“Please tell me it’s the real deal? I want to believe.” Despite the many other insights I pick up over the course of two days with 28-year-old actor Nicola Peltz Beckham, this is the one question friends and colleagues relentlessly pester me with. Not about Nicola’s secret to a razor-sharp jawline (a pre-shoot sculpting treatment with hyper-exclusive facial studio Sous La Face), not about what surprised me most about her (possibly that she doesn’t have a driver’s license), and not even about her high-profile friendship with Selena Gomez (keep reading for that). No, it seems the thing on everyone’s mind is a genuine desire for confirmation that her love story is not, in fact, too charmed to be real.
There are the near-daily Instagram posts (“Happy birthday Nicola…I love you so so much baby”; “I’m the luckiest man I get to have you as my valentines every year forever”), the IG bios (“Nicola’s husband” and “Brooklyn’s wife”), the tattoos (at last count, Brooklyn had more than 20—20!—in her honor). That planet-size rock on her finger and the multimillion-dollar Palm Beach dream wedding. It’s enough to make you go, “Okay, but really?” (And we all know those statistics, don’t we, that show a negative correlation between the high price of a wedding ring and the success of a marriage.) Still, for some reason, it’s hard not to wish this particular couple well rather than want to pettily tear them apart.
And I have a theory as to why: While more and more boldfaced names stay exceptionally tight-lipped about their love lives, Nicola and Brooklyn have made the opposite choice. Their relationship is open to public consumption on social media, at events, in videos, and in press interviews. They’re willing to “go there” and talk about the most intimate details. They seem to be together constantly—“Our love language is definitely quality time,” laughs Nicola—and showing us that togetherness constantly. Maybe we actually want to root for love once we’re actually let into it.
Is it real? I’m pretty sure they’re perfect for each other. Not just because they’re so willing to share the spotlight (a difficult endeavor in celebrityland) but because of how wholeheartedly they support each other’s individual ventures—which is good, because Nicola has many. She’s been acting professionally since she was 12 (she played Dorothy Stratten on Hulu’s Welcome to Chippendales and has some exciting announcements on the way). She sits front row at fashion shows all over the world. And she’s using her success to pay it forward. It’s a miracle he can keep up.
Okay, congratulations are in order on a couple of different fronts. You just starred in Chippendales, and you’ve put the finishing touches on Lola James, an indie film you wrote, starred in, and directed. Had that always been a dream of yours?
I only ever wanted to act. And then maybe in the far, far, far future, direct. But writing was something I just did privately. The way I get in character for a role is to journal as my character, and I realized I loved it. This story was kind of living in my brain,1 but I never knew how to write a script. And I’m really not good with the computer; I write everything by hand. But I typed this up and emailed it to my acting coach. She loved it, and my agent at the time loved it. I was not planning to direct it, but that’s what happened. It was wild.
1. Said story, set in the early aughts, is about a 19-year-old girl trying to get her younger brother out of their toxic home while she battles her own drug addiction. It’s “half made up, but some of the relationships are based on my life,” Nicola tells me.
Are you nervous for it to come out?
So nervous. I’ve worked so hard on it…I would be sad if people didn’t like it. Because on Instagram, you post things, and then the comments…if someone calls me mean or something and they don’t know me, then I’m just like, okay, well, maybe if you did, you wouldn’t say that.2 But I think when you work so hard on something and then you put it out there, it’s super scary because it’s so personal.
2. Can confirm after spending two days with her: Being exceptionally nice seems important to Nicola. She looks deep into my eyes as she compliments my skin, my shirt, even my phone background; offers to send me her favorite lip gloss when it comes up in conversation; that kind of thing.
What goes through your mind when you read comments like that?
I just wish people knew me before they judged me. And it sucks, because I wish I could respond to every person, being like, “That’s not true. That’s not true. That’s not true.” But then obviously, you have to block it out. You can’t let everything affect you. Otherwise, it would be a spiral. I really wish that people met me and then….
But you can’t meet everybody.
You probably don’t want to meet everybody.
I feel like all the mean words that people hear in high school, I read on my Instagram.
