Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Love Diaries: “I Signed a NDA to be in a Relationship With a B-List Hollywood Celebrity”

What’s it like to date a celebrity? Capsule reader Rima* was in a relationship with a B-List Hollywood celebrity for just under a year – she can’t say who exactly though, because she signed an NDA: A Non-Disclosure Agreement, meaning she’s never even told her family that she had a boyfriend, let alone who he was…

Welcome to our series, The Love Diaries – a space for you to share your experiences, advice, fairy-tale endings, setbacks and heartbreaks. We’ll be hearing from industry experts giving practical advice alongside Capsule readers (You!) sharing your firsthand experiences with love – from the woman who cheated on her husband with a work colleague, one woman’s temptation now the love of her life is finally single (although she’s not), and the woman who forced her husband to choose between her and his girlfriend. 

Rima was down to her last 100 pounds.

She had no idea how she was going to pay the next week’s rent, especially seeing as she somehow only had one shift on the roster for the coming week at the restaurant she’d been waiting tables at. Covid had hit the family restaurant hard, and while everything had opened up again people weren’t exactly hurrying back.

Rima knew she had two options: Call her father and tell him the situation, knowing he would lend her money – but it would be on the basis that she only used that money to book a one way ticket home from the UK and the OE she’d been enjoying so much (minus all that time in lockdown, obviously). Or, she had to get it together and make one last ditch effort to stay. Maybe she could stay on someone’s couch for a while? Maybe someone was hiring?

She wrote an SOS message on Facebook (hiding it from her father), watched friends back home tag in friends and then crossed her fingers. Somehow, three hours later she had a message – could she make it across town in 90 minutes to serve drinks at a private function? Someone had called in sick at the 11th hour. She’d need to be wearing a crisp black button-up shirt, pants and her hair slicked back in a low bun. It paid the same as four shifts at the restaurant. Not enough to keep her in London, but a hell of a start.

Again, somehow, she made it to the venue, with just seconds to spare. And it was there she learned who she was there to serve drinks for – it was the after party for a movie premiere. A big movie premiere – one that starred more than one A-list celebrity.

“I was half excited and half packing myself,” says Rima.

But, for the next five hours she kept it together, keeping her professionalism intact as she poured drinks and served them to people she’d had posters on her walls of as a teenager.

Then, it was her turn to take a break.

“I haven’t smoked in years, but one of the guys had left a pack on top of the door frame and said I was welcome to one,” she says. “I don’t know why I did it, but I took one and went outside. Maybe to calm my nerves?”

But instead, her heart started racing when she saw another familiar face – a B-grade celebrity. She’s watched his movies and TV shows before.

“He was on the phone and started coming towards me,” says Rima. “I thought he was gonna tell me to not smoke around him or something, but he mouthed, ‘Hey, can I have one?’”

Rima says she said she only had the one. “But then I got flustered and was like, ‘oh you just have this one’ and gave it to him, but he was like, ‘nah, you keep it’ and started walking away. But then he turned back, hung up the phone and was like, ‘Actually…. can we share?’”

The celebrity, let’s call him Mr X, then asked Rima question after question about her accent, her life, her family… before she knew it, she looked at her phone and realised her 30 minute break had ended three minutes earlier.

“I told him it had been awesome meeting him and basically ran back inside,” she says.

Three hours later, she clocked off – which is when she was given an envelope.

“It just said, ‘A pleasure talking to you. Would love to continue our chat sometime.’ with his number. I kinda assumed it was one of the guys I’d been working with who I’d talked to a little bit, but maaaan, I was hoping it was Mr. X. The idea seemed too wild though.”

But sure enough, the next day, she text the number to say it was her and she’d got his message, her phone immediately rang. It was Mr. X.

“I said I wasn’t expecting it to be him!” says Rima. “And he was like, ‘oh way to go hurt my feelings! And laughed’.”

