Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse never *officially* confirmed that they're dating. Even now that we all know (and they know we know), they'll still sometimes refer to each other as "friends" in interview. It's great that they're friends and in love, but let's not skip over the "in love" part. Their safely-guarded (but sometimes not-so guarded) privacy teases us enough to NEED to know everything that's going on with our favorite Riverdale couple (sorry, Camila Mendes and Charles Melton), but always leaves out the actual details we're craving.
We've searched the internet to piece together as much of Sprousehart's relationship history as we possibly could to put together this comprehensive timeline of their relationship, from the very first week of Riverdale filming until about a week ago. We'll update more as we learn more about the world's most infuriatingly adorable couple.
By the first week of filming, it was already pretty darn clear that Lili was crushing hard on Cole. While most people in this picture were looking towards Mädchen Amick taking the photograph or Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (AKA the creator of Riverdale) speaking at the end of the table, Lili was looking right at Cole, and she might as well have been the heart-eye emoji. So. Freaking. Cute. This shows that their love started way earlier than any of us might have assumed, even if it was just Lili still in shock from seeing her childhood crush IRL. If you weren't into one of the Sprouse twins during The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody, did you even watch Disney Channel?
Lili wasn't the only one getting her subtle flirt on in the earliest days of Sprousehart. Even KJ Apa trolled these future lovebirds for their obvious attraction to each other, hashtagging the photo "Cole's Hands Tho," either fully outing this couple on purpose or subtly encouraging these crazy kids to take the hint and get together! Pretty sure if they were already dating at this point, KJ wouldn't have been careless enough to *actually* expose the fledgling romance to the world, so we're going to call this B.C. (Before Cole).
Cole and Lili may have only been "best friends" when this pic was taken, but taking goofy pictures on a girl's phone is a pretty common boy flirting technique. You want attention, he gives you attention, you fall in love forever (or he ghosts you after three dates, who's to know). Lili posting this on her Twitter was probably a little bit because Riverdale still hadn't come out yet, and she wasn't in full celeb privacy-protection mode. Plus, when Cody from The Suite Life of Zack And Cody takes derpy pictures on your phone, you best believe you're going to fangirl with the rest of the world.
Meeting the brother is a huge step, especially when he's the other half of the second-most-famous twin duo in the world (sorry, but Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have them beat, even if they are chain-smokers now). It's pretty telling that Cole didn't take any other Riverdale castmates to meet the fam. Is this definitive proof that they were already dating at this point? No. Is definitive proof that they totally wanted to? Yes. Yes, it is.
Lili and Cole were already getting super close during Riverdale filming, if this tweet is any indication. When Lili was still just a starry-eyed girl with her first big break, she had a lot of fun bantering with Cole over Twitter. The first signs of sparks flying? Clearly. In July 2016, she and Cole had the joking conversation captured above over Twitter after Lili complemented Camila's complexion on a red carpet, and fans were already shipping it, judging by the comments.
By early August, Cole and Lili had graduated to the "pulling on her pigtails" approach of flirting when Lili posted this embarassing joke about a constipated Cole for everyone to see:
@colesprouse thought this could really help you out. https://t.co/cxIlKksQCl— Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) August 2, 2016
@colesprouse thought this could really help you out. https://t.co/cxIlKksQCl
Before any dating rumors started flying, before Bughead, heck, before Riverdale even premiered, Lili was already getting cozy with her good "pal" Cole. This was probably taken back during Riverdale season one filming, and this might be one of the few times the future couple wasn't lying about being just friends. Or they were still lying about it, but no one really knew who Lili was so they just let it go. Look at how cute and young they were!
Okay, at this point, they literally *had* to be dating. Lili posted this Twitter thirst trap, and Cole responded with a cartoon of Jughead leaping into Betty's arms saying, "Tempt me!" If someone you weren't dating who was a straight male you had been flirting with commented "tempt me" on a sexy photo of you, even if it was a joke, you'd know it was on. Or it would be really, really creepy. Assuming it wasn't the latter since Cole and Lili are, you know, super in love, this is the earliest concrete proof of a relationship forming our of their flirtationship.
This Insta post is the official landmark of when the entire world realized they shipped Cole and Lili. This is when the Sprousehart moniker came into the zeitgeist, and when casual viewers and stans alike had to admit that Bughead was probably a couple IRL. This is the all-time GOAT of lowkey dating announcements, with Lili looking beautiful in the field of yellow flowers and Cole taking her photo like the in-demand photographer and model duo they are.
Comic-Con 2017 was a big weekend for Sprousehart shippers. On July 14, in the days leading up to the Con, fans found a picture of Lili's hand casually resting on Cole's thigh at a party and freaked TF out. On the 24th, People reports that Lili and Cole were seen "seen canoodling, holding hands and kissing" on the same night a photo circulates of Lili wearing Cole's blazer. Four days later, the definite-couple "accidentally" held hands during a TVLine interview. Let's be honest, they totally stopped trying to hide their love at this point, it just wasn't any of our business to demand an official confirmation. Casey Cott's face here really says it all...
Well, Lili isn't calling him her "pal" anymore, that's for sure. Lili's second B-Day post for Cole is decidedly more romantic than the first, saying "To the man who has showed me more beautiful places in this past year than I have ever seen in my whole life. Happy birthday, Cole. Thank you for all of the adventures and here's to many more." So, she called him a "man," which is basically 20-something code for "my boyfriend." Imagine calling one of your guy friends a "man." It's a little funky, right? Usually, for the platonic friendships, you'd say "guy" or maybe "dude" or maybe even "kid" if you're ~super quirky~ but "man" is pretty intimate. The dramatic "he's walking away from the camera and doesn't know I'm photographing this intimate moment" thing screams "we're together."
