LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 15: Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde are seen in Soho on March 15, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/GC Images)

Since the very first photos emerged of a suited and booted Harry Styles hand-in-hand with Olivia Wilde in January 2021, it seems as though the entire world has had an opinion. Of course, when it’s concerning one of the world’s most famous, beloved and sexy (sorry, but true) pop stars with a fan base made up almost exclusively of women and gay men who’d likely trade their own boyfriends in without a second thought, it’s going to be hard for anyone to meet the standard set for Styles. But, still, the vitriol directed at Wilde has been unrelenting — first, to do with their age gap (she’s 38 and he’s 28 and people need to redirect their attention to Leonardo DiCaprio), then to do with how the pair met (on set during the filming of Don’t Worry Darling). Later, it was everything from what Wilde wears to the way she dances.

Despite the constant conversation about their relationship, neither Wilde nor Styles have publicly said much over the course of a year and a half of living together in Los Angeles and London. But in a new interview with Rolling Stone, the musician has opened up ever so slightly about his director girlfriend and the hate she’s subjected to for being with him.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 18: Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde are seen on August 18, 2022 in New York. (Photo by MEGA/GC Images)

Despite barely being on social media, Styles notes he’s aware of how some corners of the internet are responding to Wilde. “That obviously doesn’t make me feel good,” he says. “It’s obviously a difficult feeling to feel like being close to me means you’re at the ransom of a corner of Twitter or something,” he continues. “I just wanted to sing. I didn’t want to get into it if I was going to hurt people like that.”

Styles adds that despite having boundaries in place to protect his privacy, “other people blur the lines for you.” Due to this, he has to preemptively warn anyone he gets close to in a romantic sense. “Can you imagine,” he says, “going on a second date with someone and being like, ‘OK, there’s this corner of the thing, and they’re going to say this, and it’s going to be really crazy, and they’re going to be really mean, and it’s not real.… But anyway, what do you want to eat?’ ”

When they ask Wilde about her own experience with Styles’ fans, the interviewer notes, “Wilde is diplomatic”: she calls the majority of Styles’ fandom “deeply loving people,” then adds, “What I don’t understand about the cruelty you’re referencing is that that kind of toxic negativity is the antithesis of Harry, and everything he puts out there. I don’t personally believe the hateful energy defines his fan base at all. The majority of them are true champions of kindness.”