Why Zooey Deschanel's Romance With Jonathan Scott Just May Go the Distance

Fans were kinda shocked when Zooey Deschanel began dating Property Brother Jonathan Scott, but they just may be a perfect match. Allow us to count the ways.

By Sarah Grossbart Jan 17, 2020 2:00 PMTags
Watch: What's Jonathan Scott & Zooey Deschanel's Couple Name?

Asked to describe his perfect woman Jonathan Scott could absolutely see her. 

Maybe not her physical appearance, as he insisted he didn't have a "type", but he could definitely envision the personality traits that would make up the woman who could be his forever person. They'd be confident enough to work a room at a party ("The person who sits in the corner would never work for me," he told People last summer), and active enough to join him on hiking and scuba diving adventures ("I just love getting out and doing things,") and they'd have that je ne sais quoi that draws others in. 

"I've dated a lot in my life, and I've dated every kind of person you can imagine," he explained to the mag. "I just want to be around people who bring energy and when you walk away you feel good about yourself and good about them. That's it." 

And he was ready to find that person as soon as possible, please and thank you. "Where are all the sexy, cool, courageous women?" he asked. "Show yourself. Come on!"

ABC/Eric McCandless

The answer was kind of surprising. Because if the 41-year-old were to make a list of where he'd meet his next partner, we're guessing that filming James Corden's popular "Carpool Karaoke" segment would be pretty damn near the bottom. 

But that's exactly where he first connected with Zooey Deschanel, the staff of The Late Late Show with James Corden choosing to match up the Scott twins of Property Brothers fame with a pair of sisters with singing chops. As Scott recounted to Hollywood Life, he and brother Drew Scott didn't realize they'd be doubling up, and when they learned that both Zooey and Emily Deschanel were musically inclined, "I will say it was a little bit daunting." 

As things got going at the August shoot, though, "We were laughing—you know, the sibling dynamic. I think there's something with siblings that only other siblings can really understand," he said. "We don't play a character on our shows. We were just being ourselves and they know that we don't take ourselves too seriously. So when we met them, both Zooey and Emily are the exact same way. We just had so much fun."

Clicking immediately ("There was chemistry right away," he recently revealed to People,) he and Zooey—newly split from film producer husband Jacob Pechenik—exchanged information. At first, just to chat. "They became friends after," a source told People, "and then started talking as friends and realized there was more to it." 

Soon Scott was confessing to Us Weekly that he was seeing a mystery suitor. "It's definitely special for me because I am the guy who raises the bar in what I'm looking for in a partner," he said on Sept. 13, seemingly as astonished as anyone that Deschanel was charmed by his sense of humor and sharp wit. "I was caught a little off guard. It was definitely a pleasant surprise."

He'd rather not name her, he demurred. But that same day, just a week after the actress confirmed her divorce, there they were holding hands en route to dinner in L.A.

"They are still in the getting to know each other phase," a source told E! News at the time. But they liked what they discovered in those first few weeks. "She seems excited about him and that it's new and fun. They have a lot in common, and it has surprised her that they have so many things to talk about."

Instagram/Jonathan Scott

Which, same. Initially, the pair felt like one of Hollywood's more unlikely couplings. But when you break it down, the illusionist-turned-reality TV contractor and the actress-singer-entrepreneur really do have a lot of commonalities.

"I don't think it was expected," Jonathan admitted to People. "We come from very different worlds on the surface, but it's uncanny how many things we have in common, from both having an equestrian background to our education, to everything."

Ignoring whatever adorkable qualities fans might believe they share—a term Deschanel would very much like excluded from her narrative—their lives have taken somewhat similar trajectories, with each having been subjected to the bumps and bruises one collects as they try to find the person they're meant to do life with.

Following a teenage romance with actor-screenwriter Jason Schwartzman, the New Girl alum believed she'd found her forever in Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. Engaged in 2008, the same year they began dating, they were marred in 2009 only to divorce two years later, the resulting legal proceedings exposing her financial records, among other things. 

