Inside Lily Allen and David Harbour's secretive relationship

In some unexpected, head-scratching news, "Smile" singer Lily Allen and actor David Harbour have tied the knot. "Wait ... they were dating?" you ask. Yep, they sure were. For more than a year, the headline-grabbing singer has apparently been entangled in a surprisingly quiet romance with the Stranger Things star. Allen is based in London, as we know from that bizarre tabloid story when a diplomat squatted in her flat and allegedly refused to leave (said diplomat later called the whole thing "stupid"). Harbour is based in New York City, living in a posh "reconstructed" loft that was featured in Architectural Digest. So, how did this relationship manage to grow roots across an ocean?

Though we definitely — definitely — didn't see this couple coming, stranger things have happened. The unlikely pair actually share a whole lot of common ground, from their struggles with substance abuse to their penchant for messing with the press. Here's a look inside Lily Allen and David Harbour's secretive relationship.

Lily Allen had to grow up before she could settle down

The path that led Lily Allen to David Harbour was rocky, and before she could find lasting love, the singer needed some time to, as she put it, grow up. This began with a breakup in December 2018. The star ended her relationship with MC Meridian Dan, who she'd been dating for three years while waiting to finalize her divorce from her first husband Sam Cooper.

Allen's split from Meridian Dan turned out to be a major milestone. During a 2019 appearance on Elizabeth Day's How To Fail podcast, the singer revealed that she was finally single for the first time since she was about 15 years old and learning the invaluable lesson of how to be alone. "It's just been bad news after bad news after bad news and I think that fact that I haven't called him and been like, 'Hey, wanna come around for a cuddle?' means that it's big for me, because ordinarily, when things get difficult, I do need to have somebody around to share those problems," she said (via E!). "So the fact that I'm dealing with it all on my own, I'm growing up."

Allen took an eight month break from dating (at least publicly) before she was spotted out with Harbour in London. Though the singer's bought as a single lady made her more independent than ever, Detective Hopper certainly isn't the worst person to have around during a crisis.

Did the relationship start as a rebound for David Harbour?

Most of us forget that before Stranger Things made David Harbour a household name, he was a major success on Broadway. The actor even scored a Tony Award nomination for his work on the 2005 revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? With that kind of achievement, it's not surprising that his dating history has been overwhelmingly A-list. According to Elle, he dated late '90s/early '00s icon Julia Stiles for four years after ending his engagement to Maria Thayer, who's best known for her roles in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Hitch.

More recently, Harbour was linked to singer-songwriter Alison Sudol, who's best known for her project A Fine Frenzy and her role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. According to Us Weekly, the couple were quietly dating for more than a year before they split around July or August in 2019. That happens to be about the same time that Harbour was spotted on his first public date with Lily Allen. Per E!, the pair was caught leaving a Piccadilly Theater performance of The Lehman Trilogy during intermission before grabbing a bite to eat and "leaving together in a cab." There are stranger things than falling in love with your rebound.

Lily Allen and David Harbour live sober lifestyles together

We can't say for sure that David Harbour has helped Lily Allen on her journey to sobriety, but we do know that the singer gave up drugs and alcohol about a month before she started dating the actor. In truth, Allen never considered herself an addict. Instead, she told Stereogum that she was a "raging codependent" who abused alcohol and drugs when she couldn't cope — and coping had been difficult in recent years.

Prior to meeting Harbour, Allen faced a number of trying times including the tragic stillbirth of her son George, an alleged sexual assault at the hands of a music industry executive, her daughter's life-threatening illness, the end of her first marriage, and postnatal depression. That's a lot for anyone to handle, much less handle alone while they're touring a whole continent away from their family. That's when she turned to cocaine and diet pills. In an interview with The Guardian, Allen revealed that both grief and depression led her to such a low that she considered trying heroin "because nothing else [was] working." It was bad enough that Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow staged a sort-of intervention after she got drunk at a party and knocked herself out by "accidentally headbutting Orlando Bloom."

Today, both Harbour and Allen are living a sober lifestyle. Harbour previously told Esquire that he used alcohol as "a form of self-medication" for deeper mental health issues until he was 30.

David Harbour and Lily Allen share similar struggles

If there's one place where Lily Allen and David Harbour connect, it's with their shared demons — and we're not talking about the Demogorgen. Like the "Smile" singer, Harbour has battled both substance abuse and mental illness. We just didn't see it happen because, unlike his wife, the lowest points of his early 20s weren't splashed across the tabloids.

In 2018, Harbour opened up about his struggles during an episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast (via NME). There, he revealed that he had "been in a 12-Step program for alcohol addiction since his early 20s" and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 25 after suffering from a manic episode, during which he believed he was "in touch with God." After that, his parents took him to a mental hospital. "I have one thing to say about the mental asylum," he told Maron. "I've romanticized two things in my life and both have fallen short. One is being in a mental asylum. Really not as fun as you think it is."

