Stepping away from a roller coaster romance after years of riding its peaks and valleys has a way of giving a girl perspective.
"I think that no matter who you are or what you do or wherever in the world you are, anything ending is hard," Emma Roberts told Cosmopolitan last spring when pressed about breaking off her (second) engagement with Evan Peters. "Losing something is hard."
That's really all she wanted to say on the subject. In the spotlight since she helmed Nickelodeon's tween comedy Unfabulous at 13, "I never want to talk about relationships I'm in or that are ending or have ended," she told the mag. "It's hard enough to be with someone by yourself, let alone with an audience."
But she was willing to share the life lessons she'd gleaned over some seven years of back and forth. "I'm realizing that life is highs and lows. I'm trying to ride them out and live somewhere in the middle," the actress noted. "When you're low, you think it's never going to end. When you're high, you're so scared of it ending. And I've lived in both of those places for too long."
Although she can't help reveling—just a little—in her current situation.
Having welcomed her first child, Rhodes Robert Hedlund, in December with boyfriend Garrett Hedlund, she is the third of Scream Queens' Chanels to welcome a son this year. "It's pure witchcraft. I don't know how else to explain it," the 30-year-old said on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Show of her baby joining Lea Michele's Ever and Billie Lourd's Kingston. "It's been really amazing to have support being pregnant during this time and to have it be, it was like people I'm so close to and it's been amazing. And I mean, I just, we couldn't have planned it better, honestly."
So who really cares that her mom broke her pregnancy cover? "It was a disaster," Roberts said on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Oct. 19, streaming in to promote the new Netflix release Holidate that sees her following in Aunt Julia Roberts' rom-com footsteps.
Hovering at a cruising altitude some 30,000 feet in the sky, she had little recourse when she noticed mom Kelly Cunningham had confirmed her news to an Instagram follower this past June. "I found it all out on a plane," she continued. "So, I couldn't get to her. Like, I couldn't call her or attack her. I could just iMessage with her and DM her and ask her to please stop." The misstep ended with Roberts blocking her mom, a move that led to "an Instagram war with my mother that I never saw coming," she shared. "A good story to tell the baby."
Now friends again both on the 'gram and IRL, each is thrilled to experience this next chapter with Roberts and her "two favorite guys." A year-and-a-half into their relationship, Roberts and Hedlund are clearly "very serious," a source told People.
For a stretch it seemed that Roberts' romantic history might begin and end with former fiancé Peters. Though it wasn't her first major relationship, Roberts having spent a year in her teens with Wild Child costar Alex Pettyfer resulting in him inking her initials on his ring finger, it was certainly the most serious.
Roberts and Peters met on the set of 2013's Adult World, not long after she wrapped her romance with Glee's Chord Overstreet, and though the magic didn't happen on set, they reconnected months later, each confessing to harboring a secret crush.
"We didn't get along, actually—he wouldn't speak to me," Roberts told Nylon of the 2012 shoot. "But it turned out that we both liked each other, so months later, we started dating, which worked out for the best."
Paired once more for Ryan Murphy's third anthology fright fest, American Horror Story: Coven, the stars would go on to endure some seven years of breakups, makeups and even one unfortunately public 2013 fight that ended with a call to the Montreal police.
Five months later they were celebrating a holiday engagement. And a little more than a year after that, Roberts had ditched her diamond bauble, trading it out for three gold bands meant to remind her to "always love yourself, and always know what you're worth," she told Allure in late 2015. Though, by that point, a source told E! News they had already recovered from the split and begun "seeing each other again."
A passionate affair to be sure, one filled with all of the extremes Roberts would later speak about to Cosmo, it was one that simply couldn't survive on its own fire. When they split for good in 2019, an insider told E! News, "They have had their ups and downs for a while now and were really trying to make it work. Their split was a long time coming."
Then Hedlund—a veteran of such cinematic fare as Friday Night Lights, TRON: Legacy and Triple Frontier and a four-year romance with Kirsten Dunst—entered her orbit.
