How Kate Beckinsale Is Helping Pete Davidson Survive His Big Breakup

The Saturday Night Live comic is bouncing back from his Ariana Grande split in a big way with a new film, fresh material and a promising romance.

By Sarah Grossbart Feb 05, 2019 11:00 AMTags
Pete Davidson, SNL, Saturday Night LiveWill Heath/NBC

Pete Davidson has learned the hard way that you can go home again. 

This summer he was riding high, living it up at the $16 million 4,000-square-foot loft fiancée Ariana Grande had shelled out for in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood. Equipped with five bedrooms but no furniture, save for some six bean bag chairs, as Davidson shared with GQ, it was the perfect spot to play house and a pretty sweet deal for the Saturday Night Live comedian who joked on the sketch show's Weekend Update segment, "She pays 60 grand for rent and all I have to do is stock the fridge."

But when their whirlwind engagement unraveled last October just as quickly as it came together, he was left searching for a new arrangement. "Does anybody have any open rooms?" he cracked while co-hosting a benefit performance for the get-out-the-vote organization Swing Left in West Hollywood Oct. 20. "Looking for a roommate?"

In the end, there was just one taker with Amy Waters Davidson opening up the doors of her home on New York's Staten Island. As the comic put it, "I had to move back in with my mom." 

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Not as though that's cramped his style. Nearly four months after his high-profile split that sparked the expected headlines and at least one hit song, the 25-year-old isn't just making the comedy club rounds, he's fully back in the relationship circuit with one source telling E! News he's "dating again." 

For the man once most famous for being SNL's youngest cast member, that doesn't just mean taking a swipe or two at Tinder. Rather, his bounce back game involves romancing one of Hollywood's most eligible bachelorettes. A University of Oxford-educated thespian, Kate Beckinsale has talent, a successful movie franchise, the type of looks that tend to earn her a reserved spot on most beautiful lists and, as evidenced by her Instagram feed, a sharp wit.

And, as of late, Davidson is the one she's choosing to share it with. "Kate thinks he's the sweetest and nicest guy," a source tells E! News. On paper, the twentysomething comedian, who spent two years with writer-producer Cazzie David, 24, before dating Grande, and the seasoned actress, mom to 20-year-old daughter Lily Sheen with actor ex Michael Sheen, "may seem like an unlikely match," admits the source. "But she thinks he's great and she just loves all the laughs she has with him."


Such levity has been the hallmark of their coupling thus far, with a Beckinsale insider noting, "She has fun and doesn't take anything too seriously. She has spent some time with him and thinks he's very funny and charming. Its definitely not anything intense."

So, just the sort of set-up one might want when re-emerging from the post-breakup funk. In the early post-Grande days, Davidson appeared to be applying a tried-and-true method, employing the same gallows humor that he's used to deal with life's other obstacles. He's cracked jokes about dealing with Crohn's disease and borderline personality disorder and he's found that nothing has helped him handle losing his father in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks quite like dark comedy.

"When my dad died, I had to go to therapy," Davidson told Interview magazine in early 2015. "My therapist was Afghan. He would be like, 'How do you think your dad died?' I always wanted to be like, 'Why don't you tell me, man? I know you know.' Five people will laugh [when I tell this joke], and the rest will be like, 'Hmmmm, no.' But it's f--kin' funny! Things that I feel really sad about, I talk about. That way, if it's funny, it doesn't hurt anymore." 

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So as he got back to work, returning both to SNL and the standup circuit, he saved his most pointed barbs for himself and his failed relationship. He talked about his now out-of-date tattoos and his much-discussed Big Dick Energy, a phenomenon he believes Grande, 25, crafted to haunt him. "You sit back and you're like, 'Why?' Why would a girl who knows this information break up with a guy, set him loose, make him kind of famous and then be like, 'He has a huge dick?' Why would you do that?" he shared during a Jan. 14. set in Brooklyn. "It's so that every girl who f--ks me for the rest of my life is disappointed. It's genius! Sick! F--king sick!"

He even took a swipe at his dismal engagement track record during an SNL promo, proposing to musical guest Maggie Rogers in a bit that reportedly left Grande fuming, feeling he'd violated their agreement to keep things civil and, most importantly, silent. 

But, as a source noted to E! News, such self-deprecation is an important part of his healing process: "Pete's way of dealing with a breakup is through jokes." 


