After Coldplay’s Chris Martin consciously uncoupled back in 2014 with his partner of a decade Gwyneth Paltrow, his dating life became decidedly more private. Martin seems to have finally found lasting love with Dakota Johnson after previously being linked to actresses including Jennifer Lawrence and Annabelle Wallis.
Although they’ve kept their relationship low-key, they celebrated three years together this past October. Here, a rundown of the romance.
Rumors of a relationship first arose when Johnson and Martin were spotted grabbing dinner at Sushi Park in Los Angeles. According to a People onlooker, the pair appeared “cozy, laughing and affectionate” during the outing.
By mid-November fans clocked Johnson at Coldplay’s Buenos Aires, Argentina concert. Lainey Gossip noted that it was the last show of the band’s Head Full Of Dreams tour—and that Johnson was viewing the show from a VIP-level vantage point.
The following month, multiple sources confirmed to Us Weekly that the potential couple was together. “Dakota and Chris are definitely dating,” one source said. “They’ve gotten to know each other really well and are very comfortable from one another. Chris sends Dakota his music to get her opinion. It’s more than just a fling.”
A sighting at Nick Cave’s concert in Israel solidified this news. Afterwards, they had dinner at Yam Sheva restaurant in Herzliya. “They came in and they were really, really nice, like extremely nice. It was a surprise,” an eyewitness told the outlet. “They sat with Nick Cave too. I didn’t see them kiss or hold hands or anything like that. They ordered some starters and not a lot of food.”
People obtained photos of Johnson and Martin at Soho House in Malibu, California. An eyewitness said, “Chris and Dakota arrived together in Chris’ car. They met up with friends and had a fun night. They both seemed very happy. They were flirty, and also left the restaurant together.”
A week later, People spotted the couple walking the beach in Malibu, with a source noting that they had spent “m0st of the weekend together.” The insider offered that, “They seem to be getting more serious. On Friday, they had dinner with friends. They also hung out at Chris’ house and went for a beach walk. They didn’t see each other over the holidays and seem excited to be catching up now.”
People was reportedly on their date night scene again at Stella McCartney’s autumn collection unveiling. They skipped the red carpet, but an onlooker said the couple stayed close once inside the event. “They walked in holding hands and Dakota was not letting go—she was super into the PDA,” the eyewitness remembered. “When Chris let go of her hand, she slipped her arm through his.”
Later that month, Dakota’s father, Don Johnson seemingly confirmed her relationship to Digital Spy. When asked about his daughter’s romance he said, “Yeah, that’s… uh troubling, isn’t it? No, she’s a big girl, she can handle herself!”
In mid-February, the couple appeared at Ellen DeGeneres’ 60th birthday party, an event also attended by Paltrow and her fiancé Brad Falchuk. People obtained photos of the pair holding hands outside of the festivities while talking to Drew Barrymore.
A few months later, the pair was spotted walking Johnson’s dog, Zeppelin around Malibu. People spoke to a source who gave insight into Johnson and Martin’s relationship. “For the past two weeks, they have spent a lot of time together,” the insider said. “Chris lives in Malibu and Dakota seems to love hanging out there. They occasionally go for dinner with friends, but mostly have friends over at home. They go to the beach together, and walks around the neighborhood. They seem to enjoy sharing a quiet life. It does seem they are getting more serious.”
The following month, a Twitter user caught the couple at a Radiohead concert in Boston. They were seemingly on a double date with Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and his wife, Lauren. “They stood up for a couple of the ovations,” a concertgoer told People, noting that they sat for most of the show. Earlier, Martin and Johnson were seen strolling into the venue hand in hand.
The weekend of Paltrow’s wedding to Falchuk, Martin supported Johnson at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City. E! noted Martin’s presence in the audience while Johnson spoke onstage about the power of sharing stories of sexual assault.
As further proof of the pair’s bond, they seemingly got matching tattoos. E! spotted the similar ink when Johnson was photographed at the Venice Film Festival. On her left elbow, there was an infinity sign tattoo with two Xs. Days prior, Martin was seen at an event in Los Angeles with the same tattoo in a similar location.
A week later, TMZ reported that Martin and Johnson were throwing a gender reveal party at his home. Photos of blue and pink balloon arches raised speculation that the couple could be expecting a baby. Both of Johnson’s parents, including mother Melanie Griffith, and celebrities such as Sean Penn and Julia Roberts were spotted at the event.
