Most celebrity relationships follow a distinct pattern: two A-list actors meet while filming the latest blockbuster, they engage in clandestine, off-screen rendezvous, and then tabloids catch wind of the budding romance. In no time, photographs of the hot couple are plastered across every gossip rag from Los Angeles to Sydney, but, for whatever reason, the celebs deny being involved. Eventually, of course, they're spotted on a romantic getaway—because the rumors were, in fact, true all along.
“Celebrities go on vacation for the same reason we do—to get away from it all. And that means getting away from Hollywood, the whole Tinsel Town scene, the paparazzi, and that’s why they choose these really exclusive high-end places,” says Delaina Dixon, celebrity reporter at OK!, the weekly entertainment magazine. “I think celebrities being spotted on vacation together allows them to say ‘we’re together’ without having to say it themselves. After all, a picture says a thousand words. So if they’re spotted together, you can pretty much make the assumption that they’re coming out, and they don’t have to be held accountable to it.”
In theory, it would seem that hopping a plane for an exotic locale is an easy way to keep a relationship under wraps. But paparazzi are found where you least expect them. In the case of Rihanna and Chris Brown, who still have yet to acknowledge any sort of budding romance, this happened earlier this year in Jamaica, after Brown was photographed holding the pop star—his face lingering just inches from hers—in a swimming pool.
"Chris and Rihanna ... can get away with the 'just friends' excuse in the celeb-dense nightclubs of New York, spotting them so intimate in such a remote locale was proof that something else was going on," says Melissa Cronin, reporter for celebrity weekly Star magazine.
Adds Dixon, “They’ve never actually come out and said that they’re together—they’ve allowed the picture to do the work for them—but it’s a good way to show that they’re off the market without having to admit it.”
"It's hard to say why they do it," says Cronin. "Jen Aniston said that keeping her relationship with Brad secret was something special, just for them to share ... In essence, these couples bond together by working against the media. It could also be a preemptive measure for them to save face in the event that they end up splitting."
If you’re Tom Cruise, apparently not even a private getaway on one of the world’s most exclusive islands on the other side of the globe can keep the gossip at bay. After he split with Nicole Kidman, Cruise rented out an entire resort and invited his sister Lee Anne, "Vanilla Sky" co-star Penelope Cruz and others from the cast to take a break at Fiji’s Wakaya Club. The day after they arrived, Cruise’s publicist confirmed that her client and Cruz had been seeing each other prior to the trip.
“If you know anything about Wakaya, there’s a 60-day cancellation policy, so if you decide not to go within two months of your planned date, you lose your entire payment,” says Dixon. “Tom Cruise, even though he’s rich, is still a smart guy and maybe didn’t want to lose his payment for that fabulous island. He may have just said, ‘Well, you know, it’s already paid for, I might as well take my new girl along and enjoy it.’”
A sighting of Cruise on top of the Eiffel Tower alongside Katie Holmes in June 2005 proved that the superstar is unafraid to show his romantic side in high-profile urban settings.
It’s natural, though, for celebrity romances to be rekindled in far-off, sunny settings. Such was the case with former flames Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson. In fact, much of their relationship seems to be based on a foreign affair. The two were first photographed together in Australia in 2007 while Hudson was on-location; they split just months later. In April 2008, after nearly a year apart, Hudson and Wilson reunited in Miami; weeks later, they spent Hudson’s 29th birthday with his parents at a restaurant on South Beach.
"Kate Hudson is known as a free spirit," says Cronin. “With her, it was less that she was hiding a relationship than that the relationship was forged abroad by necessity. For Owen, taking her out required more effort than just driving down to Malibu." The same thing happened with Hudson dated Dax Shepard in August 2007. "He visited her in Boston while she filmed 'Bachelor No. 2.'"
If you’re like Justin Timberlake, you may want a sporty girl who can keep up. Amid rumors that he was dating his music video costar Scarlett Johansson back in early 2007, JT warmed himself up on the slopes of Park City while snowboarding alongside current gal pal Jessica Biel. Timberlake demonstrated one way to kill rumors of an alleged fling: Be spotted cozying up to her arch nemesis.
“They’re both very active—she’s a workout queen—so why not come out in a beautiful winter wonderful where [Sundance] is all about art and skiing, and they could do a little bit of both,” Dixon proffers. “That’s why I think they chose Utah. It’s also a little bit more highbrow than just frolicking on an island: Here’s a place where we’re talking about artistic work. And they’ve never really come out and confirmed their relationship, so that’s about as close as we can get to that.”
No matter where celebrities go for their romantic breaks, it's unrealistic to imagine they'll go unnoticed. The paparazzi are unstoppable. According to Cronin, "They've gotten photos of Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz sunning on a remote beach on Fernando de Noronha—more than 200 miles off of the Brazilian coast.”
What about Namibia, a country that would seem paparazzi-resistant on account of its sheer obscurity? That emerging destination has held obvious appeal for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Says Dixon, "Obviously, Brad and Angelina have proven that if you go to Namibia, or anywhere in Africa really, chances are you’re going to be on lockdown."
But then stars are not exactly like the rest of us: Given the opportunity, some would broadcast their amorous escapades to the universe. Says Dixon of OK!, “When celebrities want people to know they’re together, they go to a place people can still get to, like Sundance. Or let it ‘slip’ that they’re going to be on an exclusive island, like Tom Cruise did, just to let the world know that he’s seeing someone, even if no one can actually get there."
Of course, if a couple isn’t ready to come out yet, you’re not going to know. The original superstar, Greta Garbo, may have said it best: "I want to be left alone."