Camila Mendes was definitely acting against type when she gave Charles Melton the runaround.
Because while Veronica may have unintentionally toyed with Reggie's heart while still totally not over Archie on camera, off-screen she was a lot less conflicted.
"365 days. i love you," Mendes wrote on Instagram on Aug. 23, marking her and Melton's first anniversary as a couple, the Riverdale co-stars having fallen for each other on the set of the CW drama, which returns tonight for its fourth season. Melton echoed the sentiment on his page with a simple "I love you."
They don't overdo it on social media, reserving their couple pics for milestones, birthdays and date nights where they'd be having their picture taken anyway, like at the Met Gala. And unlike the frisky teenagers they play on TV, Melton and Mendes relish the drama-free life.
"I've always, always wanted nothing more than stability," Mendes told Women's Health this summer, opening up about the various reasons why it's so important to her to stick to a routine. At the same time, she knows life has its peaks and valleys, so she works extra hard on laying a strong foundation she can return to when the going gets rough.
"I've been living on such a high," she acknowledged. But it's not going to be up forever. There's going to be a plateau. And there's going to be a moment where it maybe goes down, and I need to be prepared for that."
Though they didn't broach the subject in that interview, part of that high has been her relationship with Melton, whom she met when Riverdale began in 2017. At first they were just friends (and she was dating someone else), but in the summer of 2018, that all changed.
In May, congratulating her boyfriend on the premiere of his latest movie, the YA romance The Sun Is Also a Star, Mendes shared some of the reasons why Melton had captured her heart.
"Aside from having the biggest heart out of anyone i know," she wrote on Instagram (per Teen Vogue), "his passion and tenacity are part of the reason i fell in love with him. watching him throw his entire heart and soul into this story of love taught me a lot about the kind of person he is.
"i'm probably sharing too much, but before we started dating he'd often get mad at me for trying to bring logic into love. he taught me that love doesn't have an explanation, it either exists or it doesn't."
While her feelings about Melton aren't mixed at all, she has struggled a bit over the past year finding the right balance between going about her life and saying what she feels like, as she sees fit, and the need to keep her cards off the table, because of the big spotlight she's operating in (which is only going to get brighter now that the fall TV season is once again upon us).
"I feel silly responding to this but I also feel the impulse to tell you that you're wrong," Mendes, taking the time to set the record straight when a way-too-concerned "fan" opined that she looked happier with her ex than with Melton, wrote on Instagram last November. "I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. It's absurd to me that you call yourself a fan, yet your entire page is dedicated to disrespecting my relationship and my boyfriend, both of which you clearly know nothing about."
Such is that co-star couple life, people end up feeling doubly invested.
The actors ended up having weeks to themselves before an eagle-eyed observer saw them kissing at the movies in Vancouver, where Riverdale is filmed, a romantic confirmation after several sightings of just the two of them (plus some fans who wanted selfies) were reported.
But even then, they were at the theater with Lili Reinhart and Casey Cott, so technically it was still a group outing.
Mendes eventually did away with the last shred of doubt when she shared a very sweet photo last October and captioned it "mine." Which is exactly what Melton wrote when he shared a pic of them getting ready for the NFL Honors gala in February.
Are they on the same page or what?
And maybe people were picking a favorite Riverdale couple like they were filling out a March Madness bracket, or had once again mistaken TV for reality and were extra heartbroken when Archie dumped Veronica, but enough social media relationship analysts made comments about their relationship to send Mendes flying to the I-don't-care-what-you-think zone.
"I'm not a private person," she told Teen Vogue this spring. "I don't like hiding. But the more I get used to this lifestyle the more I reevaluate what I want to share and what I don't."
Still, she acknowledged that, so long as she was inclined to provide a little peek behind the curtain every once in awhile, that meant there would be an open forum should her love life take an unfortunate turn.
Should she and Melton break up for instance, Mendes added, "that's a part of life. I wouldn't be embarrassed about it. It happens."
But in the meantime, "I know I'm happy, and I know where I am in my life, so I'm going to let [people on Twitter] say whatever they want. Why should I care?"
Regardless, the couple does seem to be taking the less-is-more approach, letting the passage of time (14 months together and counting) speak for itself.
While doing press for The Sun Is Also a Star, which he co-starred in with Yara Shahidi, Melton was inevitably peppered with questions about real-life romantic gestures and whether or not Mendes was a beneficiary, but the 28-year-old was giving little away, even saying that his character was more romantic than he was because he's not "as jaded by his circumstances."
As it turned out, he was selling himself short.
"He's a hopeless romantic, for sure," Mendes told ET at the film's premiere in May, where she called being able to be out there supporting a project he had been so excited about "a beautiful thing." (And, not surprisingly, she said she'd keep the most romantic thing she'd ever done for him to herself.)
Melton, who grew up in Kansas, did reveal that he's a love letter kind of guy. And not only does he write them—he mails them.
"There's a method to it, you know," he shared with E! News. "I put the date, the specific time and exactly what I'm doing, put it in the letter. [Then] you go on a little scavenger hunt to find a stamp somewhere."
Instead of dish too much on his own suave moves, Melton cited his father surprising his mother with hot and sour soup from the Golden Wok Buffet restaurant near their house in Kansas as a considerate gesture he admired.
"He gets it for her randomly," Melton explained, "and it's just that little act of him going out of his way and bringing it to her, and just seeing her so happy—it's very romantic."
Incidentally, he also told Glamour that Mendes' smile was the first thing he noticed about her.