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Harry Styles Opened Up About the Toxic Fan Reaction to His Relationship With Olivia Wilde

Harry Styles performing

Harry Styles is a name you could say around family who are not Online and they’d still probably know who you’re talking about. He’s the kind of artist who my mother calls to talk about how she loves his new hit single (I think her favorite is still “Watermelon Sugar,” though), and he’s someone who has a huge fanbase for a reason. From his introduction to many of us back when he was on the X Factor (and put into the boy band that would become known as One Direction) all the way up to now, when he’s starring in movies and part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while still putting out new album, he’s become an icon in his own way.

Recently, he took over the cover of Rolling Stone to share some insight into his music and his upcoming movies Don’t Worry Darling and My Policeman, and also gave us a bit of a look into how his relationship works with being one of the biggest stars in the world, Olivia Wilde. Throughout the profile, he talks about his need for privacy, going to therapy, and realizing that he can still be vulnerable and open with his fans while also keeping some of his life to himself, and a big part of that comes from him talking (however briefly) about his relationship with the actress, writer, and director.

It starts with Styles opening up about his personal life in general and how social media has become something that he uses sparingly. But what was pretty surprising to me, as someone who has been a part of the Styles “fandom” since around 2010, was that he seemed to not hold any ill will towards those who are quite vicious online about who he dates and his choices. Instead, he continued to say it was a corner of the internet and a small fraction of his fanbase that held these loud voices.

“Can you imagine,” he said about those fans on social media that he’s referring to, “going on a second date with someone and being like, ‘OK, there’s this corner of the thing, and they’re going to say this, and it’s going to be really crazy, and they’re going to be really mean, and it’s not real.… But anyway, what do you want to eat?’” He’s referring to, of course, how loud it can sound when the internet is “against” you and the need to separate yourself from it and remember that it’s not real life.

Wilde and Styles’ relationship

One of the biggest topics of conversation around Harry Styles currently is about his relationship with Olivia Wilde. I wouldn’t say it is necessarily fans doing it but more that they’re both high profile creatives in their respective fields, so it lends their relationship to the gossip circles. Multiply that by the fans who do hate her on the principle that she’s with Harry Styles and it exacerbates the entire thing on social media platforms.

For Harry Styles though, he talks a lot about how the “corner of Twitter” that attacks people close to him is something that he never wanted out of this. He goes on to say “It’s obviously a difficult feeling to feel like being close to me means you’re at the ransom of a corner of Twitter or something. I just wanted to sing. I didn’t want to get into it if I was going to hurt people like that.”

Widle herself had something to say in the profile, calling his fans “deeply loving people” and talking briefly about those who wish her ill: “What I don’t understand about the cruelty you’re referencing is that that kind of toxic negativity is the antithesis of Harry, and everything he puts out there. I don’t personally believe the hateful energy defines his fan base at all. The majority of them are true champions of kindness.”

So why does it matter?

I think Harry Styles really showed what fame can do to someone and how lonely it can feel by pointing out that he doesn’t want people close to him getting hurt because of people online and their opinions. Quite frankly, we don’t know much about their relationship, and with this profile, that seems to be by design because it is not our business, and the two of them carving out privacy for themselves when they’re both names that are easily recognizable is well within their rights.

So yes, it might just be a small corner of social media but it shouldn’t be a thing in general. Styles seems to have his own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around him at heart, and that’s, to me, what makes him so special, and I hope that we continue to see him happy and thriving and doing what he needs to to take care of himself and his relationships.

(featured image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.