What's it like to date one of the world's most famous and controversial women?
Jack Antonoff speaks about his relationship with the global feminist pin-up Lena Dunham.
Published 16/07/2014 | 00:00
What's it like dating one of the most famous and controversial women on television? Jack Antonoff shrugs. He tries not to think about his relationship with Girls' creator Lena Dunham in those terms. To him she is Lena Dunham, girlfriend. Not Lena Dunham, global feminist pin-up.
"That's the world we live in right now," says the New Yorker, a chart-topping musician in his own right. "There are only certain things I can control. Stuff I can't control, I don't give a f*** about it."
It's an admirable stance. Still, you wonder how well it holds up in the unforgiving glare of reality. When Antonoff and Dunham are aggressively papped taking a stroll or out for coffee - it has happened repeatedly - surely his glacier-like diffidence melts a little?
"I'm very lucky - I get to make music and write songs and share them with people all over the world. I can't have that and not have the other part; the other parts pale in comparison to the experience of having an audience."
Unlike many celebrity couples, Antonoff and Dunham do not engage in the tiresome ruse of never being photographed together. They're a couple, they hang out - eventually, they hope, the world will wrap its head around the fact.
Such is Antonoff's nonchalance towards media prurience, he actually tapped Dunham to direct one of his videos, thus breaking the cardinal rule of celeb dating: thou shalt not work with thy significant other.
"I thought about [not collaborating with Dunham]. Then it occurred to me that I shouldn't make mistakes based on all the crap. I wanted to work with one of my favourite people in the world. I'm not going to not do that because people on the internet are focused on my relationship."
Antonoff, who plays guitar in the band fun [they insist on the lower case 'f'] and has a new project, Bleachers, was still living at his parents' place in Brooklyn when fun achieved a worldwide number one with the single We Are Young and, though now moved out, hangs out at home all the time.
On the road, he tends to retreat to his bed - not with a bevy of groupies but with his laptop, feverishly toiling over new songs.
"I never felt the need to move out of home," he says. "Even today, I never leave my house."
He can be obsessive, sometimes dangerously so. Antonoff nearly died during the recording of fun's last album. Run down and not eating properly, he contracted pneumonia and collapsed in the studio. Doctors told him his life had been in imminent danger.
"After that, I made a really big effort to take care of myself. I was only thinking about work."
Bleachers have just brought out a new single and their soon-to-be-released album features a duet with Yoko Ono. "I was working on a song and kept thinking: 'This should be a Yoko Ono vocal part. Then I thought, well, f*** it - I'll send it to her. She recorded all this crazy screaming stuff - she is very eccentric, extremely uninhibited. I love being around people like that."
Bleachers new single 'I Wanna Get Better' is out now.