Everything Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton Have Said About Their Real-Life Relationship

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Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton’s chemistry as Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton in the newly released Bridgerton season 3 is intense—so intense that some fans are curious if that chemistry extends to their off-screen relationship.

People has confirmed Coughlan and Newton are “supportive co-stars” but “are not dating.” Both actors are publicly single, and though they remain just friends, they’re vocal about how much they’ve enjoyed working together. Coughlan even had a sweet response when asked about fans’ speculations: “We truly love each other, you know what I mean?”

Ahead, a deep dive into all the two Bridgerton stars have publicly revealed about their relationship.

nicola coughlan and luke newton

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Coughlan says she and Newton are flattered by dating rumors but are just good friends.

In an interview with Extra, Coughlan addressed her chemistry with Newton at the New York City premiere of Bridgerton season 3. When asked about dating rumors between the actors, Coughlan said they’re flattered, but they’re just friends.

“We think it’s really sweet, I think because we truly love each other, you know what I mean?” Coughlan said. “He is a really special person in my life, and I got to do this experience with him. I’ll never get to do something like this again, on this scale. Like are you kidding me? We’re here in New York City, having our premiere. So it’s so nice having such a lovely friend that I can do all this with.”

Neither addressed dating rumors or their love lives in an interview with Town & Country, but they shared their stance on the friends-to-lovers trope.

Coughlan and Newton have made a point to keep their personal lives personal. But they have differing opinions on whether friends-to-lovers is something they could experience in real life.

“I actually don’t think friends-to-lovers is something that happens in my life,” Newton said. “If I meet someone, I know immediately. There’s a difference between me and Colin.” He did admit he believes in love at first sight: “I’ve felt that. I’ve met someone and been immediately infatuated with them. That’s something that’s more me than Colin.”

Coughlan said she likes the idea of a friends-to-lovers relationship herself: “You’ve skipped all of the posturing and all of the initial things you do when you meet someone—you try and pretend to have only nice underwear, or that you don’t sit on the couch and eat your dinner off your lap. Because they’ve been friends first, they go, ‘I know you.’ Deep, true, abiding love comes from when you love the bones of someone. You love them deeply in their entirety. That’s a thing that you get with friends-to-lovers, because you love them first as a friend.”

They also shared their similarities as people, something they discovered throughout filming season 3.

Coughlan told Town & Country, “Luke and I realized throughout this season that we’re a lot more similar than we would have previously thought. We ended up spending so much more time together. We both are very sensitive people, and it can be a difficult thing to be a sensitive person. It can be misunderstood as weakness, but I don’t think it is weak. Sensitivity is a really important thing to have as an actor. I would think we’re both quite empathetic, also. If there’s someone acting badly, we both soak it in.”

They’re also both introverted, she added: “Often I could see when he was drained from being around lots of people—in the ballroom scenes, when there are 200 extras and 30 actors and then 150 crew, that’s overstimulating to me, and it’s overstimulating to him. So we would look at each other and nod, and we’d go back to our trailers and just recharge the batteries. We both knew we needed that. It was quite nice to have someone who got that and felt the same. We didn’t have to explain it to one another.”

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Coughlan and Newton credit their off-screen friendship as helping make their characters’ romance what it was on screen.

Coughlan and Newton got to build their characters’ relationship gradually over the first two seasons of Bridgerton. That time getting to know each other off-screen apparently helped them make Penelope and Colin’s love story believable.

Newton told Good Morning America on May 16, “It feels like we couldn’t have gone through this process with anyone else. Can you imagine if one of us jumped out and there was someone new at the start of season 3? It just would not be the same and it also says a lot about the character’s journey.

“They’ve shared them growing up and connecting in small ways and slightly flirting, and it was really nice to live in that journey, and we’ve experienced it together. And to finally get to do our season—it’s just been the best experience.”

Coughlan credited their friendship and the work of the show’s intimacy coordinator for helping them pull off the performances they did in the show’s sex scenes.

“I think one of the most important things that you can have is good communication and respect from another,” she said. “And we had that in spades, thankfully. And it meant that we could come into the scenes as a team and speak to our brilliant intimacy coordinator, Lizzy Talbot, and we could say, ‘This is what we want to do.’

“There wasn’t much we didn’t really want to do actually, which was nice,” she added. “We’re like, go for it. But it was just having control. It helps so much that it ended up making it a really lovely experience.”

Newton echoed that point in his and Couglan’s interview with Town & Country. “It was nice to sit in those two roles for a couple of years and work and build on our friendship together,” he said. “It felt like it had to be that way. I know for other cast members that have come in, maybe they’ve met a couple of times before they shoot a romantic scene—or they shoot the first time they meet. It was really nice to already have that relationship with Nic, and know that we were going to get there at some point. It all aligns: It had to be that way; it had to be that we had history between us.”

Coughlan slid into Newton’s DMs and began building their friendship before they even started filming Bridgerton’s first season.

Coughlan knew how important their characters’ relationship would be long before season 3. Coughlan told Town & Country that once she was cast as Penelope, she read Julia Quinn’s book Romancing Mister Bridgerton, upon which Bridgerton season 3 is based. She wanted to know who would play Colin, and once Newton was cast in that role, she sent him a DM. Their friendship began there.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

<i>Romancing Mister Bridgerton</i> by Julia Quinn

”We connected from day one,” Newton recalled of their first dance rehearsal. While filming the show’s first season, the two actors “bonded over gossip about the show and their hopes for their storyline,” Town & Country wrote.

But even then, Coughlan recalled, “It was weird to think, God, one day I might be doing this really intense romantic season with him. It’s hard to fathom it, but at that point we didn’t know if that was ever going to happen.” This was in part because they had no clue how the show’s first season would be received or if it’d be renewed.

Coughlan and Newton regularly sent each other “Polin” fan edits on social media.

Coughlan and Newton were very tapped into the Bridgerton fandom ahead of their season 3 romance. “Nicola has got her finger on the pulse,” Newton told Town & Country. “She’ll see a lot of the stuff and send me anything that’s funny.”

Coughlan and Newton were so comfortable with each other, they’d lounge naked together in between filming intimate scenes.

Coughlan told Teen Vogue in April, “Yeah, so it’s really funny. That is true [we’d lounge naked between intimate scenes]. It is a testament to the fact that we just got to a point where we were so comfortable together. We’d just finished the big sex scene, the most intense and involved one…and we just felt relieved.”

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