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Chris Pratt Denies Association With Hillsong Church: “I’ve Never Actually Been”



The church has been accused of having anti-LGBTQ ties, something Pratt has taken a hit for. 

Pratt Addresses Hillsong Controversy 

After several years of facing criticism for his alleged ties to the controversial Hillsong Church, actor Chris Pratt said he has “never actually been” to the church and is “not a religious person.”

The Hillsong Church has been condemned for being anti-LGBTQ. The issue received increased attention in 2019 when actor Elliot Page tweeted, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed.” 

“Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides,” he continued.

At the time, Pratt responded to the allegations by saying that “nothing could be further from the truth” and that he believes “everyone is entitled to love who they want.” He doubled down on his denial in a profile published Tuesday in Men’s Health.

 “I never went to Hillsong. I’ve never actually been to Hillsong,” he told the outlet. “I don’t know anyone from that church.”

Instead, Pratt said he attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, though not exclusively. According to Men’s Health, Zoe Church is not without its issues. The church was founded by a pastor who produced a film that equated “sexual brokeness” to “same-sex attraction.” Other outlets have also described it as a Hillsong affiliate. 

Pratt faced his biggest wave of backlash in 2020 when Internet memes declared him the “worst” Chris compared to other actors with the same first name, including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pine. A slew of celebrities quickly came to Pratt’s defense, arguing the criticism was unjustifiably mean. Their speedy responses only heightened the online conversation and many of the celebrities who spoke out were eventually mocked for doing so. 

Pratt Says He is Not Religious

As for why the Internet has become increasingly anti-Pratt, his alleged association to Hillsong was a major factor. Some also speculated he was a supporter of Donald Trump as he did not join his “Avengers” co-stars for a Joe Biden fundraiser, though Pratt is not usually politically outspoken in either direction.

Pratt believes the backlash against him started when he gave a speech at the MTV Movie Awards in 2018 where he said, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you.” He understands why those remarks may have rubbed people the wrong way. 

“Maybe it was hubris. For me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he told Men’s Health. “Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time. I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person.”

He went on to explain that in his eyes, there is a difference between adhering to certain customs and believing in God versus using God to control and harm people and justify hatred.

“The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride,” he said.

See what others are saying: (Men’s Health) (The AV Club) (People)


Demi Lovato’s Single “29” Hints At Steep Age Gap With Ex Wilmer Valderrama



Lovato said she hopes this song will inspire others to learn from her lessons and “protect themselves.”

“Numbers Told You Not To”

In their scathing new single “29,” Demi Lovato seemingly reflects on their previous relationship with actor Wilmer Valderrama, who is 12 years older than the former Disney channel star. 

Lovato, now 29 years old, is the same age as Valderrama was when he first met her. Lovato, who uses both she/her and they/them pronouns, was 17 at the time. Reports say the two began dating roughly a year after they met, shortly after Lovato turned 18.

The rock-infused single was released on Wednesday. While Lovato has not specifically stated that the song is about Valderrama, the lyrics clearly paint a picture of a relationship with a steep age gap.

In the first verse, Lovato asks, “Far from innocent, what the fuck’s consent?”

“Numbers told you not to, but that didn’t stop you,” the singer continues in the track. 

In the chorus, Lovato uses her newfound age to look back on the dynamics of the relationship.

“Finally 29 / Funny, just like you were at the time / Thought it was a teenage dream, just a fantasy / But was it yours or was it mine? / 17, 29,” Lovato croons. 

The song then picks up in both pace and intensity before moving to another biting verse where Lovato calls the song’s subject “quite the collector” of younger girlfriends. Valderrama was previously romantically linked to Lindsay Lohan when she was 18 and he was 24, as well as Mandy Moore when she was 16 and he was 20.

The Inspiration Behind “29”

While speaking with Apple Music, Lovato said that their birthday served as an eye-opening moment that allowed them to reckon with their emotions. 

“When I turned 29, I remember I was on vacation and I just realized ‘I’m 29 now,’ and it put things into perspective,” Lovato said during an interview on Wednesday. “It put everything into perspective.” 

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Lovato added that now that she is older, she realizes just how young 17 is. 

“I didn’t understand it at the time,” Lovato explained. “I was like, ‘I just like older guys.’ And now I’m like, ‘Hey, that’s not OK. That’s weird!’”

“I have a guy friend who relates to the song, who was with [a woman] in her 40s and was praised [for being the] younger guy,” the musician continued. “Culturally, I love that it’s changing now. I love that people are being held accountable for it. I hope they can take what I’ve learned so that they can protect themselves.”

“29” was released as part of the lead-up to Lovato’s latest album “Holy Fvck,” which comes out on Friday. 

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (The Los Angeles Times) (Rolling Stone)

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Florence Pugh Says She Kept Zach Braff Split Discreet to Avoid Public Commentary



Many fans took issue with the 21-year age gap between the actors. 

