Aubrey Plaza and Michael Cera's Romance Gave Brief Hope to Weirdos Everywhere
I was ten years late to discovering that two of my favorite people, Aubrey Plaza and Michael Cera, once dated for almost two years — long enough to consider a spontaneous wedding in Vegas.
The discovery of their relationship took me on an emotional rollercoaster. I went from pure excitement at the idea of them being together to devastation realizing that they hadn't worked out (and were both now happily married to other people). I basically cycled through the five stages of grief in the span of 20 minutes. Their relationship had instantly made so much sense to me, and then was just as quickly ripped away. Most of all, I was shocked that it had taken me so long to learn of this perfect pairing that no one ever seemed to discuss.
I've been obsessed with Aubrey Plaza for years. My introduction to her, the love of my life, was in 2009 when she played the hilariously rude but secretly warm-hearted April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation. (To be completely transparent here, I loved Aubrey so much that in college I even named my car after her … no further comment.) Similarly, I've loved Michael Cera since the Arrested Development years in the early 2000s, when he played the loving-yet-quirky George Michael Bluth who was, let's not forget, completely in love with his cousin.
Despite my obsessions, I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't watch 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World until 2021. The graphic novel-based film had never caught my attention due to my misunderstanding that it was an action movie, when in actuality it was the perfect mix of action and rom-com. Eventually, thanks to a trending TikTok sound and my overwhelming pandemic boredom, I finally gave in — and thank god that I did. I soon recognized the film for what it truly was, a one-of-a-kind cult classic with an iconic cast (hello Brie Larson, Michael Cera, Aubrey Plaza, and Chris Evans).
The premise of the film, put simply, was that Scott Pilgrim (then-22-year-old Cera) was forced to fight "an army of ex-boyfriends'" who wanted to destroy him and his chances of dating his crush, Ramona Flowers. Plaza, then 26, played Pilgrim's older sister's best friend, who was not above firing a quick-witted dig at him. Essentially, she spent the entirety of the film playing a younger version of her soon-to-be-famous character, April Ludgate — and Michael Cera did what he did best: He played the quirky and awkward yet extremely lovable main character. After my first time viewing Scott Pilgrim, I quickly added it to my list of favorite Plaza and Cera performances. As an anxious girl who likes researching every single piece of content that she consumes, I immediately spiraled into a Scott Pilgrim deep dive. It was then I discovered the mind-blowing realization that Cera and Plaza had dated in real life. I immediately began pestering my roommates, desperately asking if they had known of this relationship, as if their awareness would have been a personal betrayal (thankfully, they did not).
When Plaza divulged the truth about her and Cera's relationship while chatting with RuPaul on his podcast, What's The Tee with Michelle Visage in 2016, it had been six whole years since Scott Pilgrim had been released to the world. She shared that they had dated for a year and a half, and that Cera was "just a weird little freak, and we speak the same language." Their relationship instantly proved to me that all weirdos (myself included) can find love — someone who matches your energy and speaks your language. Haters will say it wasn't real, but Plaza admitted that following Scott Pilgrim, the pair took a cross-country road trip together and almost got married in Vegas — because why not.
While going through the final stage of my grief, acceptance, I realized that in the end, maybe it all worked out. Cera has continued to keep his relationships away from the spotlight and eventually married his long-time girlfriend, known to the public by her first name only, Nadine, in 2018. Similarly, Plaza stuck to her M.O. and kept her relationship with screenwriter and director Jeff Baena under wraps until 2021, when she posted a photo on Instagram of him and simply said "so proud of my darling husband @jeffbaena" ... casual. Imagine my devastation when I found out that the love of my life, the source of my bisexual awakening, the one, and only Aubrey Plaza, was off the market … heartbreaking.
Although Cera and Plaza had obviously split, moved on, and found love elsewhere, Plaza admitted to RuPaul that they still "love each other, and we're still really good friends." So in the end, not only is there hope that we can all find love — but there is also hope that friendships with exes are possible. Maybe, when you find another weirdo who matches your energy, it's worth finding a way to hold onto it, even in a purely platonic way.
And Aubrey, if things don't work out … call me.
Breakups That Broke Us is a weekly column about the failed celebrity relationships that convinced us love is dead.