Maybe don’t read your comments?
That’s the thing. You can’t help but sometimes be like, “That sucks.”
Do you read tabloid-y articles about stuff with you and Brooklyn too? Or do you manage to keep that out?
I don’t search for that ever. But on TikTok, sometimes it’ll pop up.
Oh god. The algorithm is too good, literally a “For You” Page. I imagine some of what pops up is from this massive press cycle around your mother-in-law and your relationship with her.3 What’s that like?
I’ve said this so many times: There’s no feud. I don’t know. No one ever wants to write the nice things. It’s really weird, actually, whether it’s my life or someone else’s life or whatever, when you know the truth and then you read something totally wrong.4
3. As in, Brooklyn’s mom, Victoria Beckham. The likes of the Daily Mail absolutely love to use any detail to create the appearance of drama between the two, starting with an alleged disagreement over whether Nicola would wear a Victoria Beckham–designed wedding dress. Have yourself a google if you wish, but honestly? Maybe the world can stop pitting women against each other for sport in 2023!
4. Speaking of things in the news: After this interview went to press, the internet blew up over a pair of lawsuits between Nicola’s father, Nelson Peltz, and two of Nicola and Brooklyn’s wedding planners over a deposit and alleged breach of contract. I reached out to Nicola for an update, but her rep indicated that because the legal proceedings are ongoing, Nicola can’t comment.
What about your friendship with Selena Gomez, which has been reported absolutely all over the place?5 How did you two become close?
I had met her once in passing a few years ago, and then we all went to this event in September, the Academy Gala. We just clicked and had the best time. And then we became super, super close. I feel like she’s my soul sister. I love her so much. She’s truly one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my whole life. The kindest person ever. Truly, her heart is gold. I feel like I’ve known her forever.
5. The pair of friends broke the internet with their tropical New Year’s Eve travels, slumber parties, dinners out, and even, yes, matching tattoos.
And she and Brooklyn get along too?
Oh my god. We’re like, “Yeah, we are a throuple.” We are all three best friends.
It’s so special when you find those soul mate kind of friends, especially as an adult. It’s not easy to do!
I think it really is so beautiful when you have girlfriends in your life who cheer you on. And if I’m just walking down the street and a girl is like, “Oh my gosh, I love your outfit,” it means so much more than if a guy says it. Like, ew, whatever. But when a girl compliments you, it’s so much more special.6
6. …Ah, yes, all of those aforementioned compliments are making sense now.
Do you feel like you’re a confident person?
Yeah, I would say so. I think growing up with six brothers, they’ve drilled into my brain, “You’re amazing. You’re amazing,” especially with relationships. I’ve only had three boyfriends because I’ve always been standoffish until I really like someone. My brothers were always like, “No. You deserve better. You deserve better. You deserve better.”
So I think in that way, I’m confident. But I definitely have my insecurities just like every other girl. Whatever they’re insecure about, I’m sure I’m thinking about the exact same thing.
It’s refreshing to hear that even someone who’s so comfortable in front of the camera has their own things.
Oh my god, I have so many things. There’s skin problems, there’s body, there’s everything. I think it’s hard with social media, whether it’s TikTok, Instagram, whatever, it’s all about people always comparing everything. And then you wake up and you have bad skin or you wake up and you feel bloated or you wake up and you just don’t feel good that day. I have those days all the time. It’s just hard being a girl, period. And especially being a girl right now.
And I think, honestly, having a good husband, family, friend—whoever that person is in your life—a positive person who loves you, always wants to lift you up, is so important. When my friends have those moments, I love lifting my friends up. I want to be that person for them. Some girls are not nice, like catty middle or high school vibes, and it sucks.
Other than with your family, when do you feel most confident?
When I’m on-set, when I’m acting. Because it’s just truly what I love to do, and I’ve been doing it since I was 12. When I’m being creative, I feel most like myself.
It was so sweet how Brooklyn came to support you on-set yesterday. Is that a pretty regular occurrence?
We’re always there for each other. If we can’t be there physically, we’re texting or talking in some form. Communication is so important to both of us so that there’s never any guessing. I believe in saying how you truly feel.
