For the end of 2022 and first half of 2023, Billie Eilish had a new love in her life: The 21-year-old singer was first photographed making out with 31-year-old musician Jesse Rutherford in Los Angeles in fall 2022. On Halloween, Eilish made it Instagram official with Rutherford—and poked fun at those critical of their age gap with her baby and his old man Halloween costumes.
Eilish went on to talk herself about dating Rutherford in her Vanity Fair Same Interview, the Sixth Year video. “Yeah, I do [have a boyfriend now]. And it’s really cool, and I’m really excited, and I’m really happy about it,” she said in an interview conducted in October 2022.
Dating rumors originally sparked when she was seen out eating with The Neighbourhood vocalist shortly before photos of them kissing surfaced. So who is Rutherford, and what’s his history with Eilish? Here, all you need to know, from first sightings to their May 2023 breakup.
Eilish and Rutherford were first photographed kissing in October 2022.
Days after sparking rumors they were dating because they were photographed at dinner together, Eilish and Rutherford gave their most visible confirmation they’re together when paparazzi captured them making out in Studio City. Per TMZ, the two were “embracing, kissing, holding hands and smiling from ear to ear” in photos. The outlet noted that the two had been seen out together three times in the same week: first at Halloween Horror Nights, then out on a dinner date, and finally making out.
Some fans noted that the two were photographed in 2017 meeting, when Eilish was just 15 or 16 years old. Neither has spoken about knowing the other before, although some fans expressed concern about the two’s 10+-year age gap.
Eilish and Rutherford went Instagram official on Halloween.
Eilish shared a photo of the two together at the end of her Halloween post carousel. Eilish is dressed as a baby, while Rutherford appears as an old man. The costumes are seemingly their way of trolling those critical of their decade age gap. “life is craaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy🤡 happy halloween🎃🥰,” she captioned the post.
Eilish and Rutherford made their red carpet debut on November 5, 2022.
Wrapped together in a blanket and decked out in Gucci pajamas, Eilish and Rutherford made their event debut on November 5, 2022 at the 11th Annual LACMA Art + Film Gala.
Eilish gushed about Rutherford being her boyfriend in an interview released in November 2022.
Eilish spoke at length about their relationship for the first time in her Vanity Fair Same Interview, the Sixth Year video, which was filmed in October and released at the end of November.
“Yeah, I do [have a boyfriend now],” she started. “And it’s really cool, and I’m really excited, and I’m really happy about it. I managed to get my way to a point in my life where I not only was known by a person that I thought was the hottest f*cking f*cker alive, but pulled his ass. Are you kidding me? Can we just—round of applause for me? Thank you. Jesse Rutherford, everyone! I pulled his ass—all me! I did that shit. I locked that motherf*cker down.”
Eilish shed a little light on their relationship when talking about her love language and what she needs when dating someone. “My whatever they say love language is just physical touch,” she began. “I just need to be touching skin all the time. Touching and cuddling and hugging and anything skin-related is really a big thing for me. And other than that, just like freedom. You know, I don’t wanna be controlled. I wanna be trusted, and I wanna be able to have space, and I want love and attention, and equal admiration is really important. I just am really inspired by this person [Rutherford], and you know he’s inspired by me. It’s really cool.”
The couple snuck in a kiss during Eilish’s 21st birthday party in December.
During a star-studded, Christmas-themed bash on Dec. 18, Rutherford and Eilish stole a kiss before an enormous crowd as they celebrated Eilish turning 21. Musical artist Phem caught the moment on camera and shared it to Instagram, which guest Avril Lavigne and Eilish later re-posted to their Instagram Stories.
Rutherford and Eilish made their Vanity Fair Oscar after party debut in March 2023.
The couple proved their relationship was going strong when they posed on the red carpet together for the heavily-attended post-Oscars bash. They held hands on the red carpet in a subtle show of PDA:
Eilish sneakily posted a photo of Rutherford with her during Easter 2023 in April.
Eilish and Rutherford spent Easter 2023 together with her family. Eilish let the world know by sharing a photo of Rutherford’s hand on her leg on April 11, a couple days after festivities. His “love” tattoo on his fingers was the giveaway, even though he wasn’t tagged in the photo.
Eilish and Rutherford’s breakup was announced on May 17, 2023.