Following his diagnosis, Harbour started taking medication. He told Esquire that took him "about a year" to find the dosage that worked for him.

Tour life hasn't been great for Lily Allen's love life

Besides Harbour, Lily Allen has had two other serious relationships in the last decade: her marriage to Sam Cooper, the father of her two children Ethel and Marnie, and her three-year relationship with MC Meridian Dan. These relationships both dissolved because of the same issue: Allen's American tours.

In an Instagram post, the singer revealed that during her Sheezus era — while she was still married to Cooper — she slept with female escorts on tour to help her cope with postnatal depression. "I was lost and lonely and looking for something," she wrote. She later told The Guardian that she had hoped her husband would "find out about these things and say, 'Enough is enough, you're coming home.'" Instead, he agreed to a divorce. When Allen's relationship with Dan ended in 2019, she chalked it up to the very same thing — minus the infidelity and drugs. "I've just come back from a tour in America, which is where I was when things went wrong with me and Sam," she said in an episode of My Thoughts Exactly (via E!). "And the same thing happened in my current relationship."

Unlike the past, tour didn't get in the way of her relationship with Harbour. Seven months after their first date, the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the live entertainment industry, forcing Allen to slow down. According to Harper's Bazaar, the couple spent that time isolating together in London.

Lily Allen and David Harbour sparked engagement rumors

Lily Allen has been dealing with the tabloids for a long time — and as we know by the royals' various disputes, the British tabloids are notoriously unforgiving. According to The Guardian, she was just 21 years old when she inked a deal with EMI and became MySpace famous, but that came with consequences. She struggled with the pressure of having a "constant running commentary" about her life splashed across headlines. She struggled with her identity. This is why it's so surprising that years later, Allen and her new hubby actually played into their own tabloid rumors.

In March, the "Smile" singer hand-crafted some speculation when she nonchalantly mentioned that the couple was married during a joint Instagram Live Q&A (via ET). "You think you married a pop star? You didn't," she told Harbour, referring to No Shame's poor record sales. "Not that we're married. We're not married. I just want to make sure you know." Harbour followed up by calling her "my wife."

Of course, the pair wasn't actually married, but the rumors lived on until May 2020, when Allen uploaded an Instagram selfie displaying what appeared to be an engagement ring on her right hand. According to Insider, a fan asked the singer if she was actually engaged, and she merely replied with a cheeky play on the infamous line from Fight Club, "first rule of engagement club........." In other words, she didn't not confirm it.

Lily Allen's engagement ring is 'surprisingly understated'

Lily Allen's engagement ring — yes, that was her engagement ring — wasn't exactly what we'd expect from a tabloid darling. The star took a lowkey approach to her second round of nuptials. Rare Carat founder Ajay Anand told Page Six Style that he believed her round brilliant diamond was "surprisingly understated" for a celebrity bride at around 1.5 carats. It also wasn't very unique, especially for someone who had pink hair; Anand claimed Allen's gem was "the most popular diamond shape."

Though Allen's engagement ring was nothing compared to that of fellow quarantine bride-to-be Demi Lovato, whose rock was estimated to be worth around $450,000 prior to her split, it still cost a pretty penny — at least for us normal folks. Kathryn Money, Brilliant Earth's SVP of merchandising and retail, told Page Six Style that Allen's ring is probably worth around $25,000 to $40,000. Considering Harbour makes a rumored $350,000 per episode of Stranger Things, that's small potatoes. Hey, money can't buy you love.

Viva David Harbour and Lily Allen's Las Vegas wedding

Lily Allen's second wedding was absolutely nothing like her first. The singer went all out when she married Sam Cooper in 2011, opting for an extravagant ceremony and two separate wedding looks. According to Harper's Bazaar, her second dress, a custom Chanel couture gown, was worth £300,000 (about $387,000 USD) alone. That's 10 times the cost of the average UK wedding.

This time around, Allen opted for a wedding as lowkey as her relationship with Harbour. In September 2020, the pair shipped off to Nevada with Allen's kids for a traditional Las Vegas wedding. Per Harbour's Instagram post, they were married by an Elvis impersonator at Graceland Wedding Chapel before hosting a small reception with some In-N-Out burgers. Allen also posted a photo of herself wearing her veil at the fast food chain, though it's unclear if they swung by the drive through or went inside to order.

All in all, the most expensive part of Allen's second wedding was probably her Dior dress. The short, casual number retails for $4,300 in a different color. It's not cheap, but then again, it's not like they were paying big bucks for the venue and catering, anyway.