Does he feel the same?
He will always say, “Are you okay?” I think it’s a British thing.7 The first time he said it, I was like, “I’m fine. Why are you always asking me if I’m okay?” And he was like, “No, it’s like, ‘What’s up?’” But he will always check up on people. If he were sitting right here, even if he’d just met you, if you seemed quiet, he’d be like, “You okay?” He always just wants to make sure everyone is good.
7. Another Britishism that caused some confusion? “My brother, his name’s Will, but I never call him Will. I call him Willie. And obviously, a willie is a willie. When we were dating, Brooklyn would say, ‘I cannot handle when you call your brother Willie. It’s so funny to me.’”
Do you guys ever fight?
Every relationship has its disagreements. No relationship is perfect. And when you’re so close to someone and they know everything about you, it’s inevitable to have disagreements. So yeah, definitely.
It’s probably all part of the evolution of a relationship. How has yours changed?
Honestly, nothing has changed. I think the only thing would be that if someone were to come up to talk to me or whatever, he’s like, “We’re married.” You know what I mean? It’s more official as opposed to when you’re dating someone and you’re like, “Hey, that’s my boyfriend.” But in my head, I’m 14, so when I call myself a wife, I’m like, What? What’s going on? I’m literally a teen. I’m a preteen.
What are some of the ways you both work to nurture your relationship?
We spend every night together. Sometimes my friends will come sleep over and we’ll all fall asleep on the couch, or they’ll stay in my bed and Brooklyn will go sleep in the other room. Even with work travel, we work around it. Like, he had to do one day on-set in L.A. last year when we were in New York, but he never slept there. He was so silly. I was like, “You can go have a night at the apartment.” And he said no. So he woke up at, I don’t know, 2 a.m. to get a very, very early flight and then flew right back after.
Every single night?!
Our one night apart last year was the night before the wedding. We were panicking. He was texting me the day of the wedding asking, “Are you walking down the aisle? Are you walking down the aisle?” Because I was taking pictures with Luigi and Iango, who are these photographers I’ve gotten so close with. And we love taking pictures together so much that I was like, “Oh my god, I’m going to be late. I have to go walk down the aisle.” When I picked up my phone, Brooklyn had texted, “What are you doing? Are you ready? Are you ready?” I was like, “Yes. I’m going to walk down. Don’t worry. I love you.”
I feel like wedding days go by so fast and it can be so hard to really be in the moment. Are there any memories from the day that particularly stand out to you when you think back on it?
My Naunni8 was my maid of honor, and so she walked down the aisle. My Naunni is, like, the happiest person in the entire world. And the smallest person. She waved her bouquet in the air and she was cheering, and everyone started cheering for her. She’s 94. Grandmas are the best.
8. Her grandmother. Actual name: Bunny, short for Barbara.
It sounds like you and Brooklyn are both really close with your families. Have you taken any relationship wisdom from your parents’ marriages?
My parents have been together more than 40 years, and they always make fun of each other. My dad is just so cute. When my mom leaves the room, he’s always just like, “She’s so beautiful.” They still act like young kids in love. Literally, they’re always making out, to the point where my brother’s like, “I’m closing my eyes. Stop making out.” They’re so in love, and being able to grow up with that is so beautiful. I would never settle for anything other than that. Brooklyn and I are always on each other’s laps. Anytime we walk around, we’re holding hands.
Given that you’re all about quality time together, I have to know: How did he pull off surprising you with the proposal?
So we started dating three years ago last October.9 He would tell me all the time, “I want to be with you” or “I want to marry you.” We got engaged eight months into our relationship, and at that point, he’d actually had the ring sitting in our room for three months. He’s so romantic, so when he would plan something, I wouldn’t think too much of it. So he was like, “Oh, let’s have a date night at your house.” And he tricked me, because we were in New York but my whole family was in Florida. But he’d told my family to fly up, so they were all hiding to celebrate with us. He really wanted both of our families to be there when he asked me, but it was so complicated with the border restrictions. So the morning after we got engaged, we flew right to London so that we got to celebrate with his family too.