Shortly after, Johnson’s rep denied the rumors to Us Weekly, clarifying that the celebrations were for a birthday party and not a gender reveal of any kind. On Ellen the following month Johnson confirmed that sentiment herself, saying, “Well, the only thing I’m pregnant with is a lot of really good ideas. But not any babies.”
Around a year after Martin and Johnson were first spotted at Sushi Park, the couple returned for a casual dinner out. A source told Us Weekly around this time that the couple will “be engaged soon. Chris is head over heels.” The insider also claimed that Martin was holding off on an engagement after Paltrow wed Falchuk in September. “He wanted to make sure the kids didn’t have too much change all at once,” the source said. “He’s a great dad.”
Martin spent Thanksgiving with Paltrow and their two children, Apple, 15 and Moses, 13. A source told E!, “Gwyneth thinks (Johnson) is lovely. She gets on very well with her and is happy for Chris. They’ve spent a good amount of time together and have a very nice friendship.”
Johnson and Martin were photographed walking her dog barefoot around Malibu in their last public sighting for months.
The Sun reported that the couple split the month prior, to the surprise of close friends. “Chris and Dakota were very easygoing and always seemed really happy together,” a source told the outlet. Meanwhile, The Express claimed that Johnson and Martin “could not have been further apart” when it came to starting a family. A source said, “Chris made it clear he wants more kids as soon as possible but Dakota’s career has really taken off and that’s the last thing she wanted to think about right away. It got to the point, last month, where a light seemed to flick on in both their heads and they realized they were pulling in completely opposite directions – so they decided to call it a day.”
Rumors of reconciliation begin when a Twitter user spotted Johnson and Martin at a wrap party for the actress’s upcoming movie, Covers.
Soon after the sighting, Us Weekly confirmed that the pair had reunited. The day after their initial spotting, Martin attended the Los Angeles premiere of Johnson’s new movie, The Peanut Butter Falcon. E! also shared that the couple was back together and “planning to spend more time together later this summer,” per a source
Us Weekly reported that the couple’s reconciliation came courtesy of Martin’s ex, Paltrow. “Gwyneth is the one who pushed them to do it,” a source said, noting that the two had bonded at an April event.
There could be some truth to that claim, as Martin, Paltrow, and their respective partners were all spotted in the Hamptons together in photos from TMZ. Shortly after, Johnson and Martin had date night at East Village’s Double Zero in NYC.
Griffith, Johnson’s mother, definitively commented on her daughter’s relationship with Martin. “I love my daughter’s boyfriend. I think that they’re an awesome couple,” she told People. A source told an outlet at the time that privacy is paramount for the couple. “Dakota has been filming out of state, but most weekends she comes back to Malibu to spend time with Chris,” the insider said. “They are very low-key together. They usually have friends over and rarely go out.”
On October 4, it wasn’t Martin wishing Johnson a happy birthday on social media. It was his ex Paltrow, who shared a black-and-white photo of Johnson and her pet dog. “Happy 30th birthday to this absolute gem 💙,” she captioned the celebratory IG post.
A few days later, E! reported on Johnson’s 30th birthday bash in Malibu. Guests included Martin, Paltrow, and celebs such as Miley Cyrus and Robert Downey Jr. The report said Johnson and Martin arrived at the event together and spent most of the evening by each other’s side. “Dakota and Chris sat side by side watching different musical acts,” the source told E!. “Dakota and Chris spent a lot of time together. They walked around holding hands or with his hand on her back. They seemed very happy.”
Just before Christmas, Page Six spotted Johnson on a trip to Aspen with Martin, Paltrow, and the former couple’s two children Apple and Moses. In photos, Johnson locked arms with Apple while on a coffee run alongside Martin. On Christmas day, Paltrow shared an Instagram of herself and husband Falchuk in ski gear, indicating he was also on the family trip.
Paltrow’s support of her ex-husband’s relationship continued into the new year. In a cover story interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she had nothing but kind words for Johnson. “I love her,” Paltrow said. “I can see how it would seem weird because it’s sort of unconventional. But I think, in this case, just having passed through it iteratively, I just adore her. I always start to think of the ampersand sign—what else can you bring in, instead of being resistant to or being made insecure by? There’s so much juice in leaning in to something like that.”
She also spoke about the evolving nature of her dynamic with Martin. “It’s not like there’s a finish line: ‘Oh, we consciously uncoupled; we’re done,'” she explained. “It’s a lifelong commitment to constantly reinvent your relationship with your ex, which you do presumably because you have children together. I don’t see a reason to do it if you don’t have children together. Some people do. But I think we put all the hard work in at the beginning. I would say very rarely is it difficult now. We’ve learned how to communicate with each other. We love each other. We laugh. We have the best of each other. It’s really nice. It makes you feel like you don’t have to lose.”