The pair then talked for the next few hours, before making plans to meet up for dinner – it was in a private room of a restaurant with several entrances and exits.

“He said there was one thing – he was sorry to do it but his agent made his assistant talk to any new friends, so she’d be giving me a call.”

And sure enough, she got a call, asking for her email address because she’d need to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before meeting Mr. X.

“It meant I couldn’t even tell my best mates that I was going on a date with him,” she says. “But I of course still signed it. It’s really only been recently that I’ve thought back about how I should have asked more questions, like, was I safe? I’d never normally go on a date without letting at least one other person know where I was going and with who etc.”

But, the next night, Rima found herself sitting across from Mr. X, eating at a restaurant she could never dream of visiting.

“It was so ridiculous,” she says. “I was skint, but was here with this celebrity eating fancy food and drinking a bottle of wine that cost more than my last paycheck.”

The date went well, and led to another one, and another one.

“We were only two weeks in, and I told him how I was going to go stay with a friend for a while, because my flat was being renovated,” she says. “Which was a lie – I just didn’t have any money, but I couldn’t tell him that.”

But Mr. X suggested that maybe it would be easier if he put her up in an apartment for the next few weeks, so that he could visit her there.

“I reluctantly agreed,” says Rima. “I went from this dodgy flat, to living in a nice apartment I wasn’t even paying for. I felt like I was Selena Gomez or someone from a cheesy princess movie.”

Over the next seven months, Rima and Mr. X had a relationship. He continued to pay for her apartment, while she worked shifts at restaurants and bars on an irregular basis. She travelled with him when he was shooting overseas for six weeks, but never socialised with anyone but Mr X. Their relationship was very hush-hush.

“It was a lot of sneaking in and out of places,” she says. “Like we would never enter or leave a place together. He took a private jet places, but I would go on a regular plane – although he did pay for first-class. It was kind of exciting at times going to so much trouble to not get caught, but also I just wanted to hold my boyfriend’s hand in public, y’know?”

Rima says that was hard, but she understood that Mr. X was very private.

“The hardest was when I would Google him and see stories about him being with other women,” she says. “I’d get pissed off and ask him about it and he said our relationship was exclusive and not to read any trash online. And that it’s why he wanted to keep our relationship private, because it’s too hard to date once people are watching.”

But what eventually did get too hard was their different lives. Mr. X. got a job that would mean he was away for five months. Rima went to visit him, but it wasn’t the same.

“I think we both knew it was fizzling out, because he didn’t ask me to be out there permanently with him,” she says. “We’d been together for so long, I just wanted to be a normal couple, but our relationship wasn’t normal. It used to be so weird meeting up with him, knowing he’d been kissing someone else for his job all day. The whole thing with the distance took its toll.”

Rima also knew she only had a few months left on her visa.

“It brought things to a head, and we decided to end things,” she says.

As a parting gift though, Mr. X paid for her tickets home – first class – and paid up the apartment for the last three months of her trip.

“The weirdest part was, a guy I’d been in love with for years, but our timing was never right, he broke up with his girlfriend back home,” says Rima. “He ended up flying over to the UK, not knowing I was gonna be coming home in a few weeks.”

Rima says she ended up in a relationship with her new beau, who she has now been with for more than a year.

“He still doesn’t know about Mr. X though,” she says. “I had to tell a few white lies about why the apartment I was living in was so nice, and how weird it was I got upgraded on the flight home.”

She says the hardest part is not reacting whenever someone brings up her ex, or he comes up in a movie or TV show they’re watching.

“Once, I was with my boyfriend when he was flicking through stuff to watch, and he wanted to watch a movie with him in it,” she says. “My heart started pounding, but he didn’t seem to notice and thankfully moved on to something else.”

Rima says she has had no contact with Mr. X since, but she thinks about him and their whirlwind seven months often.

“It was a dream,” she says. “But not reality. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but I’m really glad I’m not famous. It was no way to live.”

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