The level of privacy that these two decided to operate on marked a whole new chapter in the never-to-be-finished book of how celebrities come together and become couples, their decision to hide in plain sight and deny-deny-deny for almost four years making perfect sense sometimes and no sense at all at others.
But maybe it's these times we're living in, or perhaps it's just that some years have passed (and it's now been more than five since Holmes' divorce from Tom Cruise), their kids are growing up, they themselves are growing up—and ultimately what does it really matter, anyway—because now Holmes and Foxx seem to be easing the tight grip they've had on their own narrative.
Not that much, but definitely a little. At least at this point, it would've been far more noticeable if Holmes had missed her guy's 50th birthday party.
Not that there's really ever an "of course" with these two, but of course Holmes was in attendance last night at Foxx's birthday bash on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. The studio set was made up to look like a LIV on Sundays party at the famed Miami nightclub. Holmes first joined Foxx for a group dinner at The Highlight Room, which commands a dramatic view of the city, and then they left together for Paramount Studios, where Katie "looked on as Jamie gave speeches and danced with his friends," according to a source.
Another insider told E! News, "She seemed like she was in a great mood...Katie wasn't going to miss this night."
Birthday celebrations have been more of a constant for the pair, whose sporadic sightings together have otherwise had very little rhyme or reason as far as timing goes. (Their birthdays also happen to be just five days apart, Foxx's on Dec. 13 and Holmes' on Dec. 15.)
In 2015, just a couple of months after Holmes reportedly donned a wig to up the chances of meet-up with Foxx in New York being incognito (it was a valiant effort), she joined several of Foxx's pals in throwing him a party for the Oscar winner's 48th birthday at Manhattan restaurant Le Bilboquet.
And last December, once again after another year of noncommittal public behavior, they reportedly went to Mexico on vacation together. So their priorities seem to have been in order for some time as far as what they expect from each other, regardless of how little they've wanted to crack open their inner circle and let the world in.
Yet for a reason that is likely to remain unexplained for the foreseeable future, Foxx and Holmes finally did allow themselves to be photographed (we give all the credit to them, because we know for a fact they can avoid getting caught on camera together) walking hand in hand on the beach in Malibu over Labor Day weekend.
It's impossible to say for certain why these two grown-up, successful people spent the first two years of their relationship (or, to give them a little benefit of the doubt, the first two years of their blossoming friendship) acting as if the other didn't exist.
Taking it slow, that's understandable.
Holmes' daughter, Suri, was only 6 when her parents split up. (She's 11 now, an easier age to have more serious mother-daughter chats with.) Holmes and Foxx seemed to have met in the first place through Cruise, who co-starred with Foxx in the 2004 thriller Collateral. That was a couple of years before Cruise and Holmes burst on the scene as a couple with a proverbial brass band's worth of fanfare, but they were all photographed together on the sidelines at a football game in 2006.
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Holmes and Cruise divorced in June 2012, accompanied by stories of an iron-clad prenup and no post-split analysis of what went wrong whatsoever. (As agreed upon in the prenup, perhaps.)
Rumors of Foxx and Holmes' romantic association commenced in August 2013, when they both danced onstage at a charity event in the Hamptons, arms casually but comfortably slung around each other's shoulders. Foxx maintained that they were just friends whenever asked (and he was always being asked), and obviously Holmes had a whole other none-too-distant past to shed as the ex-wife of one of Hollywood's biggest, most inscrutable stars.
Holmes had just gotten out of one relationship that had defined her entire persona for the previous six years (not to mention altered her career trajectory), so she surely didn't want to jump right into another twosome that would also inevitably dominate the Katie Holmes headlines.
She couldn't help that even just a rumored relationship would serve the same effect, but she stood her ground and ultimately, when she got into the single-parenting groove with Suri, sat down for interviews and attended events, became the first-ever celebrity face of Bobbi Brown, returned to acting and directed her first film—at the end of the day it was just about her.
But now, as we said...some time has gone by.
Foxx has kept himself pretty busy over the years, dividing his time between movies (his most recent was the hit Baby Driver) and music (he released his fifth studio album, Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses in 2015 and earlier this year joined Barbra Streisandonstage for a duet that was featured in her Netflix concert film The Music… The Mem'ries… The Magic!). As for the personal stuff, his now 23-year-old daughter Corinne was Miss Golden Globe last year, and his younger daughter Annalise turned 8 in August.
And though Katie still ducked when the cameras found her en route from one Foxx birthday party location to another last night, they've come a long way from that first spotlit dance (while surrounded other people).
Over the past four years they've evolved from "100 percent not true" and "quite hilarious" to "just friends" to "not about to run off and make some serious commitment" to Holmes telling the New York Times a year ago "no, I'm not married, but thank you for asking."
A source told E! News in August that the couple, while they had no plans to ever talk about their relationship, remained "really happy." And, incidentally, that their relationship is "easy."
See, carefully coordinating arrival times and steering clear of sneaky camera phones and making sure you only share your relationship status with the most trustworthy people imaginable may seem like a pain. A lot of effort to put into what could just turn into a regular, red carpet-walking relationship tomorrow if they so desired.
But doing it this way has worked for them. And while they don't seem to mind so much anymore about you knowing that they enjoy the pleasure of each other's company, they both agree that that's all you need to know.