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

"It felt weird, but I feel OK about how I've handled my finances," she told Marie Claire in 2013, the paperwork revealing such shockers as the fact that the star hands out $1,500 to charity each month. "It felt like a violation, but once you get over it, you go, 'Well, if it's out there, it's out there.'"

A two-year romance with screenwriter Jamie Linden (now raising a son with girlfriend Rachel McAdams) ensued, before she made her red carpet debut with Pechenik at the 2014 Emmys, the two going on to quietly wed in 2015 before welcoming 4-year-old daughter Elsie Otter and 2-year-old son Charlie Wolf

And right around the time Deschanel was entangling herself with Gibbard, Scott was getting wrapped up in a marriage of his own, exchanging vows with airline-crew scheduler Kelsy after a whirlwind 2007 romance. "We were young, and there was a rush going into it," he explained to People in 2017. "She wanted to get married on 07/07/07...so it wasn't something that naturally happened."

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The purportedly lucky date (the same day Eva Longoria wed Tony Parker in France) didn't bring any magic to their marriage, though, and they separated two years later, a loss that was hard for Scott to swallow. "I'm the emotional one between me and Drew, so when I give myself to something, I give it 100 percent," he told People. "Anyone in a long-term relationship knows how hard that is. After that I felt defeated, but I learned a lot." 

Chiefly, he shared, "that you can have two good people who are just not good for each other." 

It was a takeaway that was hammered home after his romance with Jacinta Kuznetsov. "I met somebody kind and courageous and a champion for human/animal rights," he wrote on Instagram, announcing their 2018 split. "We grew to respect each other fiercely and know that will remain unchanged for the rest of our lives. Sometimes life takes you on unexpected paths and those paths aren't always in the same direction."

Mark Davis/CBS

But while a conscious uncoupling and a handful of joyous memories are nice, a companion of the forever variety would be so much better. "I'm very blessed in a lot of ways," he noted to People earlier this year. "I can buy what I want and I can go anywhere in the world. But at the end of the day, coming home to that one person that you know has your back, there's no better feeling."

As much as he felt comfortable being single, third-wheeling with his brother and sister-in-law Linda Phan, "nothing beats sharing your happiness with someone you love."

And on the surface, it seems possible, perhaps even probable, that Deschanel could fit that bill. Scott's must-haves include someone who likes dogs (How could you not love a creature that is always excited to see you?"), a person who will, as he put it to People, "Do the right thing, even if no one is watching," and a person who is confident without taking themselves too seriously: "If someone's profile has more than 20 percent selfies," he said of his tendency to Insta-stalk potential partners, "I won't date them."

William Perez/Image Press Agency/Splash News / SplashNews.com

Deschanel is just as likely to post about sustainable farming or show off a freshly-crafted vegan berry tart as she is to smile for the camera, adopted twin puppies because she couldn't bear the thought of separating canine sisters and supports the likes of Baby2Baby, the Humane Society, Help Haiti Home and the Innocence Project in addition to her aforementioned monthly philanthropy habit—a practice that only increased after she became a mom. 

"It's really important to teach your kids at a young age to volunteer and how to help raise money and raise awareness," she told Huffington Post in 2017. "I think raising awareness about issues is the most important thing, because not everyone has the time to volunteer or the funds to donate money, but if you are able to spread the word then the awareness really sparks a lot of the ability of these causes to attract attention and to fix some of the problems that are out there."

And, of course, their coupling affords Scott the chance to live out a long-held dream. "I want to be a dad, so it's important for me to have a partner who would play a key role in that," he told People. "When we film our shows I get along so great with the kids, and I like the idea that I can use what I believe to be good to shape the mind of a little human. I have said to myself that if I don't find the right person I think I would probably adopt on my own, because I think I would be a great dad."

ABC/Eric McCandless

Plus there's Deschanel's whole gardening initiative, Lettuce Grow. While not so much a design choice as it is a means of helping people have access to their own fresh greens, their vertical garden is designed "to be beautiful and to fit in easily with the aesthetics of people's living spaces, both outdoors and indoors," her ex Pechinek, still a business partner, told Architectural Digest, so we could see a potential Property Brothers collab in there. 

