Photography By Benedict Evans | Groomer: Janice Kinjo / Exclusive Artists
Lee Daniels, Filmmaker
I heard his voice before I saw him, and that’s what attracted me first — the laughter. Then I was blown away by his sense of humor. He’s pure and in the moment, and he doesn’t have a poker face. When he’s happy, it’s like happiness on steroids, and his physical features change if he’s upset. I hide my stuff well — I’ve learned to. But he doesn’t. And he makes me laugh. It’s a completely different mind-set: He introduced me to The Real Housewives of Atlanta and he’s best friends with the Kardashians’ hairstylist. He’s very hip, and he brings all of that into my antiquated way of thinking.
But it’s tricky. I’m 55 and he’s 33, so there’s a huge age difference between us, and I’m nervous about that. Thinking of the future, I get very Demi Moore–ish about it all. But if I’m living in the now, I know that each of my relationships has given me something important. My first gave me kids. My second gave me stability. This one — he makes me feel more responsible and accountable. And the sex is continually off the chain. I remember first being attracted to his legs, and it’s nice to be in a relationship where, five years in, the sex is still there. That’s unique for me, because I get bored quickly.
And I feel very protective of him. He was bullied horrifically as a kid, and he’s still bullied on the streets. And it’s hard for him when we’re in public. I’ve seen people push him out of the way to have a conversation with me. It’s the nature of the beast, but it’s disturbing, and I’ve freaked out. And while he has his own identity, I know he gets lonely during my absences, which can be weeks on end sometimes. That’s why I’ve decided that whatever film I’m doing now has to be shot in New York City — so I can be close to him.
Jahil Fisher, Stylist
We met at the Chateau Marmont. I was there for my best friend’s birthday, and he was at the table next to ours. I didn’t know who he was at first, but he was living there, working on the script for The Butler. He kept staring at me, and then he sent his assistant over to ask for my number. I said, “No, he should come if he wants it.” So he did. Then we were texting back and forth for like a month, and we set a date, and when he picked me up he was blasting Aretha Franklin with the windows down. I had dressed up a bit, and he had on track pants and a T-shirt. So nothing has changed [laughs].
We kissed on our first date and it was a really passionate kiss. After dinner, we had a drink back at the Chateau, but I wouldn’t go up to his room, so he grabbed me in front of these tourists and made out with me right in the lobby. It was entirely inappropriate, unexpected, and hot. He has a concentrated personality — he’s so intense — so when he looks at you, and he’s loving you, it pours over you.
That intense love is what keeps me going. It can be hard to be part of such a public figure’s personal life, but I don’t have much of an ego, and I understand the bigger picture. I want to support his gift.
I work at Lanvin now, and I’m a freelance stylist, but when he asked me to leave my job at Maxfield [in Los Angeles], I said yes. For me it wasn’t about independence because I’ve always tried to follow my heart. I’m more of a romantic. I’d fallen in love and that was it. I didn’t really need to question anything else.