Paul Mescal, newly christened as one of British GQ magazine’s Men of the Year, let it drop during an interview with the publication that he does indeed have a girlfriend, but he wants to keep her identity secret.

That’s hardly surprising. Paul, 24, has become an international heartthrob since the smashing success of the BBC-Hulu miniseries Normal People kept many of us entranced during the worst of the COVID lockdowns in April. 

But, alas, he’s spoken for.  His girlfriend is, he says, “a lifesaver. To have someone to lean on through such a mad, mad time has been invaluable. Really, I don’t know where I’d be without her.”

Her identity will likely be revealed at some point given his rising fame, which hasn’t prompted Mescal to be tempted by all the female attention he received.  To stay grounded and away from chatter good and bad, Paul says he’s given up on Twitter.

“Really, by the end, I wasn’t even seeing the positive comments, just the negative. I became entirely addicted. It was a problem. Spending hours and hours just reading all these comments...I can understand now the mental health implications. It’s toxic. So I pretty much just quit.

“Twitter is just trash, isn’t it? Anything anyone writes is just taken as gospel. Although support for the show flourished on that platform, I’ve realized that, ultimately, it’s a place that rewards incendiary remarks and divisive comments.” 

Being stalked by the media has also brought its share of problems, Mescal adds. 

“At first you think, ‘Oh, this is a bit glamorous,’ when someone is taking a picture of you buying ready-to-eat avocados and cigarettes at the off-license, but soon enough you feel it begin to infiltrate your brain.  Just bulls*** like caring what I was wearing before leaving the house. As an actor, I think you need to remain fairly anonymous and I found the lack of anonymity difficult.

“I also don’t think a lot of those photographers are particularly nice; I can’t just shrug off the stuff they say to elicit a response.  I know it’s all a game for them and these are very First World problems, but I’m not comfortable with it.”