Eilish’s rep gave Page Six a brief statement on the split and said any speculation about cheating is “false.”
“We can confirm Billie and Jesse did split amicably and remain good friends,” the rep said. The couple had been last seen at Coachella in April but did not attend the Met Gala together. (Eilish went on her own.)
In August, fans wanted to know what was going on with them, if anything. She invited them to “ask a question” in her Stories and one follower on her Instagram simply wrote her ex’s name. In response, she wrote, “Very very good friends only my homie forever.”
Another fan asked if she was dating anyone, to which she wrote an emphatic no.
Rutherford grew up in Newbury Park near Los Angeles and has been in The Neighbourhood since 2011. He acted as a kid.
Rutherford spoke to Messed Up magazine in April 2019 about how his life has inspired his music. “I’ll still write about my own experiences, however I’ve been trying to listen more to what other people are saying, and pay more attention to what type of people are listening to my music,” he said. “I know that a lot of women seem to like the music, along with many others. I grew up with two women only, so it’s really special to me that women are excited about our music.”
Rutherford has an older sister who’s a huge influence on him. “My sister’s about 10 years older than me and she is my barometer for truth,” he told Complex in January 2021. “She’s led a different life than me. We’ve had very different paths, and I’ve questioned that all the time, why she had to go through the things she had to go through and yet, I get to do the things that I get to do.”
Rutherford acted as a kid, appearing in Life or Something Like It (2002), an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, and more, according to his IMDB page. He addressed his acting past in his Complex interview, saying he started TV acting at age 5 “until I was 13, so that’s the world that I come from. I’ve been programmed to be an actor. So when I figured out I wanted to be a rock star or a musician, I was learning that role.”
Rutherford has also done podcasting before, debuting Patients podcast in 2020. As he told Complex of the experience doing it, “When I started doing Patients, I was just like, ‘All right, I’m going to jump and just try,’” he said. “And I don’t really promote [the podcast] very much. It’s pretty low key, but with the attention that I already get on the internet, the people that really want to hear it, they find it and then they’ll check it out. It’s just a little project that I’m starting, so it seems you get the idea about it. I feel like I’m probably saying it on the podcast a lot, too.”
Rutherford and Danny Parra run Therapy Records, a music publisher.
Rutherford spoke to Coup de Main magazine about going into music publishing in October 2020. “It naturally happened over time,” he recalled. “Danny and I have been working with each other for the past six years—he’s been my engineer for a while and then we brought him on for this album [Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones] to produce it with us. This album felt like we finally found our process—we’ve been searching for it for a long time and we tried it with different people and stuff, but for this album, I was like, ‘We all think we know what we’re doing. Let’s just act like we know what we’re doing and just do it without a producer coming in.”’Not that Danny didn’t produce the record, but it was low pressure because it wasn’t like we were hiring some guy and giving them half the album budget right off the bat to do that. It was freer for us to be like, ‘Cool, we get this great album budget, and we’re going to do it. all internally, ourselves. That’s exciting, let’s do it.’ Danny has been such a huge part of this process. I think the further we got into it, and the more we realized people want to be around us, I didn’t want to start a label. Because, especially nowadays, every kid knows the ins and outs of the record industry. I feel like the whole new thing is nobody wants to get signed to a label. So with publishing, there’s kind of more opportunity. I love giving people an opportunity for the first time, and publishing can be great for that. It doesn’t have to be the biggest cheque in the world, or maybe for some people, it is a really big cheque. But you’re not tied down to being anything other than a creative. If you got signed to publishing and you were in a band and then the band broke up, the publishing deal is still doing what it does, you can go do whatever you want and be solid in that world. It just seemed like less pressure, and more about giving people an opportunity that want to move to LA and are broke and don’t have any money, but they really want to continue doing this and they’re brilliant at making music but they just don’t have the means to continue. I like giving people the opportunity to be able to do that. And, fuck the money part. Just putting people in a room together and writing a song. It’s the coolest.”
Rutherford debuted an alter ego-like character, Chip Chrome, in 2020.
Rutherford spoke about his chromatic alter music persona in an interview with V in December 2020, calling it an “art project.” Rutherford and The Neighbourhood released an album under the persona, Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones, in September 2020.
