With summer winding down and cold weather slowly approaching, relationships are also inevitably in a period of transition — in Hollywood and IRL. It’s time to say goodbye to summer flings and hello to settling down for cuffing season — not only for us, but also for our favorite celebrity couples. And that begs the question: which celebrity couples of summer 2021 will survive cuffing season?
Love was in the air this summer for celeb couples, both old and new. We saw stars get with everyone from their exes to their co-stars. But cuffing season means it’s time to get serious — like, “necklace of your lover’s blood” serious (hi, MGK) — and I don’t know if all of these couples are up to the task. Frankly, there can only be one winner in my mind for fall 2021’s best couple, but which celeb summer flings are poised to take the crown? Think of this as the most romantic March Madness-style bracket you’ve ever seen — it’s time to place your bets.
- Megan fox & Machine Gun Kelly
These two ushered in the era of “Bad Boy Summer” along with their frequent celeb couple pals Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker (more on those two later). After meeting in March 2020 on the set of Midnight In The Switchgrass, Megan and MGK have one of the most… intense relationships I’ve ever seen, which bodes well for something long-lasting. Megan even revealed earlier this year that she made a pro-con list before deciding to date MGK, putting their relationship to the test before it even began. He seems like a keeper — if your SO isn’t willing to wear your blood in a necklace, do they even love you? If nothing else, I hope they make it to at least October, just to see what kind of spooky couple’s Halloween costume they would rock.
- Zendaya & Tom Holland
You knew this one was coming. They gain points for history: romance rumors have been swirling around Zendaya and Tom since they first co-starred in Spider-Man: Homecoming way back in 2016 (they even jokingly denied them on Twitter in 2017). Bonus points for PDA: they were spotted making out in Tom’s car in July, effectively breaking the internet. However, cynics might call this one a publicity stunt, since the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home dropped just over a month later on August 23. See: Tom Holland’s Spidey-themed birthday Instagram post for Zendaya. They look victorious right now, but what if love only exists in the movies (or the movie promo cycles)?
- Zoe Kravitz & Channing Tatum
Zo-Chan are making a case for the himbo boyfriend, and you know what? Good for them. According to NYLON, they first started working together when Zoe reportedly created a role specifically for Channing in her directorial debut, Pussy Island. Since then, they’ve been spotted biking through Brooklyn and generally looking very happy together. If Channing following multiple Zoe Kravitz fan accounts on Instagram is any indication, this romance is definitely still in the honeymoon phase — maybe not the safest choice for winner, but a possible Cinderella story.
- Kourtney Kardashian & Travis Barker
Welcome to “Bad Boy Summer,” the remix. Kourtney and blink-182 drummer Travis have sparked dating rumors as early as 2018, but only confirmed their relationship this year. Listen, we all have our feelings about the Kardashian family, most of them complicated. It’s also well-documented that they don’t have the best track record with long-lasting relationships (remember Kim’s first wedding?) — though Kourtney may be the outlier here. That may deter you from placing your bets on this couple, but I’m rooting for them despite myself. Their August flight to Cabo, where Travis got on a plane with Kourtney after not flying for 13 years because of PTSD from a 2008 plane crash, is heartwarming. Even the biggest Kardashian haters can be swayed by that.
- Olivia Rodrigo & Adam Faze
Olivia might be best known for cataloguing her breakup with Joshua Bassett on debut album SOUR, but now she’s got eyes for a new man: 24-year-old producer Adam Faze, with whom she confirmed her relationship at the Space Jam 2 premiere in July. Despite some PDA, however, they seem to be keeping things mostly private. Olivia deserves to be happy after the heartbreak that inspired her first album, so even if I had no idea who Adam Faze was before, I hope he sticks around — though sad music-lovers might wish for the opposite.
- Jennifer Lopez & Ben Affleck
How could I not include Bennifer? They practically invented the ship name portmanteau, and the Bennifer renaissance of 2021 has been even more newsworthy than their original 2002 engagement. People have been loving Bennifer, both for the nostalgia factor and for the affirmation that, sometimes, getting back with your ex is a good thing. Bennifer might be holding the #1 seed in this competition right now, but I’m kind of indifferent. This is definitely a Millennial’s pick for the winner, but Gen Z could probably take it or leave it.
- Olivia Wilde & Harry Styles
Sorry to all the One Direction fans still holding on to Harry as their celebrity crush. He and Olivia were first connected in September 2020 when Harry was cast in Olivia’s movie Don’t Worry, Darling. They kept things pretty low-key… at least, until the boat. I need to talk about the boat. Page Six released images in July of them kissing on a yacht in Italy, officially adding them to the puzzling hall of fame of celebrity boat date culture (see also: Timothée Chalamet and Lily-Rose Depp, Kendall Jenner and Devin Booker). Yacht makeouts are a little harder to pull off in the fall and winter, which may cool down this relationship, but hey — maybe they’ll pivot to ski lodge dates, or something. Maybe you want them to win so your first love Harry can be happy. Or maybe not, solely to bring justice to all that Y/N and Harry fanfiction you wrote when you were 12 (is this the right time to make an “I will go down with this ship” joke?).
- Addison Rae & Omer Fedi
Because the celebrity dating pool is apparently tiny, I bring to you another member of Megan and Kourtney’s friend group: Addison Rae. Just in case you don’t know who that is, according to Cosmopolitan, he’s the producer behind TikTok’s current favorite The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber song “Stay” — and a friend of Machine Gun Kelly’s (again, the dating pool is tiny). Omer and Addison seemed to have been participating in TikTok’s recent “relationship soft launch” trend, only posting vague videos of them cuddling without clearing up the rumors. But after Addison’s attempt at acting in He’s All That, Omer posted a congratulatory story calling her his “baby” and referring to them as a “couple.” They could come out on top, but next to the combined star power of some of the other couples on this, they’re not my personal pick.
So there you have it — the eight current contenders for fall’s favorite couple. With some summer’s best couples calling it quits (a moment of silence for Pete and Phoebe), it might not all be butterflies and rainbows. So choose your fighters, and may the best couple(s) win.