In a recent interview for MR PORTER’s digital magazine, The Journal, Braff opened up about how Pugh spoke out via Instagram in April after receiving backlash for the pair’s relationship when she shared a tribute for his 45th birthday.
“She literally sat down, hit record on her phone and said that,” the Scrubs alum recalled. “I thought: how could I possibly follow anything as intelligent and articulate as that? So, I chose not to.”
In the video, the 24-year-old Little Women actress hit back at trolls who slammed the pair’s 21-year age gap. “Within about eight minutes of the photo being posted, I had about 70 people in the comments hurling abuse and being horrid, and basically bullying someone on my page,” she said. “I will not allow that behavior on my page. I’m not about that.”
Pugh continued, “It makes me upset, it makes me sad that during this time when we really all need to be together, we need to be supporting one another. We need to be loving one another, the world is aching and the world is dying and a few of you have decided to bully for no reason.”
The Midsommar actress admitted that she had been “wrestling with the idea” of speaking out for a few days, but she ultimately decided to make the video for her “own peace of mind.” Pugh also pointed out that since she is an adult, she does not “need” for others to tell her who she is allowed to love.
“I would never in my life ever, ever tell someone who they can and cannot love. It is not your place. And really, it has nothing to do with you,” she added. “The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you throw at me.”
Ever since Braff and Pugh have been linked in April 2019, the pair have faced criticism due to their large age difference. In December 2019, the English actress responded to a fan via Instagram after they criticized Braff for being “44 years old” and dating the then-23-year-old starlet, writing: “And yet he got it.”
In July, Pugh doubled down on how “ridiculous” the criticism surrounding her relationship has been. “I’m old enough to be an adult and pay taxes, but I’m not old enough to know who I should and should not have sex with,” she said on the “Sue Perkins: An Hour or So With…” podcast. “Once again, [it’s] making a young woman feel like s–t for no reason. I think I did feel [like] s–t for a while about admitting that, and then I thought, ‘How ridiculous is that?’”
The Fighting With My Family star added, “I’m 24 and I can’t choose who I love … There’s a reason why I’m not with someone my age — it hasn’t worked. So, who are you trying to match me up with?”
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