Let’s get this out there first. I don’t care about Gwen Stefani or Blake Shelton. You don’t either. I feel like no one genuinely does. And yet, here we are.
Because something. Is. Happening.
Once upon a time, Gwen Stefani was our queen of ska punk, all multicolored hair and not giving a fuck about having braces, married to alt-rock’s prettiest man and king of the Fear soundtrack. Blake Shelton was a person, too. Then they got together and all of the sudden they’re everywhere. But they’re not a natural, organic everywhere, or as natural or organic as any Hollywood coupling can be. We’re not getting distant pap shots or wedding bell rumors. We’re getting…something else entirely.
I don’t know how to describe what we’re seeing here other than to explain it this way: I’ve not seen a union so orchestrated, obvious or specifically designed for public consumption since Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. And if you don’t know who they are, imagine two dildos just being slapped against each other while someone offscreen chews loudly for two years straight and there you go.
We’ve been privy to every moment of their courtship and relationship so far. Literally. As in, here’s a timeline, complete with quotes from the couple about nearly every moment. And then here’s another one, too. Nearly all of their more intimate, less public appearances captured within this gallery occurred at events related specifically to The Voice, including weddings and bridal showers of former Voice contestants.
If your eyes aren’t squinting just a bit yet in cynical “hmm”-ery, then what are you even still doing here? Go away. I don’t care that you don’t care.
In the past week alone, we’ve gotten a rejected marriage proposal (she wanted it to be right for her kids), a music video inspired by Shelton, and this very high-res and not at all obscured photo opp of Gwen backstage at a Shelton gig. That’s the stuff they put out themselves. But then there was also this article from The Cut’s Allie Jones, who discovered several seemingly unrelated Instagram celebrities posting nearly identical photos and captions of Stefani and Shelton’s I Heart Radio performance.
So, as I see it, we have three options:
1) Pure coincidence
2) A romantic relationship created in the NBC marketing department and being cross-promoted like crazy
3) An actual loving relationship that also happens to be capitalizing on whatever attention the parties can get out of it
Number one is a naive and silly choice. Go color. Number two isn’t unheard of at all. Number three is the likeliest. It’s very common, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it done quite so obviously. It’s like someone let the 16-year-old intern who just discovered old Days of Our Lives episodes steer this ship.
And mostly, it just seems weirdly not-Gwen.
When Vanity Fair asked her about her relationship, she erred on the side of art.
L.R.: You’re in love now?
G.S.: Yeah, for sure. I don’t really want to go into that relationship, and God knows what’s going to happen. But I feel like I’m in an amazing songwriting place; instead of being closed off, I’m thinking about positivity and how I can do something creative. I’m just doing what I want to do. It’s so incredible to be in that zone. I’m always looking for the next song, and now I don’t have to be insecure or write about heartache.
Now that is how most celebrities handle this sort of thing. They say they don’t want to talk about it, and then photos just magically appear, either through creepy paparazzi stalking or a few surreptitious phone calls. But this…this is weird. This is…salesy. This is marketing. It’s like the red and yellow M&M are fucking and we’re only finding out about it from Mars Candy’s PR department.
So, what’s the deal? Do we let the couple make that money and get that attention, accepting it as Hollywood? Or are we totally weird with it? Because it’s WEIRD.