Florence Pugh Defends Her Relationship with Zach Braff: I Can 'Go Out with Anyone I Want To'

"People have no right to educate me on my private life," the actress told Elle UK

Florence Pugh
Photo: ELLE UK/Liz Collins

Florence Pugh has had enough of people's "hate and opinions" surrounding her relationship with Zach Braff.

While sitting down with Elle UK for the publication's June issue (available May 7), the Little Women star, 24, addressed the constant criticism she and her boyfriend have received over their relationship and age difference.

"I have the right to hang out and be with and go out with anyone I want to," she told the outlet. "I’ve always found this part of what people do really bizarre. I’m an actor because I like acting and I don’t mind people watching my stuff, but people have no right to educate me on my private life."

Florence Pugh
ELLE UK/Liz Collins

"I know that part of being in the spotlight is that people might invade your privacy and have opinions on it, but it’s bizarre that normal folk are allowed to display such hate and opinions on a part of my life that I’m not putting out there," Pugh continued.

"It’s a strange side of fame that you’re allowed to be torn apart by thousands of people even though you didn’t put that piece of you out there. My point to all this is that isn’t it odd that a stranger can totally tear apart someone’s relationship and it’s allowed?"

Zach Braff
Florence Pugh and Zach Braff. Splash News online

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Braff, 45, and Pugh have kept their relationship low-key and out of the public spotlight ever since they seemingly became close friends in 2018. However, the actress made them Instagram official last month when she wished the Scrubs actor a happy birthday, calling him a “special person.”

Just a few days later she publicly addressed the criticism over their 21-year age gap in a video on Instagram, slamming her followers for "bullying" her boyfriend.

“On Monday, I posted a photo in honor of Zach’s birthday and I wrote a birthday message underneath. Within about eight minutes of the photo being posted, I had about 70 percent of the comments hurling abuse and being horrid — basically bullying someone on my page,” Pugh said. “It is the first time in my entire Instagram life that I’ve had to turn off the comments on my page. I’ve never been an Instagram page that encourages that. I’ve never been an Instagram page that likes that toxic vibe."

Pugh continued, telling her fans that she aims to have a page "that tries to be positive and tries to make people smile.”

“I will not allow that behavior on my page. I’m not about that. It makes me upset.”

“It makes me upset that during this time when we need to be together, the world is aching and the world is dying, and a few of you decided to bully for no reason,” Pugh said seemingly in reference to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Pugh then turned more stern, telling her followers that it was not their place to tell her who she can and cannot love, and told them to hit the unfollow button if it really bothers them that much.

Florence Pugh
ELLE UK/Liz Collins

“The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you are throwing at me, and I don’t want those followers," Pugh said. "I do not want to have to be protecting my comments every time I post a picture of him. I really hope that I can continue this relationship with a lot of you."

Pugh and Braff are currently social distancing together amid the global health crisis. In March, they were photographed stocking up on groceries, arriving at the store on the back of Braff’s motorcycle.

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