Zach Braff Praises Florence Pugh for the 'Intelligent' Way She Handled Criticism of Their Relationship

Florence Pugh and Zach Braff - split
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for BFI, Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

The couple has been criticized for their 21-year age difference.

Zach Braff knows Florence Pugh can handle the critics all on her own. During an interview with Mr Porter, the 45-year-old actor praises his 24-year-old girlfriend for how she previously spoke out against criticism of their relationship, which was largely focused on their 21-year age difference. Braff has stayed largely quiet about remarks of the kind.

"She literally sat down, hit record on her phone and said that," Braff says of Pugh's April Instagram post in defense of their relationship. "I thought, 'How could I possibly follow anything as intelligent and articulate as that?' So, I chose not to."

The Little Women star's nearly four minute-long video came after she celebrated Braff's birthday on Instagram, a choice that people responded to by "hurling abuse and being horrid and basically bullying someone on my page."

"I would never in my life -- ever, ever -- tell anyone who they can or cannot love. It is not your place. And really, it has nothing to do with you," she said in part. "The abuse that you throw at him is abuse that you're throwing at me."

Months later, during an appearance on Sue Perkins: An Hour or So With, Pugh admitted that the negative comments about her relationship made her "feel like s**t."

"I've always found it funny, how I can be good enough for people to watch my work, and support my work, and pay for tickets, and I'm old enough to be an adult and pay taxes, but I'm not old enough to know who I should and should not have sex with," Pugh said. "Once again, [it's] making a young woman feel like s**t for no reason. I think I did feel s**t for awhile about admitting that, and then I thought, 'How ridiculous is that?'"

"I'm 24 and I can't choose who I love... There's a reason why I'm not with someone my age -- it hasn't worked," the actress added. "So who are you trying to match me up with?"

The Oscar nominee also addressed the "weird" phenomenon of people thinking they "have a say" over actors' private lives.

 "The fact is I'm not a reality TV star, I don't let people into my life like that," she said. "Since when has it been OK for people to shout at someone for their relationship? It's crazy to me."

Watch the video below for more on Braff and Pugh.