No Role Modelz: Why we shouldn’t be idolising celebrity relationships

Gigi Hadid & Zayn Malik (left) and Will & Jada Smith (right)

Worshiping celebrity couples has become a new cultural norm in recent years, particularly since the rise of social media. However, what we fail to realise is that by blindly idolising celebrity relationships, we are romanticising not only the good, but also the bad that transpires behind closed doors.

That Will and Jada love for example – the type of 90’s love once idolised by generations, as cited by J. Cole in his 2014 hit single, “No Role Modelz". A love so influential, people still look to Will and Jada as a model for their relationships and a sign of hope that when the right match is found, romantic paradise awaits.

However, in 2020 the illusion of that Will and Jada love was dismantled, and instead arose a marital arrangement that almost satirised their status as power couple royalty.

During an episode of the infamous Red Table Talk – hosted by Jada Smith and guest husband Will, Jada publicized the affair she had with rapper August Alisna during her marriage, coining it as an “entanglement”. Jada went further, revealing that Will was aware of her relations and even gave his blessings, going so far that August even lived at Will and Jada’s house during the time of their relationship.

This explosive news sent shockwaves throughout the internet, sparking endless debate about the obsession of celebrity fabricated authenticity on the internet and questioning monogamy as a whole. The public saw cracks in the foundation of a 'model' relationship, and much of the blame was put on Jada for forcing Will to go along with her escapades, despite the years of speculations of Will’s cheating.

Most recently, while on tour promoting Will's self-titled memoir, the iconic couple once again appeared in the spotlight after a snippet from the Red Table Talk went viral in which Jada implies that her sex life with Will isn't the best, sparking up even more conversation and criticism of their relationship. Consequentially, much of this anger was again directed towards Jada.

It’s safe to say that Will and Jada must be sick of the internet mocking their marriage, as Jada responded to the criticism with some clarification.

Despite this, every week there seems to be a new conspiracy on their marriage. Recently, Will spoke to Oprah and revealed that the way happiness has worked for them is by each of them doing what makes them happy, and coming back together as content individuals to maintain a harmonious union.

We can never know what goes on behind the scenes, but what can be said is that Jada and Will should be applauded for their honesty in discussing the trials and tribulations of their marriage, albeit unfiltered. Celebrity is often synonymous with infidelity, so by honestly speaking about their open marriage, fans can connect more with the couple as they gain a realistic understanding of how the couple has maintained their 25-year marriage. Moreover, despite the media onslaught they received in an attempt to be more authentic, their redefined relationship may work towards creating a whole new model of relationships worldwide-- one that is unconventional, sometimes flawed, but most importantly, based in reality.

Another couple that has recently shocked the internet with their breakup news is Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid.

The couple didn't make their relationship public until Gigi appeared in Zayn's Pillow Talk music video in January 2016. The first time they called it quits was in March 2018, leaving fans heartbroken after they both issued a statement.

They were then spotted kissing in New York a month later, and by that October, the couple were back together, only to break up again in the following January. This time apparently for good. Long story short, they split up and got back together quite a few times between November 2015 and today.

For years, people regarded Zayn and Gigi as the ideal couple, especially since the birth of their daughter Khai, but that ideal was crushed when allegations of Zayn's abuse towards Gigi's mother Yolanda surfaced-- shattering the perfect image that many admired.

In some ways, Zayn and Gigi's relationship contributed to the cultural perception that unhealthy on-again off-again relationships are the norm. Take for example, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, who introduced the shocking and enticing notion that uncertain relationships with debatable commitment are ideal. The list could continue with Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick or Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, all of whom are known for breaking up only to rekindle their relationships months later.

This type of news does pose a serious debate around the obsession with 'relationship goals' and how it is extremely damaging, especially to the younger generations who don’t have real life experience outside of social media. As a society, fans need to be able to filter through the superficial nature of 'celebrity' and understand that the two percent of someone's life shown on Instagram is a highlight reel.

Nevertheless, as long as social media exists and we continue scrolling our way further into the highly curated showcases of people’s lives, there will be no end to the glamorisation of toxic gossip and celebrity culture.

It's past time to stop romanticising celebrity couples; there are no perfect relationships, and if there are, they are unlikely to be with celebrities. So, the next time you think of a famous couple as #RelationshipGoals, think about what goes on behind closed doors.