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“We used to talk about what kinds of animals we were,” says Slate. Slate didn’t read the coverage, but it was extremely kind, with most articles praising Slate for taking a chance on Evans, or noting that his coolness factor had jumped several notches because of his proximity to her. There was something beautiful, in a year marked by division, to think of these two opposites finding common ground. In her life, though, she’d already spent several months dealing with that loss and having to find a place to live, crashing with friends in Venice Beach in January. Maybe this is an indulgence, but just start over,’ ” she says. I have no idea how they ended up there.” As Slate gives me the tour of her place, Reggie trails her every move. There’s a thick concentration of “productive energy,” which is good, since she has a lot of work coming up, and a giant cloud of worry and overthinking, which seems to be dissipating. “If we didn’t get divorced, we wouldn’t be able to be friends and we wouldn’t be able to do our work. (Her elder sister, Abby, is a nurse-practitioner in Massachusetts, and Slate is convinced her middle-child need for attention is what nudged her toward showbiz.) Covering the top of her dresser are snapshots she hasn’t figured out what to do with, such as the one of her in a revealing tank top at Columbia University, where she went from high-school valedictorian to pothead almost instantly.
“I watched so many times, it was unbelievable,” she says. “Yeah, I did it right.” Eventually, she found this new apartment and purged everything she owned except for a few clothes she loves, books, precious objects, and a velvet chair once belonging to her great-grandmother. By the sink are pot holders she made as a kid on a little loom and a drawing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg that Fleischer-Camp brought her as a housewarming gift. “This is me when I was a slutty virgin,” she explains.
Current favorites include a children’s book with Barbara Cooney illustrations that she bought on Etsy and loves so much she put it on display so she could see it when she wakes up. She’d fought hard for her part in as a teacher who falls for Evans’s character, a working-class guy trying to give his prodigy niece (Mckenna Grace) a normal childhood.
“It’s about an old woman who doesn’t love how she’s alone, and then learns to make herself not alone through art, and draws people into her life through art. Slate’s part is not huge, but it’s a big studio picture.
Most pillows are just pillows, but for Jenny Slate, the floral-print puffs arrayed on her pristine white linen couch in her freshly rented apartment in L. “And I had my ex-husband over last night and he was like, ‘These flower pillows look great. Slate used to do a stand-up routine about how her mom refused to sew her name into her shirt in elementary school, “because she was like, ‘You’re too friendly, and some stranger would just be like, There’s an obvious person missing so far from this tale of pillows versus patriarchy, but she’s not hiding anything; we just haven’t gotten to it yet. So he doesn’t know what he wants.” Ever since she was a pip-squeak at Camp Tapawingo in Sweden, Maine, Slate has known what she wanted to be: an actress, like Amy Irving or Gilda Radner or Madeline Kahn.
“What’s the same about us is not just that we’re from Massachusetts, which was such a delight, but Chris is truly one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, to the point where sometimes I would look at him and it would kind of break my heart,” she says.
It wasn’t as scandalous as tabloid reports made it sound — as with any long-term relationship that splinters, they’d been on the rocks long before it was official.
But, she says, “When Chris and I started dating, my husband and I had only been separated for a couple of months.” The divorce actually went through while she was at the Sundance Film Festival, after she and Evans broke up.
“Even though we had an amicable divorce, I think that’s still something that you need to mourn.
When you get separated from somebody that you actually care about, it is the destruction of a belief system.