Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor: What is their age gap? How couple went from Twitter DMs to 5-year romance
From dating different people when they first met to Taylor sliding into Paulson's DMs, the couple is all about normalizing age gaps in relationships
It is Holland Taylor's birthday and Sarah Paulson can't keep calm. Dubbed as one of Hollywood's 'It Couples', the Ryan Murphy muses from his latest Netflix dramas 'Ratched' and 'Hollywood', are as adorable as it gets. Don't let their decision to stay in their separate homes during the Covid-19 lockdown fool you into assuming there's trouble in their five-year-old paradise The couple that first sparked dating rumors in 2015, have now grown into one of the most age-gap normalizing relationships. But they were already subtly giving critics the virtual middle finger with their 32-year age gap before Florence Pugh went off about her and Zach Braff's haters. And all of this started like a fairytale Hollywood dream: by locking eyes at a party.
How Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor met
It all started in 2005, when Paulson was dating actress Cherry Jones and at a party, she had just "probably the most exquisitely beautiful woman" she'd ever seen, as she told The New York Times in 2016. While Taylor's past relationships are still a mystery to the media, it wasn't until a decade later in 2015, that the 'Two and a Half' men actress would go on to, what the cool kids say, 'slide into Paulson's DMs'. Although, she did that after they became mutual followers on Twitter following their stint together in a PSA for Martha Plimpton's women's rights organization that year.
Speaking of how it progressed, Paulson once said in a 2019 episode of 'Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen', "It's a long story. We met a very, very long time ago. I was with someone else; she was, too. We sort of breezed by one another, and then started following each other on Twitter, and then … " This is when fellow guest Billy Eichner clarified, "Holland Taylor slid into your DMs?" And Paulson confirmed "She actually did. Yeah, it's pretty great."
Back in 2015, after the excange that went from DMs to hearts, Taylor finally adressed her love life and the age gap, dropping both bombshells in an interview with the public-radio station WNYC. "There's a very big age difference between us which I'm sure shocks a lot of people, and it startles me," Taylor said, keeping Paulson's name undisclosed. "But as they say, 'If she dies, she dies.'" the topic of marriage came up too, as Taylor admitted: "I would not do that publicly. My relationship is with a woman, and I have not — given my generation it would not be something that would automatically occur to me. But she's mentioned it because just from a spiritual point of view, from a heart point of view ... as a deed that has a very rich symbolic gesture to it, it has its attraction."
When captions fail... pic.twitter.com/b6ECRSA6D3— Holland Taylor (@HollandTaylor) November 17, 2015
Happiest Birthday to @HollandTaylor my most favorite human... No one is more deeply grateful that you were born than I— Sarah Paulson (@MsSarahPaulson) January 14, 2016
Next came a photo tweet from Taylor that saw Paulson in a dazzling gown, alongside the caption "When captions fail ..." And by the end of 2015, Entertainment Tonight confirmed the relationship once Paulson reacted to Taylor's work in 'Ripcord' in Manhattan, tweeting how her girlfriend was her favourite actress, and later in a birthday tweet she wrote: "Happiest Birthday to @HollandTaylor my most favorite human. No one is more deeply grateful that you were born than I."
First public appearances together
From attending musicals like 'School of Rock' to holding hands watching a Broadway performance of 'Fiddler on the Roof', the couple finally made their red-carpet debut in January 2016 when Paulson was nominated for best supporting actress in a limited series for her role on 'American Horror Story: Hotel' at the Critic's Choice Awards.
"My choices in romantic partners have not been conventional, and therefore the idea that it's 'other' makes it compelling," Paulson told The New York Times in March 2016. Opening up about her relationship to the press for the first time, she said: "If my life choices had to be predicted based on what was expected from me from a community on either side, that's going to make me feel really straitjacketed, and I don't want to feel that … what I can say absolutely is that I am in love, and that person happens to be Holland Taylor." She explained the age difference working for them too, noting: "I think there's a greater appreciation of time and what you have together and what's important, and it can make the little things seem very small. I can't say it any other way than there's a poignancy to it, and a heightened sense of time and the value of time."
