s opinion of her,” Wilson adds.
She also notes that when it comes to people having opinions about age-gaps, we tend to have a lot more to say when it’s the woman who is older – and “that’s something that we as society need to think about”.
It can be hard to ignore negative reactions – we’re not robots. But Wilson is a firm believer, like Wilde, that happiness trumps it all.
“People are very quick to judge and jump on social media these days – and that’s a big problem we have. It’s not just the opinions of friends and family, but Olivia and Harry, because they’re in the public eye, they have to deal with the opinions of the press and random people on social media that think they have the right to judge them.
“They both have the experience of knowing that social media absolutely means nothing though. People just need to look at themselves, as to why we feel the need to judge others.”
After all, the energy we put out into the world reflects back into ourselves. If we learn to judge others less, could that mean we start being kinder with ourselves too?
“Absolutely, ” says Wilson. “When we judge others less, it means you don’t feel the need to judge yourself too. But Olivia literally doesn’t care, she knows she’s happy and that’s what matters.
“You have to talk yourself off that ledge sometimes,” Wilson adds. “When you feel like, ‘Oh, other people might think badly of me because of who I’m dating’. You have to do what makes you happy.”