Actor Leonardo DiCaprio finds himself receiving criticism from Gen Z across the internet today after repeat rumors of his new relationship with a 19 year old model went viral. The model in question is Eden Polani, who is originally from Israel. Polani and DiCaprio were photographed attending a party together, and the age gap was widely criticized.
People slam 48-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio over his “romance” with 19-year-old Eden Polani. pic.twitter.com/89VeaHYeX1
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) February 7, 2023
While the alleged relationship is not illegal, as Polani is over the age of 18, the ethics of the power dynamics at play turned heads. On Twitter, people pointed out actors with the same age gap–and how two such cases depict father-daughter dynamics in the popular shows Stranger Things and The Last of Us.
people with the same age gap as leonardo dicaprio and his new gf by the way pic.twitter.com/kCBR7ZTc9N
— jodie (@jodieegrace) February 7, 2023
Some pointed out that Polani was born after 9/11, and that her high school experience was impacted by COVID-19. It is likely that she could have even watched his film adaptation of Romeo+Juliet in a high school literature class. She was not born yet when many of his hit 90s films were released, including Titanic.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend is so young her high school experience was interrupted by COVID 19.
— Rohita Kadambi (@RohitaKadambi) February 6, 2023
When "Titanic" came out, Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriend was Negative 6.
— DJ ROB CHAMPION (@djrobchampion) February 7, 2023
The age gap baffled the masses. After years of a pop culture theory suggesting that DiCaprio would never date a woman over the age of 25, many never expected him to take it this far.
Dane Cook: I'm dating a 23 year old
Leonardo DiCaprio: hold my beer
Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriend: I can't
— Mohanad – Union Hall NY 3/12 (@MohanadElshieky) February 7, 2023
How Leonardo DiCaprio sees you at 24 vs 25 pic.twitter.com/8vsUkkr7Rg
— Shemes (@LOLShemes) January 31, 2023
On a professional level, some felt that DiCaprio’s dating habits hide a deeper disrespect for his female counterparts in the film world. DiCaprio has only ever worked with two female directors. Fans pointed to actors like Keanu Reeves, who also reached a new height of fame in the 90s, but continuously work with female directors and date women in their age range.
It’s not a coincidence that Leonardo DiCaprio has only worked with one female director. A middle-aged dude who keeps dating women under 23 doesn’t respect women. As always, be more like Keanu. pic.twitter.com/FA30GcFfYO
— Max Weiss (@maxthegirl) February 4, 2023
In shock at the absurdity of it all, some took to the internet to meme-ify the situation. DiCaprio and Polani were born into two vastly different generations, and Twitter did not hold back on observing this.
Leonardo DiCaprio fighting climate change to leave a better planet for his girlfriends pic.twitter.com/PVJEjMMoIv
— IG: Varyation (@VaryationIG) February 7, 2023
Leonardo DiCaprio meeting his next gf 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/MODORpbPXL
— Gia (@sarah_mkde) February 7, 2023
Others took a different look at the situation–that maybe older women are simply bored of DiCaprio’s habits and personality.
"Women get bored with Leonardo DiCaprio about when they hit their mid-20s" is an objectively funnier explanation.
— linkshund (@linkshund) February 7, 2023
While DiCaprio is allegedly not in a serious relationship with Polani, the social media frenzy alone was enough to reignite conversations surrounding age gap relationships in Hollywood. While many age gap relationships involving older men and younger women were previously brushed off or occasionally praised, the public changed their tune after Taylor Swift dropped All Too Well: The Short Film and her song “Would’ve, Could’ve Should’ve” from her latest album Midnights. Fans pointed out that DiCaprio would’ve never gotten away with his dating habits for as long as he has had he dated Taylor Swift.
As a society, we’re so lucky Leonardo DiCaprio never dated Taylor Swift.
— Rohita Kadambi (@RohitaKadambi) February 7, 2023
The songs allegedly chronicle her relationships with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, who is 9 years her senior, and musician John Mayer, who is 13 years her senior. The lyrics depict the lasting trauma of these relationships. Swift even cast actors Dylan O’Brien and Sadie Sink in her 2021 short film, as Sink is widely regarded as a child star following her role in Stranger Things and O’Brien is known for his roles in teen and young adult shows and movies, including Teen Wolf and Maze Runner.
Adding to the conversation surrounding age gap relationships, Demi Lovato’s song “29” details her relationship with actor Wilder Valerrama that began when she was 17 and he was 29. The song inspired a trend of women sharing their stories about negative experiences they had dating older men when they were in their teens and early 20s.
only once i turned 19 i realized how f*cked up this was
DiCaprio continues to shoot down the rumors across social media, but the rumors alone left the internet on high alert for future age gap relationships.