9. The couple first met at Coachella seven-ish years ago, spending time together because Brooklyn was a friend of her brother’s. But it wasn’t until a 2019 Halloween party that they “had a real conversation,” she says. “And then after that night, we literally have not separated.” They went ~Instagram Official~ in January of 2020.
There’s so much to figure out in a first year of marriage when it comes to logistics like where you spend the holidays. How was that for you?
This year, we went to Florida. Normally, his parents come to Miami a lot, but this year, they didn’t. Christmas at my house is wild because there are so many people and everyone has kids now. We thought Brooklyn’s parents and family were going to come to Miami, but they ended up staying in London, so we sent their gifts there.
I normally never ask people about whether they want kids—in an interview or a regular conversation—just because it’s such a deeply personal question. But I’ve read other interviews where you said you both want a big family….
You’re so sweet. Yeah, we definitely want kids. We need a house first, especially because we have so many puppies. Brooklyn really wants kids now, but I want to do a few more things in my career first.
Do you two think you’d raise kids in L.A.?
Honestly, we’ve talked about it so much. And I think that we would want to definitely have a house here just because so much of our work is here. We did have a house in L.A. at one point, but we sold it because we were like, oh, we’re going to go to Florida for a while. And then we’re like, no, just kidding, we have to be in L.A. for work. It was so silly of us. And now we’re saving up money to get our dream house. But we both honestly love New York so much. If our work were there, we’d be there in five seconds. We were looking at apartments….
It’s harder to have dogs—and you have five, yes?—in New York.
Tell me about it. Anytime I see a puppy, I want to bring it home. And now Brooklyn is the same way.
You two take pet ownership to the next level. And now you’re running a rescue charity, right?
Yes, Yogi’s House. Last year, my publicist Alex Schack and our friend Emma Kenney and I started rescuing dogs from shelters. And it’s taken over every single second that I’m not working. It started when Emma was trying to adopt this dog named Yogi, and she posted on Instagram asking for help because she was stuck in traffic and the shelter was going to euthanize him if she was late. And I was so shocked. Like, How could you? Are you fucking crazy? It got us wondering what else that shelter was doing. And we all got together and were like, “We need to stop this. How can we fix it?”
It’s a bleak business.
I knew some shelters are kill shelters, but I had no idea, and maybe this is so ignorant to say, but I had no idea that someone would euthanize a dog just because there’s no space. And a lot of the dogs that end up in shelters come from breeders. My dog Lamb was a breeder dog, and she had a stillborn baby inside her that wasn’t coming out. At the vet, the procedure would have cost 10 grand. So this guy just took her to the shelter and said, “Your problem.”
We’ve been taking in so many dogs. We’ll wait to see if someone is going to adopt the dog, and if they don’t, we’ll take the dog before it’s euthanized and try to find it a home. We’ll take care of medical expenses or training if they need it. There can be 12 dogs a day. And right now, it’s just us trying to figure this out and raise money. We want to change the laws.
Has social media been an effective tool there?
When I post about Yogi’s House, people get so annoyed with me. I get DMs being like, “We get it. You’re trying to get this dog adopted.” Don’t be mean about it. Help me!
So, solve the shelter dog crisis, that’s one goal. What else, as you look to the future?
I think as an actor, you always have that dream role in mind or those dream people to work with. And I feel like I’m never going to stop. I have so many things I would love to do. And I think when I do them, then I’ll feel settled. And then I want to have a baby and then get right back to work.
Stylist: Cassie Anderson. Hair: Adir Abergel using Virtue Labs. Makeup: Kate Lee using Chanel Beauty. Manicure: Tom Bachik using CND. Props: Cate Geiger Kalus. Tailoring: Irina Tyan. Production: Wonder Partners.
Madeleine Frank Reeves is the deputy editor at Cosmopolitan. With more than a decade of magazine industry experience in editing, writing, and reporting, she now recruits writers, sources, and pitches, and shapes content on the site and in the print magazine. She also assigns and edits celebrity profiles, including Cosmo’s cover stories. She graduated with honors in English from Harvard University and lives in New York City. Follow her on Instagram here.