There are different reasons why people don't want to give too much away about their relationship.
The number-one issue is usually privacy. Why let anyone else in on their world? Or, perhaps they don't want to jinx it, because they have such a good thing going they're irrationally afraid that sharing their unfiltered joy will test the furies. And as time goes by, maybe there's just nothing new to report, all is running like a well-oiled machine. No news is good news.
But other times, people don't want to talk about a relationship because they're all talked out. It's unraveling and the particulars of why and when certainly aren't anyone's business.
Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk, always reticent to talk about their partnership in an effort to not mix business and the mandatory publicity that comes with it with the pleasures of romance and domesticity, have apparently reached that last stage.
"They tried to work things out for awhile, but it just became clear the relationship was over," a source told E! News Friday in the wake of the news that the Oscar-nominated actor and the supermodel had broken up after four years together.
It was an outcome that may not come as a surprise to those who have been speculating about a potential split for a long time. But when two people are so private that they go months without being photographed together, and then cause a big sigh of relief when they do have a date night, the "are Bradley and Irina on the outs?" question was asked a lot.
"As much as they tried to rekindle what they once had, they couldn't find that spark," the source explains. "They both want what's best for their daughter and so far things are amicable. They're working out custody details and putting everything in writing so there's no confusion."
An awards season in which Cooper's A Star Is Born was being celebrated left and right, and during which Shayk was publicly by his side more than ever before, ultimately didn't serve as a reliable meter to gauge their trajectory. Outwardly, they looked as happy as ever.
But in this case the smoke turned out to mean the house was burning down. Though we're hearing that Shayk did not move out of the L.A.-area home the two have been sharing, as was reported by some earlier this week, we're told they don't plan to continue living together and future arrangements "are still being discussed. They want what's least disruptive for their baby" and "would like to keep things as consistent as possible for her."
As split rumors swirled, a source had told E! News days ago that the pair were, not for the first time, "questioning whether being a couple is what's best."
"They're on thin ice," the source also said, "and it seems like just a matter of time before they really call it quits. They have a lot of history and their precious daughter keeping them together for now."
Their relationship started off pretty normally, for a couple of very famous people.
Both fresh out of lengthy relationships, Shayk's an intense five years with Cristiano Ronaldo that didn't end well and Cooper's a two-year stretch with Suki Waterhouse that more or less ended amicably, they paired off in or around April 2015.
"Of course I prefer to be with someone, but with the right someone," Shayk told Hola! in June 2015. "It's very simple. You have to be faithful to your other half and not have secrets. That's my rule."
As for her ideal fellow, "He's got to be kind, amusing and honest and he's got to know how to treat a woman. And he's also got to be faithful."
She and Cooper got serious quickly, a source telling E! News that May, "They have been spending lots of time together these past few weeks and have had many date nights. Their chemistry is crazy when they are together. They can't keep their hands off of each other."
They had their pictures snapped from afar all over the place, from New York to the Amalfi Coast, but they would wait almost a whole year to pose on a red carpet together, Cooper on Shayk's arm for the L'Oreal Red Obsession Party in March 2016.
Within a year there was talk of them talking about getting married, but instead, they decided to have a baby—a step Cooper had been vocal about wanting to take for years, though he has remained adamant about not kissing and telling, no matter who he was with at the time.
"I just don't talk about certain things," he said on The Howard Stern Show in 2015. Which Howard knew, because in 2011 Cooper had referred to his four-month marriage to Jennifer Esposito as "something that happened." End of story.
The American Sniper star found a willing partner in privacy in Shayk, who after having a high-profile relationship with one of the most famous athletes in the world was all for keeping something to herself.
"I have a lot of friends who share a lot of their personal life on Instagram or social media, very publicly," she said in Glamour UK's February 2019 issue.
"I admire it and I think it's great—but I think it's all about personal choice. Because my work requires me to be out there, I just decided my personal life will be quiet. That's why it's called personal, because it's something for you and your family and I feel happy with it."
