Why Scarlett Johansson Pushed Aside Her Monogamy Doubts for Lasting Love With Colin Jost

More than a year into their romance, the actress is proving to have no trouble committing to the Saturday Night Live star and Emmys co-host.

By Sarah Grossbart Sep 13, 2018 10:00 AMTags
Watch: Will Colin Jost Play Coy About Scarlett Johansson Romance Rumors?

When it comes to the issue of monogamy, Scarlett Johansson has staked her position as somewhat on the fence. 

She's seen the rewarding connection two people find when they remain firmly committed to one another, the ease at which they can relax into a relationship and she's experienced it herself, devoting herself first to fellow actor Ryan Reynolds and then French ad manager Romain Dauriac in marriages that lasted roughly two years a piece. But she's also realistic about the fact that some find such stringent parameters kinda tough. 

"Well, with every gain there's a loss, right? So that's a loss," she opined to Playboy last year. "You have to choose a path. I think the idea of marriage is very romantic; it's a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing." 


"I don't think it's natural to be a monogamous person," she admitted. "I might be skewered for that, but I think it's work. It's a lot of work." 

Scarlett Johansson's Many Loves

Her proof, of course, is every person who says just that when asked how they keep their marriage strong, reinforcing that you have to put in a bit of effort to keep such sacred relationships healthy. For every couple who speaks about their effortless connection there are dozens more who will talk about the sacrifice and hard times.

"And the fact that it is such work for so many people—for everyone—the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing," Johansson noted to the mag. "It's something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond." 

But for the right guy, sure, she's willing to be penned in just a little.

Craig Barritt/Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

She didn't necessarily mean to fall for Colin Jost, their romance beginning last spring as more of a fun, casual situation. But it wasn't long before the actress, 33, was confiding to pals about how much she liked the 36-year-old comedian, who earned his star-making gig on Saturday Night Live mere months after graduating from Harvard. Jost, set to co-host the Emmys this Monday with his "Weekend Update" partner Michael Che, has made admissions of his own, with Us Weekly reporting he's told friends he'd like to marry her. 

And in spite of her views, the mom to 4-year-old Rose Dauriac just might be ready for another stab at forever. As one source reveals to E! News, "Scarlett says he is different than many of the men she has been with. "


Not that Johansson immediately switched perspectives the second she met the clean-cut and witty former Harvard Lampoon president. At the time she was still healing from her second major split in six years and while fans were hoping to pair her off to a new suitor already—most notably to her fellow Marvel Universe star Chris Evans, it wasn't happening a source insisted. "Scarlett just got separated from Romain and is still dealing with the fact that now she's had two failed serious relationships," the source told E! News last March. "She's not trying to rush into anything and is just chilling." 

To the New York-bred former child actress, chilling meant she was willing to ruminate with Howard Stern about potential men she could date, but eschewing any then-eligible bachelors he mentioned (John Stamos, David Spade, Orlando Bloom) for less predictable—and far less available—choices. Her top pick: the very married Gordon Ramsay who she declared "the hottest guy right now in the world." 

AP Images

What could she say? She had a thing for chefs, also naming Anthony Bourdain as a crush in the March 2017 interview. But that didn't mean she was ready to, you know, cook up a relationship. "I'm on guard," she explained to Stern, "because I have a young daughter. That's something I'm more concerned about." 

So when she crossed paths with Jost once again during her Mar. 11 SNL hosting gig to promote her sci-fi flick Ghost in the Shell—the pair having "kind of known each other" as Jost put it since her 2006 debut—she decided to move slow, like yellow light fading to red slow. 

Sure, she was certainly intrigued by Jost. He had the boyish looks and sharp repartee that had previously charmed Rashida Jones for a spell and earned him the honor of being named People's Sexiest Joke Writer. And he was endearing enough to tell a story about the time he accidentally accused a date of poisoning him and still come off looking like someone you'd want to go out with. 

Scarlett Johansson's Best Roles

So while Johansson wasn't convinced she was playing for keeps, she was interested in seeing him after hours. 

For months, she and Jost quietly got to know each other, agreeing to keep their romance "fun and casual" says an insider—and off the radar. By the time she made a cameo on the May 2017 season finale to reprise her impression of Ivanka Trump, she and Jost were comfortable enough to put on a show of their own during the wrap party at Rockefeller Center, making out several times as other cast members mingled. 

They weren't, however, ready to go full boyfriend-girlfriend status, with an insider telling E! News, "They're not in a relationship, but they have fun together. They like each other, but it's not exclusive—at least not at this point." 

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Nor was Jost, who had a small part in 2016's How to Be Single, eager to talk about how he was transitioning towards taken. At Hilarity for Charity's Third Annual New York City Variety Show that June he chatted with E! News about his summer plans to hit the comedy circuit ("I went to Alabama for the first time in my life, which is pretty cool. I'd never been and thought why not do some shows there?") tour Europe and head out of the city to Montauk, N.Y. to "surf and relax a bit." 

But he left out the part about Johansson joining him (they'd celebrate the Fourth of July in nearby East Hampton), replying simply, "I'm very happy in my personal life." 

No surprise that two bold-faced names wouldn't be interested in fanning the flames of attention on their new coupling. But by fall they had moved "more on the exclusive level" as one insider put it to E! News and were ready to drop their coy act. 


