It was just over a month ago that Henry Cavill went Instagram-official with his new girlfriend, Natalie Viscuso – who just so happens to be a) the vice president of television and digital studios at Legendary Entertainment, and b) brilliant at chess.
“This is me looking quietly confident shortly before my beautiful and brilliant love Natalie, destroys me at chess,” he captioned a photograph of the pair staring studiously at a chessboard (or, in Cavill’s case, at his opponent).
It was a cute picture, no doubt about it, but it rubbed many of Cavill’s fans up the wrong way. Indeed, since the couple went public with their relationship, the internet has been flooded with unhappy (and, in some cases, downright nasty) messages.
From people joking that their lives are over now that Cavill is in a happy relationship, to others accusing Viscuso of using the actor to boost her own star power in Hollywood, to people insisting the relationship has been faked by Cavill’s PR team, the discourse has been… intense, to say the least.
And Cavill has, understandably, had enough.
Taking to Instagram to address the trolls head on, Cavill wrote: “There has been lots of – well, let’s call it speculation for now – about my private life and professional partnerships.
“Now, while I do appreciate the passion and support by those very people who are ‘speculating’, It has come to such a point that I needed to say something, which in itself, is a bad thing.”
The actor continued: “We are living in an age of social enlightenment. More and more, people are realising that their views may have been blinkered and that they need to expand them to encompass others. So, to you out there who are expressing your disdain and showing your displeasure through a surprising variety of ways, it’s time to stop.
“I know it can be fun to speculate, to gossip, and to dive into our own personal echo chambers on the internet, but your ‘passion’ is misplaced, and it causes harm to the people I care about most. Even your most conservative of negative assumptions about both my personal and professional life just aren’t true.”
Cavill, who recently confirmed he will be working with Millie Bobby Brown on an Enola Holmes sequel, finished: “Let’s embrace this age of social enlightenment together, and move forward with positivity. I am very happy in love, and in life. I’d be enormously grateful if you were happy with me.
“If you can’t bring yourself to be happy with me, then at the very least try to do yourself proud and be the best version of yourself.”
While comments have been switched off on the post, there’s no denying that it’s been well received by many Instagram users.
Indeed, at the time of this article’s publication, Cavill’s message had received well over 2.6 million likes and counting.
Fingers crossed, then, that his words will resonate with those who need to read it most.