Jack Antonoff Once Wrote a Very Angsty Song About His Split from Scarlett Johansson
TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Two-time Oscar-nominated actress and aspiring tree Scarlett Johansson, 35, and four-time Grammy-winning musician and producer Jack Antonoff, 35.
How They Met: The unlikely couple’s ultimately unsuccessful relationship began where most ultimately unsuccessful relationships do: High school — N.Y.C.’s Professional Children’s School, to be exact. Johansson and Antonoff reportedly began dating around 2001 and attended prom together (there are photos).
Why We Loved Them: This relationship is both peak high school and the seeming figment of a celebrity Mad Libs puzzle (ACTOR met MUSICIAN at the ADJECTIVE school in YEAR IN A SCI-FI MOVIE TITLE and they VERB, PAST TENSE at the prom).
When They Peaked: OK, back to said prom ... Johansson wore a white shirtdress because even at 17 she was setting her own damn trends. A shaggy-haired Antonoff wore a retro orange suit with a ruffle-front blue shirt. They pre-gamed with what was probably champagne but we’ll pretend was iced tea or something.
The Breakup: A “prep school pal” of Antonoff’s told Page Six that the couple broke up soon after graduation because Johansson “got swept up in the Hollywood scene.” A few years after their split, Antonoff released a song (!) that pretty much confirmed prep school pal’s account. When Antonoff was the lead singer for Steel Train, he penned “Better Love,” which contains some objectively unambiguous lyrics like “Scars are in her name / And she scars me with blame / Hey Scarlett, you're not the same” and “This girl, she had it kinda sweet / 'Till fame swept her off her feet / She see's nothing she did before / Lets her colors hit the floor.” Oh, and remember how Johansson starred in Girl with a Pearl Earring in 2003? “I watch the camera shoot this girl / Seems to me a hollow pearl.” OK.
The band’s bassist, Matt Goldman, said that Antonoff did sort of regret the decision to so explicitly name his ex in the song. "Jack sometimes wishes he hadn't named her because everyone asks about that. It's the first question they ask. And that's not what we are about."
Where They Are Now: Despite any scars of blame Antonoff may bear, he’s done OK in the more than a decade since his split from Johansson. He went on to become the guitarist and drummer for fun. and went solo with Bleachers in 2014. He’s produced and co-written singles and albums with some of music’s biggest artists, including Taylor Swift, Lorde, and St. Vincent.
Antonoff dated Lena Dunham between 2012 and 2018. He was most recently linked to model Carlotta Kohl.
Johansson is doing OK, too. This year, she’s nominated for two Oscars for two separate films, Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit. Next up, Johansson will star in Marvel’s long-awaited Black Widow film.
The actress was previously married to actor Ryan Reynolds, and then French journalist Romain Dauriac (with whom she shares 6-year-old daughter Rose). Johansson is currently engaged to Saturday Night Live "Weekend Update" co-host and co-head writer Colin Jost.