Shayk has Twitter and Instagram but has kept them a boyfriend- and baby-free zone, the extent of her personal posts being shout-outs to her many friends and loved ones in the fashion world or a behind-the-scenes photo taken on set (that could be mistaken for a professional shot because she inevitably looks flawless in all of them).
The Russian model has credited her mother Olga's example as a strong, independent woman who worked two jobs to support their family after Shayk's father died for her own drive to succeed on her terms, as well as her commitment to family, which also includes her sister Tatiana, her nephew and her niece—who's apparently named after her aunt, the family is that close.
Last month she shared a rare family pic in wishing little Irina a happy birthday.
"I think family is our reason for being," Shayk told Hola! in 2016 before it was revealed that she was pregnant. "I was lucky to be born into a very close-knit family...I would definitely like to start a family because it's the most important thing in the world and what you should take care of, along with your friends and the people you love."
She and Cooper welcomed daughter Lea de Seine Shayk Cooper on March 21, 2017.
Though it wasn't obvious at the time, it turns out the only thing vying for Cooper's attention when he started dating Shayk was his commitment to A Star Is Born, which last year he was saying took him four years to make, from getting the production off the ground and finding the perfect leading lady to calling it a wrap.
But the timing was also uniquely ideal.
"We mapped out my entire schedule, day by day," Cooper told W. "I'd wake up and work out, followed by two hours of guitar practice and two hours of piano lessons. Lunch. Then Lukas Nelson [Willie's son], my collaborator, would come over, and we'd write music for one and a half hours. I'd write the screenplay for the rest of the day. Irina was pregnant, so it was kind of perfect. Lea was born a week before we started shooting."
He told E! News at the L.A. premiere of A Star Is Born in September, "I got very lucky on this one because I haven't left my house in, like, three years, because we shot in L.A. and I edited the movie in my house." So, after his run in the Elephant Man on Broadway ended in August 2015, "this is all I've been doing. So it's actually been wonderful."
Also in September, he said in a Talks at Google event, "I'm always wondering if [my daughter is] going to grow up"—he whirled his hand by his ear, indicating sound being heard over and over again—"I thought, 'oh, she's going to hear this music for the first six months of her life. I wonder if she's going to hate our music or love it."
Cooper talked about A Star Is Born coming to life being even more special because of the people he had to share the moment with.
"...I guess having a child, and having a family of my own—which is a miracle and something I've always dreamt of—has opened me up even more, I guess, to the day, and to be present," he told NPR.
A Star Is Born first premiered last August at the Venice Film Festival to a rapturous reception, and its arrival in theaters in October was no different. Oscar buzz was instantaneous, no more so than for "Shallow," the show-stopper that Cooper and co-star Lady Gaga perform together in the film, and which did ultimately win a Golden Globe and the Oscar for best original song when some of the film's other awards-season hopes fell by the wayside.
For months, people couldn't get over Cooper and Gaga's chemistry, onscreen and off, and of course that trickled into speculation about why Shayk wasn't around for the film's press tour.
"Irina is happy for him and all of the praise he's getting," a source assured E! News toward the end of October. "She's very proud of Bradley and his hard work and is happy the movie has been received so well."
In the meantime, she was simply busy with her own work. She posed for over a dozen magazine covers in 2018 and, in the fall, right when A Star Is Born came out, she was preparing for the launch of her Lord & Taylor capsule collection with Ellen Tracy.
"I think now a woman has the freedom to work and to be a mom and to be herself," Shayk told E! News in October during a chat about her new line. "I think it's really important to remember that a woman is the strongest one and that if we want we can manage everything at the same time.
"And it's really important to just be yourself and just remember who you are and manage everything, because we can manage everything if we want to."
Sounds like someone who's got it under control, partner in the picture or not. And while her daughter became her top priority from day one, Shayk didn't feel that becoming a mother meant that she had to change what had been working for her for years already.