“I think Chip was Jesse’s biggest fan,” Rutherford said of Chrome’s personality. “Chip is very inspired by Jesse, he reminded me of being a kid at my mom’s house again. You have creative vulnerability when you’re at home, you could look in the mirror and say, ‘This was pretty cool.’ Before you walk out the door, you might be like, ‘Oh, well, not today. I’m going to put on my jeans.’ And Chip was a way of being like, ‘Nope, not another day. You’re doing this shit right the fuck now.’”
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“I can’t help the fact that I also want a connection with humans, because I’m a fuckin’ human and I want to be liked and loved and have attention like everybody else does,” he added. “But basically I like being on the Internet for art, and I consider Chip an art project. […] When Chip gets recognized, I don’t feel like I’m getting recognized for me, for being Jesse. I feel like I’m getting recognized for my idea, which to me is attractive. I think that’s exciting. That’s kind of what I want to be here for.”
Rutherford’s relationship with social media is complicated, but he follows Eilish on his account.
The singer deactivated all his social media accounts on his 27th birthday, committing “social suicide,” as he later explained to Complex. “It’s satirical. It’s supposed to be. And if it’s emo in its own ways that’s good, but it’s also supposed to be ridiculous and funny and a commentary on how ridiculous the whole thing is.”
Rutherford’s music persona Chip Chrome has a verified Instagram, although he hasn’t posted since December 2021. Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa follow the account. Eilish does not, but Chrome follows her.
In January 2021, Rutherford was posting again more sparingly on his Chrome account. “I still struggle with it,” he said of social media generally. “When you’re on the internet at all and you’re part of that flow and you’re actively participating, it’s hard to not think about it in the back of your head. I think I got to a point when I was off of it for so long that it wasn’t even in the back of my head, which was really nice.”
“It was hard, because I’m on it again, I’m high on it again. I got hooked. I went to rehab and then I relapsed and now I’m getting high off of it again, and it’s actually working so I think as an addict I’d be able to be like, ‘No, no, it’s cool. I can just have one drink, and then I’m fine,’” he continued. “But I know that that’s not the truth. I know that my brain is fucked and I started it back up again, but that’s part of the Chip thing and why Chip exists at all, because I feel like I need to be there and I want to be seen so bad that I’m going to make myself into this thing so you’ll have to fucking look.”
Rutherford counts Euphoria‘s Alexa Demie, Blake Griffin and more among his famous friends.
Demie and Griffin appeared in Rutherford’s “Stargazing” music video. Rutherford told V that he had known Demie for years. “[She] was one of the first people [I] ever really met up with that was an LA person,” he said. Griffin, the outlet called a “major part” of Rutherford’s childhood. V also listed Jaden Smith, Benny Blanco, and Mac DeMarco as being part of the singer’s friend circle.
Rutherford last dated model Devon Lee Carlson from 2015 to 2021.
Your Tango pointed out that Carlson sparked breakup speculation in November 2021 when she removed “Jesse’s girlfriend” from her TikTok bio after the couple spent six years together.
Rutherford would talk about Carlson in interviews prior to their split a little, along with the attention their relationship got. He struggled with it getting more buzz than his music sometimes. “When you work on a piece of music for a long time, you post it, and it gets X amount of likes, then you post a picture with your girlfriend and it gets X amount… It’s just a weird, challenging, confusing feeling,” he told Interview in January 2020. “I feel like there’s an opportunity to get off the platform, or at least try it this way.”
Rutherford has seemed to comment on relationship with Eilish in new music.
Rutherford released new music in mid-August 2023, a track titled “POV” that some fans think allude to the sexual relationship he had with Eilish, as well as the influence he may have had over her when she was a child.
“I’m the top, you’re at the bottom/ It’s a different point of view/ Calling out ‘and one’ every time I point and shoot,” he sings, adding that he feels “like Alejandro when she Gaga on my goo.”
In another verse, Rutherford states, “She been listening to me since 2013/ I know she’s got daddy issues, welcome to the family/ She said, ‘Jesse, baby, won’t you write a song about me?’/ I said, ‘I got a whole album, I could drop it next week.’”
In 2013, Eilish was 12-years-old and Rutherford was 22.
Despite the controversy, Eilish was at a listening party for his solo album &ONE earlier in the month. On August 24, Rutherford shared a carousel of photos in which Eilish appears, calling it the “best listening party ever” in the caption.
Popcrave also shared an image of Eilish at the party on Twitter on August 12.
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Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.