As for Deschanel's dating wish list, it's fairly straightforward. Presumably, she'd prefer someone with grit, telling Elle that a childhood often spent on the outside of cliques gave her the type of tenacity necessary to make it in entertainment. "Nothing has ever come easy for me, and I think that's a really good thing," she told the mag. "I learned at an early age that you have to work hard for what you get." 

Seems likely then, that she'd hard relate to Scott's story of having his magician dreams dashed when a fellow illusionist stole his production, leaving him with no show and $80,000 worth of debt. Two decades on, he's left bankruptcy firmly in the rearview, building a multimillion-dollar home improvement empire with Drew that shows no signs of crumbling down. 

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And, as she told Marie Claire back in 2013, "I'd be more likely to go for somebody who is like me. Well, I like creative people, so whatever that means." 

Mostly she, much like Scott, is on the hunt for a feeling. "Whether you're married or not, if you're in a relationship, you have to wake up every day and say, 'I want to stay with this person,'" she opined. "You have to make the commitment every day and every second and every minute."

Whether this good-on-paper pair can continue to do that remains to be seen. But a handful of months in, their relationship seems to be quite the showpiece. Las Vegas resident Scott appears willing to go the distance for date nights, the couple popping up at Beverly Hills' Clementine for lunch Sept. 19, a taping of Dancing With the Stars later that month with Drew and Phan and a subsequent outing to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios—the foursome preferring their outings come with a touch of entertainment.

"We are total nerds, so our first double date with Jonathan and Zooey was dinner and an escape room," Drew shared with People. "It was awesome."

Those initial outings went so well that Jonathan felt confident inviting his new gal to be the Catwoman to his Batman at his brother's Halloween wedding in Las Vegas. 

"That was a big step, because all of a sudden that was the first time she was meeting all my family," he allowed to People, noting that she completely nailed it. "It's very, very important for me that the person I'm in love with also gets the approval of my whole family. Absolutely everybody has clicked with Zooey. She's a very considerate person, and that's what I'm looking for. I had said before that the most important thing for me was a sense of humor. But you have to be kind, and she definitely is." 

Michael Wilkes

Though, she's funny, too, the magazine founder (he and Drew's latest project sees them putting out Reveal, a quarterly publication) noting they "literally make each other laugh nonstop." 

She's also someone who believes in true love "that lasts forever," as she told Marie Claire back in 2013. "My parents have been married for 40 years and my grandparents were married for 70 years. I come from a long line of true loves." And the way Jonathan tells it, she's willing to put in the work to make sure they're coupling is the kind that endures.

"I have never been in a relationship where my partner is as romantic as, if not more romantic than, I am," Jonathan gushed to People. "I'm usually the one who carries the romantic load." 

Which, to be fair, he's certainly carrying his fair share this go-round. He's been tossing around the L-word publicly, gave her a quick onstage kiss while making a cameo in her Philadelphia She & Him Christmas Party tour stop and even issued a public proposal (okay, it was for "this...and all future dances," but still) on Instagram. And we're guessing he has quite the extravaganza planned to mark her milestone 40th birthday today. 

Michael Buckner/Variety/Shutterstock

Plus he can't stop talking about how freaking fantastic she is, which is always nice.

"She brings out the best in me and she makes me want to be the best version of myself," he said on Today last week, mere days after telling People, "She's smarter than me, she's funnier than me and she's cuter than me!"

So, yeah, he gets why people sometimes marvel at their pairing. 

"The funniest is everyone's like, 'She's dating who?!'" he said. "But I've got perks! I can fix your plumbing, I can paint, I can design a space, I can...I've got all kinds of perks." And he may just have some truly solid karma, believing that putting in the work to focus on himself after his last split is what led him to a potential forever with the actress. "Maybe the universe was like, 'Hey, all right, you did it. Here you go,'" he pondered to People, "and rewarded me with the gift of love." 

Or, perhaps, just maybe, this sexy, cool, courageous woman heeded his call. 

(Originally published Nov. 1, 2019, at 3 a.m. PT)