Florence Pugh is feeling the birthday love!
The Midsommer star kicked off the New Year with a sweet message from her boyfriend Zach Braff.
“Happy Birthday to the most fun person I’ve ever met,” the Scrubs alum began his Instagram tribute on Sunday, Jan. 3. “I would have felt blessed to have smiled with your [sic] for one night. I can’t believe I get to giggle with you everyday [sic]. What a pleasure it is to know you. What a gift to the world it was that you were born.”
The 45-year-old actor shared a series of images that captured special moments from their relationship, like some from their outdoor adventures and travels.
Shortly after, Florence reposted Zach’s message to her Instagram Stories and captioned it with a red heart emoji.
The birthday girl, who turned 25, also uploaded a few clips that showed her plans for the day, which included dancing along to her favorite music with two massive gold balloons in the background. “It’s my birthday,” she wrote.
Florence and Zach first sparked romance rumors in April 2019 after they were spotted holding hands and getting cozy. The duo has mostly kept their relationship private, however, last year they publicly addressed the criticism over their 21-year age difference.
After posting a birthday tribute to the actor in April 2020, the Little Women star spoke out about the comments she received from her message, which she described as “horrid” and “hateful.”
“I will not allow that behavior on my page,” she said in an IGTV at the time. “I’m not about that. It makes me upset. It makes me sad that during this time when we really all need to be together, we need to be supporting one another, we need to be loving one another. The world is aching and the world is dying and a few of you decided to bully for no reason.”
The actress explained that she was old enough to make decisions for herself.
“I’m 24-years-old. I have been working since I was 17-years-old,” she noted. “I have been earning money since I was 17-years-old. I became an adult when I was 18-years-old and I started paying taxes when I was 18-years-old. I do not need you to tell me who I should and should not love, and I would never in my life ever, ever tell someone who they can and cannot love.”
Simply put, she added, “It is not your place. It has nothing to do with you.”
Florence then told her fans she didn’t want to see any more negative comments, saying, “The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you’re throwing at me, and I don’t want those followers… I don’t want that on my page.”
“It’s embarrassing,” she continued, “it’s sad and I don’t know when cyber bullying became trendy.”
Three months later, the British star opened up even more about how the backlash over her relationship made her feel.
“I’ve always found it funny, how I can be good enough for people to watch my work, and support my work, and pay for tickets, and I’m old enough to be an adult and pay taxes, but I’m not old enough to know who I should and should not have sex with,” she said on the July 2020 podcast episode of Sue Perkins: An Hour of So With.
“Once again, [it’s] making a young woman feel like s–t for no reason,” she went on. “I think I did feel s–t for awhile about admitting that, and then I thought, ‘How ridiculous is that?’ I’m 24 and I can’t choose who I love?… There’s a reason why I’m not with someone my age—It hasn’t worked. So who are you trying to match me up with?”
Although Florence understands why people are interested in her personal life, she admitted that it still feels strange to have strangers criticize her romance.
“People want to have a say on who you go out with, where you go to lunch. And I think for me, I’ve just always found that part of this life—even when I grew up watching actresses—I’ve always found that weird how people have a say over your private life,” she expressed. “The fact is I’m not a reality TV star, I don’t let people into my life like that.”