love stories

Ocean’s 8 Panders Very Specifically to My Rihanna-Leo Dating Fantasy

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Hidden inside Ocean’s 8 is one split-second joke that panders very specifically to a bit that I have dedicated my entire life to: the rumored romance between Rihanna and Leonardo DiCaprio.

As the women plot their Met Gala heist, they scan the Gala’s seating chart. Someone entirely unrelated to their caper catches the eye of Constance (Awkwafina). “That’s Leo?” she asks. “Leo Leo?” I, sitting in the audience, gasped. “There’s only one,” someone replies. I think this was Cate Blanchett, but I can’t remember exactly who says this, because frankly I blacked out. Rihanna, in the background, pointedly says nothing. I, in my seat, started sweating.

At face value, this seems like a normal, run-of-the-mill joke to make about a celebrity. However, consider this: As far as I can tell, Leo DiCaprio has never been to the Met Gala. He’s turned up at several Met Gala after-parties, to be sure, but never the actual gala itself. (This seems intentional, but maybe it’s not his thing — no harm no foul.) So why include such a random joke? Because it is, in my humble opinion, an extremely genius flex: Rihanna is continuing her hobby of publicly leaving Leo on read.

Here is a short romantic history of Rihanna and Leonardo DiCaprio: They partied together at the Playboy mansion in January 2015, where they may or may not have kissed. Then it was reported they were “hooking up” and had been “hooking up for years.” Then it was reported that Rihanna wanted Leo to “get a six pack.” In 2015, they “spent Valentine’s Day together.” But then someone — who is definitely not a member of the Pussy Posse — said Rihanna wasn’t really hooking up with Leo, but one of his friends! That seemed specious immediately (for obvious reasons), and then patently untrue when, during her birthday party in March 2015, Rihanna and Leo were officially photographed together. Then, they were spotted “kissing” in January 2016. Coachella 2016 was my personal Christmas, when a photo surfaced of Leo doing some close-talking in the ear of a soft smiling Rihanna. This is one of the most important photos of my life, you see, because you merely adopted the Rihanna-Leo romance. I was born in it, molded by it. When it comes to Rih-Caprio, I’ll never let go, Jack.

Ever since that Coachella photo, I have dedicated myself to this love story, mostly by posting a series of dumb tweets like these:

One of my favorite days on the internet was when Rihanna invented flying by appearing on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in a photo shoot inspired by Amelia Earhart. Leo, if you remember, starred in The Aviator (which was apparently his favorite role). I had a good laugh thinking about how Leo reacted to this photo shoot.

Another one of my favorite days on the internet was actually last month, when Rihanna arrived at the Met Gala. Here is how I imagined Leo processing her look:

One of my favorite bits is to wonder what he’s texting her:

Sometimes when I watch Rihanna perform, I smile to myself, thinking that somewhere in the world, Leo is also watching Rihanna perform:

I like to imagine that Leo is all over the internet, reading everything Rihanna does, and using burner accounts to support her in her every endeavor:

This year has been especially fruitful for my Rih-venant fanfiction, because Leo snuck into Rihanna’s birthday! (I know you’re thinking “Hunter, he showed up just like everyone else,” but no, really: “Page Six” reported our boy “snuck into the afterparty through a side door”). This was a big day for the three of us:

Do I think that Rihanna hates Leo? No. Do I think that Leo is in love with Rihanna? Hard to say, since I don’t know him, but I do assume that he reacts to Rihanna as anyone one would, which is to say: He is utterly bewitched.

So why does she keep curving him? I think it has something to do with that 2015 birthday party, when someone blabbed something calling her “clingy.” “We’re told Leo is affectionate enough — they engaged in plenty of PDA — but he could barely get a moment to himself,” TMZ reported at the time. “As one source put it, ‘she’s the baddest bitch in the party, but she’s following him everywhere.’” There’s no evidence to prove that source was Leo DiCaprio. But there’s also no evidence proving that source was not not Leo DiCaprio. As you make your ruling, consider these two pieces of evidence I have procured that disproves TMZ’s “source”:

— One of these people is Rihanna.

— The other one of these people is not Rihanna. (He’s Leonardo DiCaprio)

End of evidence.

The simple truth is that I care more about this pair of star-crossed lovers than anything I’ve got going on right now. I also just love an underdog story, and Leo, in this case, is definitely the underdog. And so, every time Rihanna posts something on Instagram — a picture promoting Fenty Beauty, an Ocean’s 8 ad, a candid from a vacation — I become concerned for Leo’s well-being. Does the Pussy Posse group text buzz with notifications when Rihanna is on the cover of another magazine? How many “Hey! Long time no see” texts did he send Cate Blanchett as she was on set of Ocean’s 8, hoping she’d bring up their “mutual” “friend”? Did he, like the rest of America, skip the unfairly maligned Valerian? But did he, unlike the rest of America, skip it because it’s the movie that featured Rihanna with his kinda-twin Dane DeHaan?

On one hand, I don’t have any evidence to prove that Leo is actually doing any of these things — that he actually goes into cardiac arrest every time Rihanna posts an Instagram story, that he listens to Anti every day, that there is no one more excited for Ocean’s 8 than him. But, on the other hand, I don’t have any evidence disproving these theories. Instead I have a very dumb, long-running joke that makes me laugh. Thank you for your time, and continue leaving men on read. (And Leo, if you’re reading this, put on your good newsboy cap and shoot your shot!)

Ocean’s 8 Panders to My Rihanna-Leo DiCaprio Dating Fantasy