WHATEVER would Lady Whistledown say?
Bridgerton star Phoebe Dynevor’s new man has been accused of breaking quarantine laws after flying in from the US to join her for a stroll in Stoke-on-Trent.
Phoebe, 25, was snapped arm in arm with American comic Pete Davidson as they went walking in the North Staffs city last week, and they were also spotted giggling in a supermarket car park on Sunday.
But having arrived at Heathrow on Thursday, the 27-year-old star of US sketch show Saturday Night Live should have been isolating until yesterday at the very earliest.
When it comes to the ladies, however, Pete, who will be playing a supervillain in the new Suicide Squad movie alongside Margot Robbie and Idris Elba, has always been keen — and has something of a magic pull.
He has dated some of the world’s most glamorous women, from pop star Ariana Grande to actress Kate Beckinsale who, at 47, is 20 years Pete’s senior.
Now Phoebe has fallen for his considerable charms — described as “big d**k energy” after Ariana shared a tweet about his manhood.
Fragility of mental health
Sources claim the pair are “really into each other”, with Pete telling friends he is “serious” about the relationship.
While the romance has, until now, been mostly conducted behind closed doors, the couple still managed to find ways to flaunt it.
Eagle-eyed fans spotted the pair had been wearing matching necklaces reading “PD” — their shared initials.
Pete wore his for an appearance on a US chat show this month, while Phoebe showed off a similar necklace in a video to mark International Women’s Day last month.
Rumours swirled yet further a fortnight ago when a grinning Pete told a group of university students on Zoom he was already in a relationship with his “celebrity crush”.
The confession came hot on the heels of him being spotted in Manchester last month, where Phoebe has been living with her mum Sally, 57 — who plays Coronation Street’s Sally Webster — during the pandemic.
In February she took a trip to New York, where Pete lives. Now he has flown to the UK to be with Phoebe as she films her new role as acclaimed ceramicist Clarice Cliff in The Colour Room.
Standing 6ft 3in and employing a take-no-prisoners approach to humour, Pete’s allure would appear to be his strutting confidence.
But he is also open about the fragility of his mental health. At the age of seven, Pete lost his dad Scott, a firefighter, after he headed into a World Trade Center hotel on 9/11 before it collapsed.
The psychological impact was devastating, with Pete pulling out his hair and suffering suicidal thoughts.
‘He comes with own bag of mischief’
He has also revealed that he has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and smokes cannabis to cope with Crohn’s, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
The comedian certainly doesn’t advocate keeping your problems buttoned up inside.
He said: “I just tell people that I’m flawed because I am, and I don’t want to pretend like I’m not.
“When you’re honest about it, you just feel better as a person, rather than like you’re pretending to be someone else.”
Those flaws may have made it difficult to hold down a long-term relationship.
When he first burst on to Saturday Night Live aged 20, in 2014, he started dating actress Carly Aquilino.
It didn’t last a year, but ended amicably. Carly, 30, appeared alongside him in his movie The King Of Staten Island last year.
His next serious girlfriend, in May 2016, was comedian Cazzie David, daughter of Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David.
Cazzie, 26, has revealed that she struggled to convince Pete she “really loved him” and that she feared ending it because his “self-harm and suicide threats had come about from trivial circumstances”.
During their two years together Pete was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a mental health condition that causes mood swings.
He admitted: “I started having these mental breakdowns where I would freak out then not remember what happened after. Blind rage.”
He was prescribed antidepressants by a psychiatrist. When Cazzie did finally say it was over, she quickly told him she had changed her mind.
But in the intervening period he had fallen for pop star Ariana Grande — and Cazzie only discovered this through social media.
In June 2018, just weeks after they first hooked up, Ariana, 27, and Pete announced they were engaged, and she posted images of the pair of them cuddling.
Seemingly head over heels in love, the singer wrote two songs about her new man.
One, titled Pete Davidson, featured the lyrics: “Universe must have my back, fell from the sky into my lap.”
But the pair were attacked relentlessly on social media, where trolls linked their romance with the emotional turmoil of Ariana’s rapper ex Mac Miller.
When Mac, who had a history of drug abuse, died of an overdose aged 26 in September 2018, the online criticism grew louder — and a month later, their marriage was off.
On Saturday Night Live, Pete said: “She’s a wonderful, strong person and I genuinely wish her all the happiness in the world.”
Shortly afterwards, Pete, who is set to take the lead in the upcoming Netflix biopic about punk pioneers the Ramones, I Slept With Joey Ramone, was under fire for straying beyond the boundaries of taste in one comic skit.
Fell for Grande
He joked that Navy Seal turned Republican senator Dan Cranshaw, who wears an eye-patch after losing the sight in one eye following an IED blast while on duty in Afghanistan, looked like a “a hitman in a porno movie”.
In December 2018 he posted a message on Instagram which suggested he was considering ending it all. He wrote: “I really don’t want to be on this Earth any more. I’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last.”
Friends quickly rallied round, with rapper Machine Gun Kelly jumping on a plane to get to Pete to make sure he was OK. British actress Kate Beckinsale was the next woman to experience the rollercoaster ride of dating him.
She said: “I’ve never been in this position before, never dated anybody who comes with their own bag of mischief.”
Exactly what “mischief” she was referring to is unclear. But Pete has never been shy about discussing another love in his life — cannabis.
He has twice been in rehab for smoking the drug, which is now legal in many parts of the US, and he claims using it helps reduce the pain of Crohn’s.
Pete was diagnosed with the disease aged 17 and it is the reason he has shadows under his eyes. He has said: “My stomach would just be in pain all day and I wouldn’t be able to eat, and then I’d smoke, I’d be able to eat and be able to do my shows.”
By April 2019 Kate and Pete were over and in the summer he was dating the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood actress Margaret Qualley.
The 26-year-old former catwalk model was only with the comic for a couple of months and in next to no time Pete had moved on to model Cindy Crawford’s 19-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber.
Discussing the age gap after they broke up last year, he commented: “If anyone was worried that I was too smart or advanced for her, they don’t have to worry at all. She was way, way smarter than I was.”
'Tough time growing up without dad'
Pete understandably believes there is a link between the death of his father and his struggles. He said: “My big thing is trust. One day he was here and the next day he was gone.”
The turmoil was so great Pete ripped out all his hair. His mum Amy said: “It was sad how sad he was. He had a tough time growing up without a dad.”
That father-and-son bond has endured, though, with Pete having his dad’s fireman’s badge number — 8418 — tattooed on his left arm.
The film The King Of Staten Island, which Pete co-wrote with Knocked Up director Judd Apatow, is semi-autobiographical. Main character Scott, played by Pete, is a tattooed dope smoker dealing with suicidal tendencies and Crohn’s disease. Scott can’t come to terms with the death of his firefighter father and has commitment issues.
Pete thinks having experienced such grief at a young age gave him the confidence to get up on stage and say what he likes — because nothing that happens can be as bad as losing his dad.
He concluded: “To learn how anything can just be taken away from you early gave me this sense of, ‘F*** it, whatever dude’.
“I’m able to do stand-up and f*** around because hopefully the worst thing that has ever happened to me happened.”
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