All the Sweet Things Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky Said About Each Other
Throughout their 14-month-long courtship, Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky — whose split was confirmed by PEOPLE on Wednesday — went to great lengths to keep their relationship under wraps, dodging each other on red carpets and staying mum about their love in the press.
But in August, Lawrence, 26, gave insight into their romance, telling Vogue she was immediately drawn to Aronofsky. “We had energy,” the Oscar winner said of meeting the director on the set of their film mother!. “I had energy for him. I don’t know how he felt about me.”
Praising him as “brilliant,” Lawrence said Aronofsky’s ability to be direct both on and off screen was a benefit. “I’ve been in relationships before where I am just confused,” she said. “And I’m never confused with him.”
They began dating in September 2016 shortly after wrapping mother! — and their relationship continued to blossom despite their 22-year age difference. “I normally don’t like Harvard people, because they can’t go two minutes without mentioning that they went to Harvard,” she joked. “He’s not like that.”
By the time the press tour for mother! came around in September, the duo weren’t holding back their compliments about one another.
At the New York City premiere on Sept. 13, Lawrence told PEOPLE she was “excited” about working with the Black Swan director because he was not afraid to push boundaries. “That’s what I’ve always loved about him. I was such a huge fan of all of his work. I just think he’s so bold and unafraid and that’s exactly what I saw. That’s exactly what I witnessed — even more so.”
Aronofsky, 48, told PEOPLE he was constantly blown away by Lawrence’s talent. “You don’t really need to push Jen, she really always jumps for the goal and dives full in. A lot of times it was holding her back. Just saying, ‘Gey, we don’t need that much,’ ” he said. “She just has so much talent. She’s a hurricane, a tornado and an earthquake of emotion and it just comes pouring out of her.”
He went on to say he actually never thought Lawrence would agree to do mother!. “I remember getting the phone call that she might be available so I went down to Atlanta and I remember complaining to my producers, like, ‘She’s never gonna do this movie. It’s too crazy, too different,’ ” Aronofsky said. “But then when we hung out, she really got the idea. She understood the concepts and she was in. And she hasn’t stopped with her loyalty to the film since then.”
The director may have been surprised Lawrence wanted to do the movie, but for The Hunger Games star, working with the “bold and brave” Aronofsky was reason enough to sign up for the film.
“It was an instant yes before I even read anything,” Lawrence said at the Toronto International Film Festival press conference on Sept. 10. “He told me his ideas and I thought they were brilliant and unique and challenging. I’ve been a fan of his for years — I think he’s bold and brave, and I think I said brilliant.”
She continued, “Once he told me the ideas floating around in his head I said yes. Then I got a script and when I read it I threw it across the room and told him he had severe psychological problems. But it’s a masterpiece.”
Not all of their time promoting mother! was spent gushing about one another. At an Academy screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on Sept. 21, Lawrence recalled injuring her diaphragm while hyperventilating on set. Aronofsky wasn’t too sympathetic, teasing, “It’s only a movie!” Lawrence’s response was memorable: she jokingly flipped him the middle finger.
But laughs aside, it was all in kind. “What I’ve always loved about Darren is, he’s unapologetic and he’s bold,” Lawrence told the New York Times in an article published Sept. 19.
The feeling was mutual. When asked about the star, Aronofsky told the NYT, “It’s always fun to be in a room with Jen. She’s hilarious and real and truthful.”
RELATED VIDEO: Jennifer Lawrence & Darren Aronofsky Pose Together for First Time at New York Premiere of ‘Mother!’
Javier Bardem, who starred alongside Lawrence in mother!, had equally good things to say about their pairing. He told the NYT in that same interview that he thinks the two are a good match and noticed similarities between them while filming the psychological thriller.
“Creatively speaking, both are very willing to go as deep as is necessary without being contaminated by it,” he said. “To create means to go from a place of neutrality to a place of imagination, where you build up something that didn’t exist, and then go back to neutrality. Both are able to do that, which makes the experience much more pleasant.”
Aronofsky was previously in a nine-year relationship with actress Rachel Weisz (the two have a son, 10-year-old Henry), before they broke up in 2010, and Weisz moved on to marry her Dream House costar Daniel Craig. Lawrence was previously linked to British actor Nicholas Hoult and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.