I Will Never Understand Chris Evans and Jenny Slate's Perfect Relationship
Their split didn't just break my heart — it also broke my brain.
The year was 2015, and I thought I finally had a handle on the Hollywood Chrises. Pratt was the born-again one from Parks & Rec; Hemsworth was the absurdly hot Australian one from Thor, and Evans and Pine were ... forgettable — middle of the road, interchangeable hunky bros from action movies I’d maybe watch if I got really desperate on an airplane. Because I have eyes and ears, I was ride-or-die Team Hemsworth. Case closed.
But then Jenny Slate swooped in.
The saga began in October on the set of the movie Gifted (which approximately seven people have seen despite its solid score on Rotten Tomatoes). Evans and Slate were beginning to regularly hang out — chaperoned by costar Octavia Spencer — during weekly cast game nights in Savannah, Georgia. Flirty Twitter banter ensued, although at the time Slate was married to Dean Fleischer-Camp, her Marcel the Shell with Shoes On co-creator. By April 2016, Evans and Slate appeared together on Anna Faris’ “Unqualified” podcast, where their chemistry was electric and Evans said things like, “I’ve only known Jenny for a few months, which is insane to say because we’re like the same animal.” Shortly thereafter, Slate promptly split from her husband, making her first public appearance with Evans as a couple at the Secret Life of Pets premiere (speaking of animals) in June 2016.
That entire journey was enough to truly throw everything I thought I knew about the world out of whack. If Jenny Slate, queen of quirky stop motion and my entry point into the A24 canon, could call squeaky clean baseball hat-wearing Captain America her “dream 7th grade boyfriend,” “beautiful inside and out,” what does that mean for bros everywhere? Was I wrong in writing off my potential compatibility with beer-guzzling sports superfans? Or was Evans just a mystical creature, an anomaly in the bro/nerd dichotomy?
I didn’t have too much time to think about it because by February 2017, Evans and Slate had called it quits. You’d think that would be the end of that, an opposites-attract flash in the pan. But then the interviews started coming out as the pair had to finally promote that fateful movie they made. Slate called Evans “truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, to the point where sometimes I would look at him and it would kind of break my heart,” and Evans threw it right back, saying things like “I am endlessly grateful for having met her. She will be in my life always … We were both rooting for this. She’s an incredible human being, a very, very special person. We’re all lucky she’s so driven, she’s going to make some amazing art in her life.”
Wow. As our collective hearts (or maybe it was just mine) swelled, the plot thickened. In November 2017, Slate and Evans were both in Atlanta shooting their respective superhero movies (the fact that Jenny is technically part of the Marvel universe still blows my mind) when Chris tweeted the infamous Dodger (the dog) video. In it, you can faintly hear a very familiar lady laughing in the background. I watched said video on loop, feeling the kind of blind hope I thought I had left in my teens. To my delight and relief, it was confirmed that they got back together just in time for the holidays.
But by March, they were off again for good, confirmed in a New York Times profile of Evans in which he mentioned learning he needs to “listen more and speak less” from reading Rebecca Solnit while still with Slate. (Attention all men: please file this under “how to talk about your exes.”)
Fast forward to today. Jenny is thriving career-wise and is also engaged to Ben Shattuck, an artist guy with a bunch of awards and residencies. In my heart of hearts, I know this is probably an “all is right in the jungle” situation for our favorite little weirdo, but I’m not sure I’ll ever shake the feeling that Evans is her true mismatch match. Either way, it was official: I had spent two years of my life invested in a Hollywood Chris I had previously written off as just another white guy. The scars on my heart may heal, but my brain has been permanently rewired.
Luckily, our man Captain America has been on a multi-year campaign to show the world his true colors post-breakup — he’s been busy as hell posting endless content of his perfect dog, convincing us all to buy deadstock Irish wool sweaters, professing his love for Stanley Tucci, oh and also doing press for his startup, which is focused on creating a more informed American electorate. So like, Thor who?
Breakups That Broke Us is a weekly column about the failed celebrity relationships that convinced us love is dead.