Friends for a bit, she and the SAG Award nominee ventured into something-more territory not long after her Valentine's Day split with Peters in early 2019. "They have gone on a few casual dates," a source told E! News at the time, "and are exploring a relationship, but it is definitely not anything serious yet."
It was a match that certainly made sense on paper. Much like former child actress Roberts, Hedlund found himself venturing into his chosen vocation at a young age, modeling for the likes of L.L. Bean and Teen Magazine before moving to Los Angeles in his teens and landing his first role opposite Brad Pitt in 2004's Troy. "When I moved to L.A., I got this acting bug," the native Midwesterner told Flare in 2017. "So while my brother was off working at the farm in Minnesota, I was in L.A. trying to pursue those dreams."
A big fan of reading, he confessed to Details in 2013 about spending his afternoons after school "at the Borders Bookstore until it closed and then I would stick the book back on the shelf until the next day. That was safe. No one was going to buy three copies of [Charles] Bukowski's Tales of Ordinary Madness by the next afternoon."
It's quite likely his gal has checked it out once or twice, though. Having started her book club Belletrist, along with close friend Karah Preiss, after noting fans' interest in her #CurrentlyReading posts, "As a teenager, I felt like if you liked to read, you were a nerd, and if you cared about shoes, you were a girly girl," she told Cosmo of her motivation. "I wanted to create a place where you could do both and be both. We're living in a time when you can't opt out of being smart. You have to pay attention. You have to read. You have to nourish your brain every way you can."
So add a thirst for knowledge to the list of reasons she and Hedlund make a solid match. As a source put it to Us Weekly, "They like hanging out and going out together."
So much so that by August 2019, mere months after the source told E! News that Roberts was going to see "how things pan out" with Hedlund, the two had gone holding-hands-walking-down-a-Los-Angeles-street public, a sure sign the actress was feeling pretty confident in her choice. "Emma is not one to rush things," said the source, adding that she "really likes Garrett."
And, much like that ubiquitous Kylie Jenner meme, next thing she knew she was pregnant. "I was convinced I was having a girl to a point where I said to my boyfriend, I was like, 'If it's a boy, you can name it,'" she confessed to Jimmy Kimmel. "Meanwhile being like, 'It's a girl. So, who cares? Like, now I get to name it.' When we found out, he was like, 'Oh yeah, so you said I get to name him.' And I was like, 'I did say that, didn't I? It's so funny that I said that.'"
Fortunately Hedlund proved more than up to the challenge. Despite Roberts handing over what she called a whole "scroll of names," he went off-script and "came up with a winner that was really good," she continued. "All of mine got vetoed for various reasons, which I was very upset about."
But, like, not that upset. Just "a few more months" before they had welcomed their expertly named little boy, Roberts shared she's enjoying all the mom-to-be milestones in a pandemic-friendly way.
"So grateful to my family and pod for making my pregnancy feel so celebrated during such wild times," she wrote on Instagram after her Oct. 3 shower, a small, co-ed affair at a pal's house that saw Kristen Stewart, Camila Morrone and a few others toasting to the future parents. "It was outside," a source told E! News, "and everyone stayed distanced."
With that checked off the list, Roberts and Hedlund were busying themselves with the last bits of nesting, "He loves that he has something so incredibly exciting to look forward to," a source told People. "Emma is doing well. She is getting the nursery ready. She enjoyed celebrating with friends at her baby shower. She and Garrett are both very grateful for all the love."
Alllllll of the love. Every bit the hopeless romantic, Roberts may have just found her perfect Hollywood ending with Hedlund. "I've grown up in a business where we're taught to think that relationships don't last, and that people are supposed to be married a bunch of times. But I come from the school of getting married once," she told Nylon back in 2013. "Every relationship should be important. Everyone kind of rolls their eyes at me, but I still believe in the romantic movie outcome."
This story was originally published on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2020 at 12 a.m. PT.