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The mystery of Kiernan Shipka, John Mayer, and B.J. Novak
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Hello and welcome to Gossip Time, a weekly guide to the stars by Allie Jones. This week: John Mayer takes a child star to Giorgio Baldi, Chris Evans invents a new girlfriend, and Jennifer Lopez shops on Etsy.
The time has come. We must talk about Kiernan Shipka, 23, and her apparently long standing friendships with John Mayer, 45, and B.J. Novak, 43. Every six months or so, the tabloids claim Shipka is dating one of these two men, and this week, Mr. Mayer got the honors. The musician and former Mad Men child star were photographed going to dinner together at Giorgio Baldi — the least private restaurant in L.A. — on Sunday.
According to eyewitnesses (the paparazzi who hang outside the restaurant all night every night), Mayer and Shipka spent four hours in the restaurant and “seemed very much into each other.” Mayer even sang to her at one point (perhaps the price of admission when dining with him). The two drove off in separate cars, but the paparazzi caught Shipka jumping back into Mayer’s car a few blocks away, and Mayer then dropped her off at home.
Suspicious? Sure. But consider that just two months ago, Shipka had basically the same date with Novak. In September, the two were photographed leaving Mother Wolf in L.A. together, and the tabloids speculated then that they were dating.
And then back in February, Shipka was photographed hugging Mayer goodbye at the Tower Bar, and the tabloids decided she was dating him.
What is going on here? Well, Shipka and Novak have been friends since she was a teenager. She first wished him a happy birthday on Twitter in 2014, when she was 14:
Regardless of how you feel about that, it is true, and the two have been spotted getting dinners together in New York and L.A. every few months for the past few years. The Mayer thing is newer — Shipka was first linked to him in 2021, when she was spotted leaving one of his listening parties — but it makes sense given that Mayer and Novak are themselves longtime friends.
It is of course possible that Shipka is dating two BFFs in their 40s for sport. But based on Instagram, it seems like she is actually with Christian Coppola, a 29-year-old filmmaker who is distantly related to the Coppolas you’ve heard of. The two have been showing up to events together since 2019, and it looks like they spent Shipka’s birthday together this week, since she tagged him in her celebratory post on Instagram.
Mayer, meanwhile, hasn’t been in a public relationship since he broke up with Katy Perry in 2014, and Novak still takes Mindy Kaling as his date to everything. I think when one of them wants to go public with a twenty-something, we will know.
One star who definitely has a new girlfriend is People’s Sexiest Man Alive Chris Evans. Her name is Alba Baptista, and she’s getting the tabloid rollout of a lifetime this week. First, People published the exclusive news about their relationship (which was not directly sourced from Evans but surely approved by his team), and then Page Six published the exclusive first photos of the lovebirds holding hands in Central Park. According to People, Evans and Baptista have been dating for over a year, and it’s “serious.”
“They are in love and Chris has never been happier,” a source told the tabloid. “His family and friends all adore her.”
Who is this woman, and why is she giving me Meghan Markle vibes? Well, according to People, she is 25, which could be true or could be the age she picked when filling out a survey from the tabloid’s editors. She’s also an actress originally from Portugal, and she currently stars on the Netflix series Warrior Nun. People reports that in addition to acting, Baptista has done “an extensive amount of humanitarian work at an orphanage in Cambodia focusing on education.”
With this kind of a rollout, my guess is that Evans, 41, is getting ready to propose and wants the tabloids on board for the journey. In his official People interview for the Sexiest Man Alive package, he said he is ready to settle down. “That's absolutely something I want: wife, kids, building a family,” he declared. Best wishes to Baptista on her new life!
STUFF BY HILARY DUFF: Hilary Duff is having a bad week, and we stand by her 100 percent.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this photo of Mrs. Jennifer Lynn Affleck wearing a “Jennifer & Ben” nameplate necklace:
I think Ben should have to wear one, too.
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