If I'm watching...?? If I'm WATCHING???— Holland Taylor (@HollandTaylor) September 18, 2016
YES, I'm watching--!!!
good LORD! ...
I LOVE you!!! pic.twitter.com/63341mz81C
After that it was cuteness galore for the couple as Paulson told E! News in a red carpet inerview "Hi, Holland — Holland Taylor, if you're watching, I love you." Taylor responded to that with a tweet, writing: "If I'm watching … ?? If I'm WATCHING??? YES, I'm watching — !!! good LORD! … I LOVE you!!!" The actress also said told Sirius XM's 'Sandyland' host Sandra Bernhard: "I'm the luckiest person in the world," she said. "I can't talk about my life today and not mention this wonderful love. The relationship] has to be part of what is the most wonderful thing in my life. The whole embrace of this wonderful relationship, which makes everything else makes sense."
Comments on their 32-year age gap
By December 2017, Paulson was getting sick of the age gap comments as she told The Edit, "I'm with a much older person and people find that totally fascinating and odd, and, to me, it's the least interesting thing about me. I am a woman of a certain age who chose not to have children, and who has made my career my priority. I am the captain of my own ship, and I've never looked to anyone else to validate that, or tell me it's OK."
She told Town & Country in January 2018: "I do not want to be defined by who I share my bed, my home, my soul with. My choices in life have been unconventional, and that's my business." Expressing hope that their relationship helps erase some of the public stigma surrounding age gaps, she said: "I do want to live responsibly and truthfully without hiding. It's complicated, because there is a lot of hate in this world, and a lot of good can come from quote-unquote normalizing something for people who don't see it as normal. Our relationship represents a certain amount of hope and risk. Maybe there's something brave in it. Maybe it encourages others to make brave choices. What else can I say? We love each other."
When Taylor spoke to InStyle in March that year, she addresd how absurd having this pubic attention to her relationship was. "I was blindsided by the reaction to it. I'm from an older generation and for me it's quite surprising how people talk about personal things of any kind in the press. It's not natural to me. That doesn't mean it's not good, it's just taken some adjusting. And Sarah, of course, is from a different generation, she's very much of today. It was hard for me at first to go through that membrane of being a private person. But it's been good for me to do it in such a lovely way."
Paulson told Elle in Octobr that she is still hopeful their relationship is inspirational to others. "I didn't choose to fall in love with the person I fell in love with. But I think why it's interesting to people is that on paper, it's unconventional. For a person who might find themselves in a situation that they fear will be misperceived or judged, maybe they could see me living my life in a way that is authentic to me — just trying to be as real as possible. If that inspires anybody else, that can't be a bad thing."
Couple goals on social media
By January 2019, they were sharing New Years greetings on Instagram with photos in party hats, together, and in a year, Taylor was quipping about how "it's kind of a mystery" to her why Paulson is still with her. "I'm surprised by Sarah. I mean, that we love each other and respond to each other this way is not the surprise, but that she would make a commitment like this and that she would share her life with me is a constant surprise every day really," she told Us Wekly in January 2020, adding that Paulson is "at the center of her life." She said: "A big age span is a challenge to any relationship. And she's just very brave. She's very brave and she is very truthful and she's going to live her truth. And so I basically am following her lead and I'm blessed.
Paulson and Taylor attended the virtual 2020 Emmy Awards together, and soon after, Harper's Bazaar published an interview where Paulson discussed how the public was still so taken by their age gap. She called it "our own ageist thinking and the idea that to be old is to cease to have any desire." Shutting down critics for once and for all, she said: "Anybody says anything about any person I love in a way that is disrespectful or cruel and I want to cut a b----."
But it's all smiles and celebrations right now as Taylor celebrates her 78th birthday with Paulson sharing on Instagram "All roads lead me to this face, those eyes, that soul. You are, quite simply- everything to me. Here’s looking at you, kid. Today. Tomorrow. Always. (If you don’t like this picture, you are an idiot, so don’t get mad when you see it. I even made it black and white since you prefer it. So shhhhhh. It’s a perfect picture of a perfect person) HAPPY BIRTHDAY DARLING."