She told Glamour UK, "In this modern world, in the 21st century, I really believe that if you have a baby, it doesn't mean that you have to wear a longer dress. One of my friends said, 'Oh you just posted a sexy picture. You're a mum now!' And I just said, 'So what!' I think it's really about who you are, who you wanna be and I really feel you just have to stick to your thing. I don't believe anyone should have to change just because you're a mother, no! I'm still me."
And Shayk, with her successful career and already-full life, was someone who Cooper fell madly in love with when they met—and they made sure that their support system extended both ways. Before the Oscar-season gauntlet really began, the actor was in the front row watching Shayk conquer the runway at Versace's pre-fall 2019 show, and they enjoyed a family trip to Disneyland, with Lea and Irina's niece and nephew. A month later, they made their award-show debut together at the Golden Globes.
Shayk was in Russia for work so she couldn't make the SAG Awards, so Cooper's mother, Gloria Campano, readily filled in as her son's date. Then all three of them went to the Oscars, Cooper flanked by two of the three most important women in his life—1 1/2-year-old Lea being a little young for the occasion. Shayk even seemed just as swept up as everybody else by Cooper and Gaga's performance of "Shallow" that night.
It was an emotional time for Cooper, who was both gratified by the success of his directorial debut ($434 million worldwide) and understandably disappointed that, despite the many, many accolades he received for the film, he was snubbed by the Academy for a Best Director Oscar nomination.
"I was not surprised, I'm never surprised about not getting nominated," he acknowledged to Oprah Winfrey for her Super Soul Conversations series. "I was at a coffee shop in New York City and looked down at my phone, and Nicole [Caruso, his publicist] has told me congratulations and said what we had been nominated for. They didn't even give me the bad news. And I went, 'Oh wow.' And the first thing I felt was embarrassment."
He explained, "I felt embarrassed that I didn't do my part. Like, 'Oh gosh, I didn't do my job.' But the truth is, even if I got the nomination, that should not give me any sense of whether I did my job or not. That's the trick. The trick is to make something you believe in and you work hard."
So he was dealing with that, Shayk was dealing with the insane hype that blew up every time Cooper and Gaga looked at each other—she was fine, by all accounts, but still—and the sightings of the two together dropped off after the Oscars.
Cooper was solo at the April premiere of The Avengers: Endgame. Then, after attending with Cooper in 2016 and last year, Shayk went to the Met Gala in May with Burberry creative director and longtime friend Riccardo Tisci—who of course designed the midnight-blue velvet gown she wore—instead.
"I have known Riccardo for years," Shayk shared with British Vogue, which chronicled her prep for the gala. "He is a dear friend and such a special part of my life. To be one of the first people to wear his designs to the Met is such an honor."
Cooper was actually one of the 183 people on this year's event committee, but his rep told USA Today that he was in L.A. for post-production on Joker, directed by Cooper's buddy Todd Phillips and due out in October.
The film, an origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix as the complicated Batman villain, shot mostly in New York last year, another reason why Cooper and Shayk relocated after spending the previous few years of their relationship based in L.A.
They were photographed running errands together with Lea two weeks ago but, since then, separate sightings as they each did their own thing in L.A. sent the pending-breakup rumors into overdrive. Over the last few days, a source told Page Six their relationship was "hanging by a thread" and another told Us Weekly, "They haven't been getting along for a while."
Shayk, who was scheduled to be at The Lions x World Oceans Day in New York tomorrow, was spotted at LAX on Thursday—another sighting that fueled the moving-out rumors. But, we're told the couple had already been spending quite a bit of time apart on purpose, and a source says she's headed out of the country next week for work.
"They've spent time apart to test the waters and see if they're better off," another source told E! News. "They're trying out different arrangements and trying to find their way. They love their little girl dearly and that's not going to change no matter what." But though the life they've built together was proving hard to walk away from, there was "tension and stress between them" and the source predicted it was "just a matter of time before they really call it quits."
People was first to report that they had split up. Their reps have not yet responded to requests for comment.
(Originally published June 7, 2019, at 10:56 a.m. PT)