With a flash of red hair and flawless comic timing, Emma Stone first came to our attention in teen movies like Easy A and The House Bunny, before making a household name for herself as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man.
However, her lasting appeal has to come down to her pure likeability and ability to maintain an enigmatic level of privacy, despite a permanent paparazzi following. So don’t expect to find her sharing her quick wit on Instagram or Twitter. In fact she’s positively against social media, declaring it a “very modern version of keeping up with the Joneses”.
“It’s that need to be liked, that need to be seen, that need to be validated, in a way, through no one that you know,” she says. “And so people ask the question about fame, or what it feels like, and it seems as if everybody knows what that feels like. It seems like everyone’s cultivating their lives on Instagram or on different forms of social media, and what pictures look best of their day.”
The past few years have seen the actress – who at just shy of 27 already has an impressive 30 movies under her belt – move from comedy to more serious dramas. She’s fast becoming a Woody Allen muse and he’s even dubbed her the next Diane Keaton, applauding her remarkable versatility. Here we explore exactly what makes everyone an Emma fan.
Low-key love life
While you’ll frequently see them on the red carpet together, or out and about in Los Angeles and New York, Emma Stone and her boyfriend of four years, The Amazing Spider-Man co-star Andrew Garfield, are not an in-your-face Hollywood couple. Although that hasn’t stopped the 32-year-old Brit from gushing about his girlfriend when prompted by the press. “I will write a book one day about how I feel about every aspect of Emily Stone,” he said in one interview, using her given name. “She’s a full genius, or she has found her genius and she’s doing it so beautifully – I think everyone who works with her, everyone who brushes shoulders with her or even makes eye contact with her gets a shot of sunshine.”
The pair met on the The Amazing Spider-Man set back in 2010, but it wasn’t until after Emma separated from her then boyfriend Kieran Culkin that romance blossomed in June the following year. Then in October last year rumours that they were engaged spread, followed by reports that they had split. In April the red-headed actress (who is naturally blonde) – seemingly aware of the break-up rumours surrounding herself and Andrew – stepped out of their shared stylist’s offices holding a paper bag labelled with his name.
In an attempt to get an answer from the remarkably private star Wall Street Journal Magazine asked Emma outright in its June issue, “What’s going on with you and Andrew and that bag?” and they received a suitably cryptic response. “When I picked up the bag, I was like, ‘This is kind of funny if there are any [paparazzi] out there’,” she said. “There’s probably some rebelliousness that comes out in me after all these stories and people texting you for weeks about something that, for the most part, is not true. But even when it’s false, I would rather just let it be false.”
So are they together? While in Hollywood you can never be sure, for the moment it seems the couple are very much on and they were spotted on a lunch date recently in Los Angeles.
Keeping it real
Playing with the paparazzi is something Emma and Andrew have done in the past, most notably by holding up signs when they knew they’d be photographed. “We just found out that there are paparazzi outside the restaurant we’re eating in. So why not take this…” Emma’s sign read. While Andrew’s continued, “Opportunity to bring attention to organizations that need and deserve it? www.wwo.org [the Worldwide Orphans’ website], www.gildasclubnyc.org [Gilda’s Club is a cancer patient support organisation]. Have a great day!”
Keeping her personal life private is obviously very important to the actress. “For me, I value privacy so much and I understand why I need to talk about the work, the films and all of that, but it’s incredibly hard to reveal stuff about my life, so it makes me feel pretty boring and very protective,” she said in an interview early this year. “I wish I could just let it go and be like, ‘Oh whatever’ – but I can’t. I’m a Scorpio. Maybe it’s something to do with that.”
Although she is firmly in the A-list set, she is committed to staying down to earth, and privacy is a large part of that. “I realise I have a lot of amazing opportunities, but I don’t know how you can play a human being going through real human experiences without being able to walk down the street. If you can’t live a real life, how do you play a real person? If you live your life on a film set, how the hell can you relate to real people? You don’t know what it’s like to not have people fussing over you all day, and that’s not life – that’s silly movies. I will always want to take breaks.”
An ascending star
Born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to a homemaker mother and business-owner father, Stone made her stage debut in her local youth theatre in a production of The Wind in the Willows. Deciding at the age of 15 to make acting her career, she pitched a Hollywood-themed PowerPoint presentation to her parents, lobbying to be allowed to drop out of school and move to LA to make a name for herself. The rest is history, and her professional career began with a firm comedy focus in goofball movies like Superbad and The House Bunny.
Part of what makes Emma so likeable is her ability to send herself up, and it’s a trait she respects in her peers. “The female comedians I admire are the bravest people who aren’t afraid to look ridiculous,” she says. “Maybe that’s a harder notion for women – the fear of not looking their best.” However, since her stint on superhero franchise The Amazing Spider-Man, the actress has been completely focused on drama and Oscar-worthy roles, leading to her Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman.
“Well, this is surreal. I am completely knocked out,” the typically humble actress said when receiving the nomination. While the award went to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, it’s clear that Emma Stone is just at the beginning of a stellar career. And this is a view shared by iconic director Woody Allen. “She’s so good in everything,” the 79-year-old director, who worked with Emma on Magic in the Moonlight and Irrational Man, said. “I see a lot of the best traits of Diane Keaton in her – Keaton was someone who could be in The Godfather and movies with Meryl Streep but also do comedy and sing and dance. I think Emma has the potential to be one of the biggest female stars for years.”
The stage presence and versatility Woody Allen admires is something that’s easy to see in her varied body of work – from lending her voice to animated adventure The Croods, to dazzling on Broadway in Cabaret.
There is no doubt that Emma Stone is supremely popular, and when she is not dominating stage and screen, she counts fellow starlet Taylor Swift among her close friends.
“Friendship is the core of any relationship – whether it’s a love relationship, a family relationship or a friendship,” she says. “It’s the most important thing we can be with each other as human beings – understanding one another… I’ve had hugely important friendships. There are childhood friends who are still a big part of my life and people I don’t see so much but they are still important too.
“As time goes on, you work with people or meet people socially who become mentors or true friends or love interests in your life, and all those people are so formative and key to your existence – as they say, no man is an island.”
A private affair
Rumours of break-ups and engagements keep doing the rounds, but Emma and Andrew Garfield remain silent on their relationship. Indeed on one occasion this year they took full advantage of the public interest and paparazzi focus by holding up signs to promote two charitable organisations.
Red carpet style
Emma is consistently on the best-dressed list at award shows with outfits that are sophisticated yet age-appropriate.
Having made her name in films like Easy A and The Amazing Spider-Man, Emma proved her versatility in the grittier role of a recovering addict in Birdman.
The actress has several high-profile friends including Taylor Swift and Ryan Gosling, but insists that some of her childhood friends are still a big part of her life.