Pugh and Braff Part Ways

Actress Florence Pugh revealed on Tuesday that she broke up with Zach Braff earlier this year, but opted to keep the news quiet so fans could not share “how happy they are” over the split. 

Pugh and Braff, who have a 21-year age gap, began dating in 2019. Around that time, Pugh starred in breakout films like “Midsommar” and “Little Women,” earning an Oscar nomination for the latter picture. She was seen as Hollywood’s latest “it girl,” and people were not quiet about their distaste for her relationship with Braff. 

Many took issue with their age gap, while some would make posts suggesting Pugh was too good for the “Scrubs” star. Because of this, Pugh knew the news of their breakup would cause a stir, so the former couple opted to keep it under wraps. 

“We’ve been trying to do this separation without the world knowing, because it’s been a relationship that everybody has an opinion on,” she explained to Harper’s Bazaar.

“We just felt something like this would really do us the benefit of not having millions of people telling us how happy they are that we’re not together,” Pugh added. ”So we’ve done that. I automatically get a lumpy throat when I talk about it.”

Pugh’s Comments Regarding Online Negativity

The negativity over their relationship hit a breaking point in 2020 after Pugh shared an Instagram post celebrating Braff’s birthday. Pugh said she had to turn the comments off over the “bullying” and “abuse” she was receiving. 

“I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love,” Pugh said in a video on Instagram. “And I would never in my life, ever, ever, tell anyone who they can and cannot love. It is not your place.” 

“The abuse that you are throwing at him is abuse that you are throwing at me,” she continued. 

Pugh’s suspicions that the Internet might celebrate her breakup proved to be true. On Tuesday, the star trended on Twitter as people tweeted about the news. Many involved jokes praising the split.

“I don’t think that people, just because they have this job, that every aspect of their life should be watched and written about,” Pugh told Harper’s Bazaar regarding the public discourse surrounding her private life. “We haven’t signed up for a reality TV show.”

Despite the media attention, the breakup seems amicable. Prior to separating, Pugh and Braff filmed a movie together titled “A Good Person,” which will come out next year. She said making the film “felt like a very natural and easy thing to do.”

“The movie that we made together genuinely was probably one of my most favorite experiences,” Pugh told Harper’s Bazaar.

See what others are saying: (Harper’s Bazaar) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Daily Beast)

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Bryce Dallas Howard Says Chris Pratt Helped Boost Her Pay on “Jurassic World” Related Projects



Because of his efforts, Howard says she has made more money from ventures like theme park rides and video games than she did from the actual films. 

Pay Disparity on “Jurassic World”

Actress Bryce Dallas Howard said her “Jurassic World” co-star Chris Pratt advocated for equal pay on projects related to the hit movie franchise. 

The pay disparity between men and women in Hollywood is no secret and over the last few years, several big stars have spoken out against it. In 2018, Pratt and Howard made headlines after Variety reported that Pratt was getting a much bigger paycheck for the blockbuster films. According to the report, Howard brought in $8 million compared to Pratt’s $10 million. 

In a Monday interview with Insider, Howard said that report actually inflated her salary.

“The reports were so interesting because I was paid so much less than the reports even said, so much less,” Howard explained, though she declined to reveal the exact figure she was paid. “When I started negotiating for ‘Jurassic,’ it was 2014, and it was a different world, and I was at a great disadvantage. And, unfortunately, you have to sign up for three movies, and so your deals are set.”

Howard said she discussed this gap with Pratt, who then vowed to fight for equal pay “whenever there was an opportunity to move the needle on stuff that hadn’t been already negotiated.” This included projects like video games and theme park rides based on the “Jurassic World” films. 

“He literally told me: ‘You guys don’t even have to do anything. I’m gonna do all the negotiating. We’re gonna be paid the same, and you don’t have to think about this, Bryce,’” the actress told Insider.

“And I love him so much for doing that,” she continued. “I really do, because I’ve been paid more for those kinds of things than I ever was for the movie.”

The Fight For Equal Pay in Hollywood

Pratt is not the first major Hollywood actor to push for equal pay. His fellow Marvel star Benedict Cumberbatch previously said he would not appear in any film where women were paid less than men.

The pay gap does not just exist between genders. Actors of color are often paid less than their white counterparts. Jessica Chastain fought against this discrepancy while negotiating contracts for a film featuring her and Octavia Spencer. 

After learning that Black women suffer from a wider pay gap than white women, Chastain promised Spencer that she would fight to ensure they had the same rate. Spencer said this resulted in her getting five times her salary. 

“I don’t know what or if it cost her anything as far as her rate, I just know she stood with me, and am eternally grateful,” Spencer tweeted.

Chastain argued this should be a larger effort from other actors, specifically suggesting that “men should start doing this with their female costars.”

See what others are saying: (Insider) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Fortune)

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