Several months ago, Variety’s editors came up with a plan for this year’s Pride issue: We would tell the stories of couples in the entertainment industry. But as the coronavirus tore through the United States, separating millions of families and friends, the idea of celebrating love took on a greater meaning.
Since April, portrait photographer Joe Pugliese has traveled to eight homes in Los Angeles — visiting each one under social-distancing guidelines — to shoot couples in quarantine. And later, through phone interviews, our subjects told us stories about how romance bloomed pre-quarantine. Influencer Gigi Gorgeous and her wife, activist and model Nats Getty (pictured at right), spoke about the night in 2016 when they first encountered each other in Paris. Actor Kiersey Clemons recalled developing a surprising crush on her stunt double, Ebony De La Haye. And actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and producer Justin Mikita looked back on their wedding, performed by Tony Kushner.
We’ll have first blushes of love and raucous celebrations like that again. But for now, love expresses itself in a different, no less valid way. Perhaps miraculously, not a single one of our couples complained too much about their partner’s cooped-up quirks. We hope that these stories inspire and uplift you as much as they did us, and that they serve as a reminder of better days to come. — Ramin Setoodeh