New York City, NY – December 7, 2019 – Florence Pugh attends the World Premiere of Columbia Pictures LITTLE WOMEN, sponsored by Synchrony, at the MoMA in New York City

When Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women hit screens at Christmas, the world instantly became besotted by British actress Florence Pugh, whose acting as Amy March was a standout, despite her starring alongside the likes of Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan and everyone’s favorite man of the moment, Timothee Chalamet.

As is usual with new celebrity obsessions, people flocked to Pugh’s social media accounts, desperate to get a glimpse at what she’s like when she’s not on-screen. The usual suspects were quickly detected: Pugh likes Polaroids, tanning at the beach, drinking wine with friends, and cooking. But what fans weren’t expecting was to see Scrubs actor Zach Braff make an appearance on the now-24-year-old’s feed.

It turns out Pugh and Braff quietly started dating after they met when Pugh was cast in Braff’s short film In the Time It Takes to Get There, which was released in April 2019. When Pugh confirmed the romance by wishing Braff a happy birthday earlier this year, the post was met with a barrage of criticism, mostly directed at the couple’s 21-year age gap.

At the time, Pugh immediately posted a candid Instagram video, telling trolls they had no right to police who she dates and that her personal life is not up for public discussion. Now, Braff has addressed the drama – and his relationship – publicly for the first time in a new interview, telling Mr Porter that the way Pugh handled the backlash was perfect and that he felt there was nothing left for him to say.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 14: Actor Zach Braff attends the premiere of “Baby Driver” at Ace Hotel on June 14, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Describing Pugh’s response as “intelligent and articulate,” Braff explained that the actress didn’t think twice before she went public with the post. “She literally sat down, hit record on her phone and said that,” he told the magazine. “I thought, ‘How could I possibly follow anything as intelligent and articulate as that?’ So, I chose not to.”

In the original clip, Pugh said, “Within about 8 minutes of the photo being posted, I had about 70% of the comments hurling abuse and being horrid — basically bullying someone on my page. It is the first time in my entire Instagram life that I’ve had to turn off the comments on my page. I’ve never been an Instagram page that encourages that. I’ve never been an Instagram page that likes that toxic vibe.”

“I will not allow that behavior on my page. I’m not about that. It makes me upset.” She continued, “It makes me upset that during this time when we need to be together, the world is aching and the world is dying, and a few of you decided to bully for no reason.”