While Johansson didn't join the SNL co-head writer at September's Emmy Awards (where the show nabbed four trophies), she wasn't out of mind. "She's working, so otherwise, she'd be here," he told ET, finishing up with his gushiest quotes to date: "She's pretty cool...It's hard to have a lot of complaints, she's pretty awesome."

Come October, she was joining him at another after party for the sketch show (a rather A-list affair featuring Emma Stone, Dakota Johnson, host Ryan Gosling, his gal Eva Mendes, musical guest Jay-Z and Beyoncé). The next month they posed for pictures inside the American Museum of Natural History Gala and in December they had a blink-and-you-missed-it PDA moment on camera with Jost wrapping his arm around the actress as SNL credits rolled. (Except, of course, in the age of DVR no one missed it and Jost's costar Che further underlined the yes they're together moment by sharing a video of them ice skating hand-in-hand to his Instagram stories.) 


For the final stage of their shift from open secret to openly acknowledged, Jost joined his gal at the April premiere of her film Avengers: Infinity War and May's Met Gala, which in Hollywood is akin to announcing you're going steady.

And she gave Ellen DeGeneres the green light to bring him up on air, with the host showing off a throwback of a bearded Jost that made Johansson squirm ("I can't unsee it now," she quipped) and not-so-innocently asking the actress to name her favorite "Weekend Update" anchor. "It's hard to pick," Johansson started, before admitting, fine, no, it's not that hard, "I guess I'm a Colin fan, I have to say."

Because, frankly, she is. 

In the Russian and British literature grad she's found the intelligence and worldliness she craves and a fellow "street rat" who grew up on New York City's Staten Island, just miles from her childhood home in Manhattan. "Being a New Yorker is part of your personality," she's told Cosmpolitan, adding, "It seems wonderful to be raised in a natural setting, but I wouldn't know how to do it. A big city would always draw me back." 

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Like a moth to that proverbial flame, she's also long been intrigued by guys with a bit of edge, she admits. (See: Penn, Sean and Leto, Jared.) "I'm attracted to the quality of being adventurous and perhaps a bit mischievous and also questioning authority and being proactive," she told Cosmopolitan in 2011. And while Regis High School grad Jost has said his status on on the debate and speech teams meant he had "zero sex" as a teen, his current job description of lampooning the president and other high-profile people would suggest he has a rebellious streak.

Most importantly, the onetime junior Olympian has proven adept at making millions laugh and thoroughly entertaining a crucial audience of one. While a source admits the Golden Globe nominee can be a bit picky when it comes to finding a mate because, well, she's Scarlett Johansson and there's a lengthy list of guys who would love a shot at wooing her, "She seems like she found a good guy," the source tells E! News. "Scarlett is more into personality than anything when it comes to men. Colin makes her laugh. She seems really into Colin."

Saturday Night Live Alumni

So the interest is there and the willingness to give monogamy another chance. All that's left is to reflect on her past and see if there's anything that can be gleaned from her less sucessful relationships.

Johannson has said she's perpetually coming from behind in the love department, having "never dated anyone" in her youth. But over the years, having romanced the likes of Reynolds and Josh Hartnett she's not only figured out how to exist in a relationship, she's figured out how to exist in a relationship as a successful Hollywood star who sometimes dates other successful Hollywood stars. 

"The logistics of being with another actor are challenging," she told Cosmopolitan in 2016. "There has to be a real understanding of how you share your time, especially when two people's careers are going at the same rate. Or even if one person is more successful than the other, that also proves challenging. There may be a competitive thing."

Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

With Jost, stationed in New York for much of the year, Johansson has been generous with her time in between shooting Marvel-related and other projects. "Colin and Scarlett are in contact during her busy workdays," one insider noted to E! News last year. "Her filming schedule is hectic, but she works in time to see and speak to him." 

And while some might argue the job of a comedian, particularly one who stars on Saturday Night Live, is fairly similar to the role of an actor, both he and Johansson have been enjoying their fair share of success in recent years while, save for her repeat appearances on the sketch show, mainly staying in their own lanes. 

Plus, having been here, done that, Johansson is well-versed on the warning signs.

"Acting is a very strange world to be co-existing in. It's very volatile," she described to Parade in 2015. "There's always going to be the more successful person. It's related to rejection. Because actors, if they're not having success, connect it directly to unpopularity—to the fact that nobody wants them. It's not necessarily true. I'm constantly rejected." But that means that any marriage between two stars requires even more work: "It takes a man who's not only confident in the love that you have for one another, but confident in what he has going on in his own career."  

Dimitrios Kambouris/MG18/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

These days, both Jost and Johansson are feeling pretty confident about what they've got going on. 

"In a really good place," as one insider puts it, the couple have pals talking about next steps and forever-type commitments. "Scarlett likes to be in love," one source told People, adding, "Colin is good for her because she likes smart men, especially writer types. She is a very bright girl and always searching for that perfect match." 

And she may have just found it in the Emmy co-host, a man she's constantly applauding. "They're both very respectful of each other's careers and very supportive," another friend told the mag. A year and a half or so in, things have taken a turn for the serious, says the pal: "They're very much in love."