Group 4

The rise of the clickbait couple

Kylie and Timothée are the 5 minute craft-ification of relationships


Celebrity relationships, and the commentary they inspire, are a TikTok mainstay — from conspiracies surrounding Phoebe Bridgers and Paul Mescal’s breakup to videos trolling Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz’s awkward on-screen interactions. Amidst all the coverage, a new type of relationship has surfaced, one that is, in fact, optimised for the the content it inspires — the clickbait couple.

The clickbait couple is a couple that makes no sense — even though both participants are likely famous, you can’t imagine them speaking to each other at a red carpet event (their vibes are so categorically different that the event planning team wouldn’t have dared seat them next to one another). The pairing is so odd that as soon as you encounter murmurings of it on your FYP or on DeuxMoi, you screenshot the news and send it to your best friend. We saw early iterations of the clickbait couple in the Holy Trinity of 2022 celebrity social media — Travis Scott and Kourtney Kardashian, Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox, and Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian. Each duo felt wrong in their own way — Travis too punk for Kourtney’s Poosh, MGK too teenage boy for Megan’s cult status, and Pete too dirtball for Kim’s Calabasas and curation. 

But all of these couples seem pretty chill, conventional even, when compared to reported romance between business-glamazon Kylie Jenner and awkward-indie-icon Timothée Chalamet. Widespread confusion ensued as soon as rumours of the relationship hit phone screens — TikTokkers questioned what the two had to talk about and tweets pointed out that even their physiques are radically different (implying that while Kylie is curvy, Timothée is built like a chicken claw).

Whilst the legitimacy of Kylie and Timothée’s relationship is still unconfirmed, the precedent is set and the appetite is there for celebrity couples that feel randomly generated and too weird to be true. This is true across the entire contentscape — from the 5 minute craft-ification of luxury labels to brands prioritising random vibes. It’s the “cloutbombing” of the Marc Jacobs Heavn couch mixed with the out-of-context intrigue of the iykyk model, all applied to a classically clickable territory — celeb coupledom.