Martin was involved in a major career milestone for Johnson. On Valentine’s Day, Coldplay released its music video f0r the song, “Cry Cry Cry.” The romantic video’s director was none other than Johnson, who made her directorial debut with the collaboration.
Early this month, the couple had a rare public outing with Martin’s two children. The foursome was spotted by the Daily Mail strolling through Disneyland for his 43rd birthday.
A few weeks later, Martin and Johnson enjoyed dinner at Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles, per E!. Johnson wore dark wide leg jeans, a hoodie, and black loafers for the outing. Meanwhile, Martin sported a long sleeve shirt, dark gray pants, and a blue baseball cap. During an interview with Architectural Digest a few days prior, Johnson had joked that “the key to a healthy relationship” with Martin is having “double sinks” in the bathroom.
Quarantine hasn’t stopped the couple from sharing some adorable moments together. On March 26, Johnson’s friend Olivia Wilde posted a video made by the pair with the caption, “Dakota Johnson: Hand wash CHAMPION.” In the clip, Johnson stands in front of a kitchen sink as she demonstrates her hand washing technique. It’s soon clear that the actress’s “hands” in the video were Martin’s. The “M” and “A” tattoos on each of the wrists gave it away. Martin scrubbed his hands while Johnson spoke to the camera.
A few days later, Martin and Johnson made a rare public appearance together while on a break from quarantine. Photographers snapped the couple walking arm-in-arm through Malibu with Johnson’s dog on March 31.
People reported that Johnson and Martin are still going strong and are still spending time with Martin’s kids his ex-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, and her husband, Brad Flachuck. The two are living in the $12.5 million Malibu mansion Martin bought last October.
“Chris was always a big fan of Malibu,” a source told People. “He loves the beach and often goes surfing and running. The source added: “She seems to enjoy it as much as Chris does. They both love the outdoors and often take beach strolls. They also support local restaurants.”
Per The Daily Mail, Johnson has been fueling rumors of her engagement to Martin—with an Emerald ring on her left finger. Neither Johnson nor Martin have confirmed the rumor.
On Saturday the 24th, Martin and Johnson were seen out in Malibu for a lunch and coffee date, while fans still wonder if the two are planning to tie the knot. Johnson wore ripped jeans, a black spaghetti-strap top, black Adidas sneakers, and a green knit hat as Martin, who was barefoot, in gray sweats, and a black shirt, followed.
Martin and Johnson were spotted enjoying a vacation in Palma De Mallorca, Spain, where they took a boat ride and were seen taking a leisurely stroll together. They each wore black baseball caps as they joined arms.
Earlier in the month, Martin and Johnson were photographed together in New York City. They walked arm in arm, wearing matching pink and black outfits. A few weeks later, the couple was seen in London, where they grabbed dinner in the chic neighborhood of Mayfair. Johnson wore a coat over a white button down and black pants, along with a pair of Converses and a Gucci purse. Martin opted for a low-key black sweater, gray sweatpants, and knit beanie.
Coldplay announced it would be postponing several shows in Brazil due to Martin coming down with a serious lung infection. Later that month, he and Johnson were spotted on a beachside stroll in their home city of Malibu. Johnson wore a white sweatshirt and gray sweatpants, while Martin paired a graphic tee with a baseball cap and baggy pants.
Johnson put on her own show in the audience at Martin’s November 8 concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Johnson told Vanity Fair in July 2022 that she loves to tour with Coldplay when she’s not working, and she apparently also loves dancing up a storm to her man’s tunes.
When Johnson can’t travel with him, Martin makes a point of visiting her. He stopped by Boston, Massachusetts, to see his girlfriend as she was filming the superhero movie Madame Web that summer.
Savannah Walsh is an Editorial Fellow at ELLE.com.
Hilary Weaver is a freelance writer based in New York who writes about politics, queer issues, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and every woman the Queen has ever made a dame. I saw Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again three times in theaters, and that’s pretty much all you need to know.
Hannah Malach is an assistant producer at Hearst Magazines, where she covers entertainment news, the royals, and more for brands including Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. She’s previously written for Billboard, WWD, and The Hollywood Reporter. If she’s not catching up on the latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you can probably find her curled up with a good book or exploring one of New York City’s many museums.