We idolize celebrities' impossibly glowing skin, their endless wardrobes, their flawless hair and their lives of leisure.
We also idolize their relationships.
Of the many Twitter hashtags that crop up during awards shows, #RelationshipGoals is a consistent favorite. At Sunday night's Academy Awards, David Burtka earned the hashtag praise while adjusting husband Neil Patrick Harris' bow tie, as did Chris Pratt helping wife Anna Faris with her dress hem. Twitter swooned over Adam Levine and wife Behati Prinsloo making googly eyes at each other, just as they do every time John Legend and Chrissy Teigen do just about anything.
We not only 'ship these romantic relationships — we want to imagine, if just for a moment, that relationships really can be that adorably perfect.
It's ironic that we swoon over celebrities' relationships, given how much we know about their flaws. For every tabloid magazine cover touting a lavish celebrity wedding or engagement bling, there are two more spilling the ugly details of a high-profile couple's divorce. We're not naïve to the challenges of coupledom, particularly the heightened challenges faced by couples in the bright glare of Hollywood.
And yet that doesn't stop up from obsessing over the relationships that appear happy and healthy and golden from the outside, regardless of whatever drama is going on (and let's face it, more often than not, there's drama going on) behind closed mansion doors.
It's no surprise that we swoon. When star couples come out on the red carpet, we're treated to the cute tidbits — the sweet compliment, the tie adjustment, the helping hand up the stairs, the giddy loving glance. Perfectly coiffed and coordinated, these beaming partners are at their best.
Moreover, they're the very people who fulfill our romantic ideals onscreen. Our ideas of romance come straight from Hollywood, from the against-all-odds love in movies like Casablanca to the power of love to overcome differences big and small in films like You've Got Mail and Grease. The actors play no small part in building up our expectations of romance, and then there they are, walking the red carpet, proving that those expectations can be met in real life.
But like so many other Hollywood-endorsed goals, we know a picture-perfect relationship not exactly attainable. Like bikini bodies, "clean" diets and Pinterest-perfect homes, relationship bliss is aspirational, representing the ideals we seem to never give up on, even as we continue to fall short.
And fall short we do, often. No relationship is perfect, as the oft-repeated divorce rates and those breakup headlines continually remind us. We aren't in denial. As Ben Affleck reminded everyone at the 2013 Oscars, even celebrity relationships are hard work. Rather, like our favorite movies, the adorable #RelationshipGoals moments are escapism, plain and simple.
But hey, that's what Hollywood is for, right?