Benedict Cumberbatch’s shotgun wedding

BBC

A few months back, when Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement in The Times (of London), I thought “That’s interesting — I didn’t know he was seeing someone.” It was not that surprising though, since he’s famously protective of his privacy. Good for him. I left it at that. A week or so later, he was in my newsfeed again, commenting on his engagement. When asked if he was happy about the fan approval he was getting, he responded that he was, but

The only support I really need, to be honest, is from the woman I love, who I proposed to.

That seemed strange and unnecessarily distancing. That quote was when I first thought something was off. Is that the reaction of a man in love? Someone who is happy spreads joy involuntarily. He’d gush about his future wife and his lovely fans.

A month later, his fiancee was rumored to be pregnant, and a month after that, it was confirmed by his PR. Then, things started to make more sense, e.g. why Benedict seemed grumpy and irritated rather than happy. After news of the pregnancy, I googled for any indication that the engagement was the result of an unplanned pregnancy and came across the delightfully addictive Sophie Hunter Gossip Blog. In one sitting, I must have hit “previous posts” about a hundred times. It was a joyous occasion, discovering that I’m not the only one who doesn’t buy the “we fell in love and had to get married right away” spin they’ve put on it.

What do I want?* I think it’d be nice if he had a sit-down interview and just told the truth instead of trying so hard to sell this fairytale version of it. Something like — they just started seeing each other, she got pregnant, he’d been wanting kids since he was a kid, Oscars season was coming up, everyone advised him to play it up as a happily ever after and he tried but his face gave him away. Oh, wasn’t that silly. Still, they’re making a go of it, and who knows, it could work out. I see nothing wrong with that story. It has a charming honesty and relatability to it.

There’s been speculation that he has ambitions to be the next Hollywood leading man like George Clooney or Brad Pitt. A better way to court a larger fanbase is by staying dorky and lovable. Who says you can’t be a huge star and a goofball at the same time? Just look at Taylor Swift! People value authenticity and kindness. Trying too hard to emulate someone more famous doesn’t play well. Feeding the paparazzi may garner Kardashian status at best — but if he really cares about the longevity of his acting career, that isn’t what he wants. It isn’t too late to come clean, and I hope he does soon. Maybe his new baby will inspire some honesty.

Disclaimer: I’m a fan of his work, but I’m too lazy to be a really dedicated fan. I’ve never had the energy to fantasize about marrying him, nor have I even paid to see any of his movies. Forget about seeing him live or waiting anywhere for an autograph. I think my favorite of his work must be Parade’s End, and it seems like life is now imitating art.

* (Okay, yes, who cares what I want because I’m a dog on the internet)

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