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One could argue they’d been building up to this moment for months.
There was the L.A. gelato date where they walked hand-in-hand alongside the eldest of his two daughters in early April. The casual stroll through New York City’s Central Park in late March following another round of whispers about a breakup. Even a shared kiss aboard a yacht last December before they rang in the new year in Miami.
But when Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx turned up at Monday night’s Met Gala together—Hollywood’s closest facsimile to prom night, if only the popular kids attended and iPhone selfies were replaced by hundreds of professional photographers—well, there was no denying their intention.
Even before the previously meticulously private pair posed up for a photo inside, Foxx looping one arm around Holmes’ violet tulle Zac Posen, their decision to turn up in a shared town car and even shimmy together to Rihanna as Posen captured every move for his Instagram story was akin to shouting, “Yes, guys, of course we’re dating.”
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Because the Oscar winning star, 51, and the Ohio-bred actress-producer, 40, have found love and they aren’t feeling all that hopeless about it—even if they spent the whole first stage of their relationship doing everything they could to deny what was taking place between them.
In the years since they were spotted dancing together at a charity event in the Hamptons in August 2013, arms slung casually around each other, the actors take on their pairing has transitioned from Foxx’s “100 percent not true” and “quite hilarious” assertion to the old stand by “just friends” to an unidentified pal insisting they were “not about to run off and make some serious commitment”.
This, as they went from going full-on cloak-and-dagger for any date nights they enjoyed outside of Foxx’s sprawling California manse to allowing themselves to be photographed on a largely empty stretch of beach in Malibu during Labor Day weekend 2017. (While an argument could be made they were simply surprised by paparazzi, years of deftly avoiding said cameras would suggest they know exactly how not to be caught.)
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But even after the pair had settled into an easy companionship, being upfront, at least with pals as to where they stood, (“He could often be overheard talking flirtatiously to someone on the phone and excited to wrap up work and go home,” an insider told Us Weekly, “it’s been obvious that he’s had someone special in his life for a long time,”) they weren’t eager to invite other spectators to gawk at their growing romance.
“Katie and Jamie care about each other a lot and they tried to stay as quiet as possible because they didn’t want to ruin that,” a Holmes confidante told Us Weekly last year. “They knew the second they stepped out together, it would open the gates for criticism.”
Plus, as two in-demand multi-hyphenates, their lifestyles didn’t really allow for a 24-7 experience. Since divorcing Cruise, Holmes has thrown herself back into her acting career, pausing between roles to take on directing and producing gigs, enjoy a stint as the face of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and even put out a now-shuttered fashion line. Foxx, in turn, balances music projects with film opportunities, the Robin Hood star currently juggling six movies in various states of production.
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Though she ultimately decided to head home, Foxx assured her he’d be checking in later, a vow he followed through on. “He left a voicemail and said, ‘Did you come out here to be somebody’s girlfriend? No! Did you come out here to be somebody’s wife? No! Did you come out here just to date this guy? No! Did you come out here to be an actress? Yes!,'” she shared. “‘Don’t you ever, let me see you cry about some guy like that ever again! Don’t you ever let some other guy make you feel like that ever again!'”
So far be it for him to allow his girlfriend to feel less than.
Once they broke through their self-imposed privacy cocoon with the Labor Day 2017 photos (before that pictures of them together were limited to a 2006 shot of them flanking Cruise on the sidelines of a football game and a grainy 2015 pic of them holding hands in a recording studio, there was no reason for her not to turn up at his 50th birthday party, Hollywood’s Paramount lot done up to look like a LIV on Sundays bash at Foxx’s preferred Miami nightclub. (Albeit she still attempted to hide her face as she left dinner at The Highlight Room with her guy en route to the main event.)
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And why shouldn’t they let down their guard and get a little cozy at Clive Davis’ 2018 Pre-Grammy Gala? Designating the annual fete as their “quiet debut” meant bravely sitting side-by-side at the same table, but skipping the joint red carpet appearance and having Holmes conveniently duck out of the room as the legendary record producer took to the mic to call out their date night.
So, you know, baby steps.
“They are still going to keep their relationship on the low,” a source noted at the time, “but you may see more random outings with them going forward.”
Still, old habits die hard. A frustrated Foxx abruptly ended an ESPN interview when quizzed about his connection to Holmes last year, because being seen together is not the same as offering up glowing soundbites or making things Instagram official.
And as recently as December, when the pair toasted her 40th birthday over mugs of Frrrozen Hot Chocolate at New York’s Serendipity 3, they took pains to avoid a two-shot, with the actress exiting their shared car just ahead of Foxx.
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“They aren’t a couple who is going to stroll down the street holding hands,” insisted a source. Save for the handful of times they have been that exact couple, they’d rather not offer up such concrete proof of their pairing. “They just want to stay off the radar and keep it to themselves,” continued the source. “They have a routine that works well.”
They’re just not going to go out of their way to keep the public guessing. With a multitude of pictures now out in the ether, Hollywood’s worst-kept secret has been revealed and, frankly, it’s just not worth the effort to keep pretending, says the original insider.
“It’s been a weight off of their backs,” explains the insider, “and they are really enjoying just living their lives and not worrying so much about word getting out that they are a couple.”
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