Chris Evans has been romantically linked to numerous A-listers, from Jessica Biel to Sandra Bullock, and yet, he’s never made headlines because of a nasty split. How is this possible? Turns out that Captain America is a real pro when it comes to handling love — and heartbreak.
As Vanity Fair once proclaimed, “Chris Evans is an extremely cool ex-boyfriend” and his on-again, off-again relationship (and eventual split) with actress Jenny Slate is the perfect example. Evans’ approach to dating highlights the importance of appreciating a relationship for what it is and not holding onto grudges if it ends. As the actor himself told Elle in 2017, “I’ve had no bad breakups in my life.”
Chris Evans and Jenny Slate first met at a “chemistry read” for Gifted in September 2015 and were so compatible, they were cast in the lead roles, playing romantic interests. Their connection was instant and not reserved to the big screen. As Slate told Variety, “I remember him saying to me, ‘You’re going to be one of my closest friends.’ I was just like, ‘Man, I f***ing hope this isn’t a lie, because I’m going to be devastated if this guy isn’t my friend.’”
Evans was true to his word, although Slate was reluctant at first. When the actor began organizing weekend game nights for the Gifted cast and crew, she admitted to Vulture that she found it “annoying.” Then she realized how deceiving first impressions and preconceived notions can be.
I first really liked Chris as a person because he is so unpretentious. He is a straight-up 35-year-old man who wants to play games. That’s it. I was like, ‘I’d better not discount this, because this is purity.’Jenny Slate to Vulture
Chris recalled how surprised Slate was when she finally saw the real him, telling Men’s Journal, “She was just like, ‘Man, you’re not like what I thought you were going to be. I can speak fluent bro, but I don’t consider myself one,” he elaborated.
I wear a hat, and I drink beer, and I like sports. But I was a big theater dork in high school, you know what I mean?Chris Evans to Men’s Journal
What’s more, he hasn’t let fame change him. So much so that he spends most of his time away from Hollywood in his native Massachusetts, close to family and friends. “I was never much of a ‘I can’t wait to leave this town’ kind of kid,” Evans admitted. “This is home to me. I have no desire to lay down roots somewhere else.”
Although Chris Evans and Jenny Slate didn’t fall in love on-set (Slate had just split from director Dean Fleischer-Camp), their genuine connection eventually turned into something more and, in May 2016, they began dating.
Yet again, Slate was skeptical. This time around, she wasn’t sure if their lifestyles would be compatible, given Evans’ A-list status and her more under-the-radar career.
“I didn’t think I was his type,” she confessed to Vulture. “Eventually, when it was like, ‘Oh, you have these feelings for me?,’ I was looking around like, ‘Is this a prank?’” she confessed.
I mean, I understand why I think I’m beautiful, but if you’ve had a certain lifestyle and I’m a very, very different type of person — I don’t want to be an experiment.Jenny Slate
She wasn’t (and Evans did a great job reassuring her of that), but the critical voice at the back of her head kept popping up. Noting that “we’re really, really different; Chris is a very, very famous person,” she explained.
“If you are a woman who really cares about her freedom, her rights, her sense of being an individual, it is confusing to go out with one of the most objectified people in the entire world.”
Especially when strangers would approach them in public “being like, ‘Oh my God, is that Chris Evans? He’s so hot!’ You’re like, ‘How dare you? That’s my boyfriend. But yes, he’s so hot.’” And while he was totally used to the spotlight, she wasn’t. “He’s not stressed,” she noted. “I was the person that was stressed.”
Despite once joking that “it’s kind of like I got my dream 7th grade boyfriend,” Slate’s dream man wasn’t actually the right man. The pair split in February 2017 after less than a year of dating “due to conflicting schedules.” It wasn’t just work (and differing lifestyles) that got in the way, however — their timing was also off.
As the actress told Vulture, she hadn’t properly healed from her divorce before opening her heart to Evans. “When Chris and I started dating, my husband and I had only been separated for a couple of months,” she told the outlet.
(Their divorce was actually finalized after she and Evans had already broken up.)
“Even though we had an amicable divorce, I think that’s still something that you need to mourn,” she continued, adding, “I just didn’t have the tools. And I didn’t think very hard about that, to be honest. I wanted to step into the light. Chris is a sunny, loving, really fun person, and I didn’t really understand why I should be prudent.”
And while they did briefly try their shot at love again in late 2017 — they were spotted spending time together in October, then celebrated Christmas with Evans’ family — Evans confirmed they were officially over in March 2018.
Evans has always embraced the fact that some relationships simply aren’t meant to last forever, which may be why he’s never had a messy split.
As he told Elle, when he bumps into an old flame in Hollywood, he doesn’t succumb to the all-too-common awkward avoidal. Instead, “if I see an ex, I give a big hug, and it’s wonderful to catch up,” he revealed.
If you’re ever fortunate enough to love someone and have them love you back, it’s worth protecting that. It’s rare that someone can truly know you. And if you’ve broken through that kind of wall, I think it’s important to value that.Chris Evans
Luckily, Slate shared the same outlook and when the pair walked the red carpet at the Gifted premiere following their breakup, they were as sweet and cordial as ever, shaking hands and laughing. Evans also sang his ex’s praises to the media, telling People, “She’s my favorite human. She’s the best.” Speaking with USA Today, he added, “You spend five minutes with her and you cannot find something bad to say about her if you tried.”
He also made it clear that he doesn’t believe in regretting the past. “You know, relationships are tricky, there are a lot of moving pieces,” he continued. “But I am endlessly grateful for having met her. She will be in my life always. We were both rooting for this. She’s an incredible human being, a very, very special person,” he concluded.
Slate also cherished the time they spent together, telling Vulture, “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 added, “He’s really vulnerable, and he’s really straightforward. He’s like primary colors. He has beautiful, big, strong emotions, and he’s really sure of them.”
It’s just wonderful to be around. His heart is probably golden-colored, if you could paint it.Jenny Slate
Having a healthy split doesn’t mean not grieving for the end of a relationship. As Slate admitted, while she and Evans remained friendly and respectful, they hadn’t “really seen each other, spoken a lot. I think it’s probably best,” she added.
I’d love to be his friend one day, but we threw down pretty hard. No regrets, though. Ever.Jenny SLate
So when she announced her engagement to writer and gallery curator Ben Shattuck in January 2020, it’s no surprise that Evans’ response was sweet, but short. A source told Us Weekly that he “holds no bad feelings towards her [and] is happy for her.”
He’s also not giving up on finding his own happily-ever-after. “I really want kids,” Evans told Men’s Journal.
“Yeah, I do. I like pretty pedestrian, domestic things. I want a wife, I want kids. I like ceremony. I want to carve pumpkins and decorate Christmas trees and s*** like that,” he joked.
The simple truth is that not all relationships are meant to last forever, but that doesn’t make them any less special. Sometimes, as people grow up, they grow apart, and it’s nobody’s fault.
While it’s easy to foster animosity towards an ex, Chris Evans’ refusal to diminish the value of a relationship just because it failed is a much better (and healthier) approach to dating. Instead of regretting a union, why not enjoy it for what it was, take the time you need to mourn its loss, then put yourself back out there again?
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