And it seemed to be working just fine, Davidson even weathering the Grande-penned diss track that left him bracing for the worst. "That s--t came out before I had to put on a f--king duck hat and be like, 'derrrp here's the pizza!'" he recalled of "Thank U, Next" during his New Year's Eve show in Boston. So with his friends already gathered in his dressing room, "I was like, 'We have to listen to it and you all have to look at me. Eyes up here, it's going to be rough.'"  

And then it just...wasn't. While he noted "that G named all of us," his verse—"Even almost got married/And for Pete, I'm so thankful,"—was decidedly complimentary. "We're like, 'OK, it's not that bad for you.'" 

Feeling relieved, he took to the stage to deliver what he thought would be the final chapter in their love story, a five-month saga that had become a through-line on the NBC variety show. "I know some of you are curious about the breakup, but the truth is, it's nobody's business and sometimes things just don't work out, and that's OK," he said during Weekend Update. "She's a wonderful, strong person and I genuinely wish her all the happiness in the world."

NBC; Getty Images

For a beat it seemed that could really be the period at the end of their sentence, Davidson later sharing his goal was to get "this s--t all to end. Basically, I just wanted to be able to do drugs in public again, OK? That's all I want. I want to be able to be s--t-faced in public again and not be bothered."

But the Internet is a cold place and the keyboard warriors often a heartless bunch and by mid-December, Davidson had hit a bit of a breaking point. "I really don't want to be on this earth anymore. I'm doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don't know how much longer I can last," he wrote on Instagram before shutting his account down. 

The cry for help was a terrifying, if momentary, lapse in Davidson's healing, one that led Grande to turn up outside the SNL studios and hordes of other pals to reach out. "Pete was alone and in a very dire place when he posted," a  source told E! News. "He has been with friends ever since and they are trying to help him get through this."

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Among those key squad members was Machine Gun Kelly, the rapper having formed an instant connection with Davidson on the Syracuse set of their film Big Time Adolescence last summer. Upon spying the missive, the Ohio-bred musician hopped a cross-country flight to by by Davidson's side in NYC, tweeting, "Gonna make sure he's good, I promise. Can't have my boy in the darkness like that." 

He's provided the light ever since, scoring Davidson tickets to his Cleveland concert, joining him at a Denver Nuggets game and generally reinforcing the idea that this breakup, while sad, is little more than a blip in his life story. "MGK and their friends are just trying to show Pete that life is good," an insider tells E! News, "he doesn't need a girlfriend or anything to be happy."

Not that a little romance has ever hurt a situation. 

In the immediate aftermath of his Grande split, Davidson did the whole rebound thing. Or, as he put it during his Pete Davidson & Friends show in Tarrytown, N.Y. Jan. 12, "I got with my friend who's—how do I say—a fast, loose woman? We hooked up." And while their get-together didn't necessarily have staying power, his dalliance with Beckinsale just might. 

John Salangsang/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

For starters, the 45-year-old star of The Widow seems to have developed a type, romancing comics Matt Rife, 23, and Jack Whitehall, 30, since her 2016 divorce from director Len Wiseman. So she clearly appreciates what Davidson brings to the table.

And when he took his shot at Netflix's 2019 Golden Globes after-party, she was receptive. Making the rounds with Machine Gun Kelly, Davidson crossed paths with Beckinsale on the dance floor. As the rapper played wingman, chatting up Beckinsale's friend, Davidson led the British actress to a couch on the outdoor smoking patio where an onlooker described their hourlong chat as flirty: "Pete was smiling and laughing with her and she was all about him."

Davidson made enough of an impression for the L.A. resident to turn up at West Hollywood's Largo at the Coronet for his Saturday night set. Beckinsale slipped into the 130-seat theater just before the 10 p.m. start, attempting to use his hands to conceal her famous face. But watching him at work may have shifted her feelings. When they exited the theater hours later, they were decidedly together, holding hands as they exited out the back and into a waiting sedan that whisked them off to a Santa Monica hotel. 


Posted up inside on a lobby couch, the pair let go of all pretenses. When Davidson slung an arm around her, Beckinsale comfortably rested against him—the universally recognized sign of, yeah, I'm into you. 

For now it doesn't seem as if Davidson intends to pursue their partnership with the same break-neck speed he devoted to Grande. Based largely on separate coasts, the pair are doing the casual thing, describes an insider, "But they are going to keep talking and having fun together." 

The promise of what could be is enough to leave Davidson feeling like he's living his best life once more. Recently in Sundance promoting Big Time Adolescence, the comic was basking in the film's positive attention, happily posing for selfies whenever approached by fans. "Overall the mood was just really high energy and happy," an insider tells E! News. "He's definitely on an upswing right now."

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