Wherever Barbara Palvin goes, there’s a little dust storm of controversy. Back when she was a 19-year-old Victoria’s Secret model, Selena Gomez fans blamed her for the singer’s breakup with Justin Bieber after Palvin was spotted with him at a Broadway show. Palvin has since been linked to One Direction’s Niall Horan; she’s been seen partying with Ed Sheeran; and, since the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, she’s been rumored to be dating Formula 1 racer Lewis Hamilton.
On the day I chatted with Palvin, who is at home in the countryside outside of Budapest, she laughed at her reputation as a man-eater—though the laughter was undercut by a clear note of annoyance. Days earlier, a British tabloid posted a picture of her sitting on a man’s lap at an event for the Italian lingerie brand Intimissimi. “That’s not Lewis Hamilton! Barbara Palvin gets cozy with mystery man,” the headline gasped.
“Normally, I don’t let it get to me,” she tells me. The “mystery man” was, in fact, her Italian agent, a dear friend. “I actually hang out with a lot of guys, and whenever I hang out with a famous guy, I’m instantly dating them. So I just laugh it off.” This time, though, Palvin said the comments crossed the line. “It was: ‘Of course she’s hitting on that guy. He’s probably old and rich.’ Oh bravo, Daily Mail !”
No, Palvin doesn’t need to date rich men to belong to the jet set. “It drives me a little crazy that people would think that.”