LOL, Skeet Ulrich fully blew up Cole and Lili's spot when he confirmed their relationship in an Entertainment Weekly interview. When asked about their on-screen chemistry, Skeet said, "I'm not surprised. They have great chemistry and they've been at our house with a lot of the Riverdale people and they always enjoy each other's company. So I wish them the best." Wish them the best for what, fam? He doesn't come right out and say it, but you don't have to be Betty Cooper to solve this mystery.
We're sure the young lovebirds weren't super thrilled with that, and TBH the amount of public PDA in the following months is pretty low, especially for them. EW tries to get Cole to confirm the rumors in September, and he dodges the question. Then, in October, Cole and Lili sit on opposite sides of the couch (basically as far apart as they could possibly be) during a cast Tonight Show appearance, clearly trying to deflect the increasing speculation around their "friendship." Maybe they're just terrible at keeping secrets, because the cameras catch Cole going over to put his arm around Lili as the show cuts to a commercial break, shown below.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sprousehart ♡ (@itsliliandcole) on Oct 4, 2017 at 1:07am PDT
A post shared by Sprousehart ♡ (@itsliliandcole) on Oct 4, 2017 at 1:07am PDT
Lili makes a triumphant return to Cole's Instagram page as his clear muse. Kendall Jenner, who? Cole is a professional photographer in his downtime because even people with fun jobs need hobbies, and he's photographed everyone from Lana Condor to Sam Smith for major publications, but you've gotta admit that his pictures of Lili are a little more intimate than his other shoots. Maybe it's the extreme close-ups, maybe it's the constant tasteful cleavage.
Cole and Lili get caught spending New Year's together in Hawaii which is awesome. Can this be my life? At this point, it's super aggravating that they haven't just confirmed their relationship... they spent the fourth most romantic holiday of the year together (the first is Valentine's day, second is Christmas, third is Mardi Gras). They tell the press repeatedly that they're entitled to their privacy and don't want to have a relationship poxed by public scrutiny, and like, just because they have a point and are definitely right doesn't mean we aren't a little pressed.
"Pics or it didn't happen" is no longer a decent excuse for Sprousehart deniers. Just like climate change, you shouldn't *need* pictures to believe it, but we have them now anyway. Lili and Cole got caught kissing at a Riverdale convention in Paris called Rivercon. Twice. Kind of surprised they'd never gotten caught on camera before, but kind of even more surprised that they were careless enough to PDA at a Riverdale convention. French people have smartphones, too, FYI.
Once Cole and Lili arrived back at LAX from Paris, they were hounded by paparazzi, and Lili got a little fed up with the pestering and let the cat out of the bag. When asked by a TMZ pap about her relationship and how/whether they would be going public, Lili responded, "It's obvious." Like, yeah, dude. It's obvious, so just go public already. This is as close to an admission that they're dating that anyone is ever going to get, other than the couple calling each other "love" all the time online and by that point, we knew they knew we knew. You know?
Lili, Cole, and the rest of the Riverdale cast went to Coachella in 2017, but it looks like Coachella was too mainstream for this artsy couple the following year. Been there, done that? The adventurous pair opted to go to Cuixmala in Mexico instead, and Cole posted a bunch of ethereal and kinda sexy (like in an artsy, weirdly pure way) photos of Lili on his Instagram. We now know that Lili and Cole are a world-traveling pair, but their choice to go to little-known Cuixmala in Puerto Vallarta instead of a celebrity hotspot like Tulum really shows the essence of their spirit.
Okay, y'all. This was the big moment. You don't take just anyone as your date to The Met Gala... especially since you don't typically get +1s. Everyone in attendance is hand-chosen by Vogue monarch Anna Wintour. Not to be rude, but based on none of the other Riverdale stars being in attendance and the nature of the event, it makes sense that Cole would be invited because of his photography work in the fashion industry. As for Lili? Her invite must have come because the Powers That Be knew she was dating Cole or because someone asked if they could go together. That's probably why they decided to make the event their official red carpet debut as a couple. If you have to choose between basically confirming your relationship or not going to the freaking Met Gala, you're gonna choose the Gala.
Damon Baker via Twitter/@colesprouse
Instagram might be this couple's love language, but Twitter is where they truly shine. Whether its fake arguments, thirst traps, or in-jokes, there are so many Sprousehart moments on Twitter that they could be their own article. It seems almost impossible to track all of their adorable Twitter moments, even if Lili isn't on Twitter as much these days, but it's also where fans can really see their favorite couple's adorable dynamic. Here, Cole posted this pic with the caption "When the cradle robs back," and Lili responded with a heart-eye emoji, a fire emoji, and two water emojis aka the international thirst trap emoji.
Instagram via Seventeen
Despite Cole and Lili being fully outed, she still referred to him as her "best pal" repeatedly during the night of the rare Blood Moon lunar eclipse. She posted tons of Instagram Stories goofing off with Cole while waiting for the eclipse throughout the night, showing the two of them taking selfies, Cole playing video games in his trailer, and talking about The Purge. It was some great Day In The Life content, and it gave Sprousehart and Bughead shippers a lot to freak out about for the rest of the week.
Here it is, the third Sprousehart Instagram birthday post for Cole. They've gotten progressively more romantic with time, and now Lili calls Cole her "love" publicly for the first time (and, no, that picture of them and Casey Cott captioned "loves" does not count). People think this was taken during their trip to Mexico, and it follows basically the same theme that all of Lili's other posts to Cole do: he's opened up a whole world of adventure that she never would have seen otherwise. Like, I love and support this couple, but this girl couldn't have traveled with, like, friends? Sure, she's probably talking about the adventure of ~love~ but it's still pretty funny. Also, Cole Sprouse is 26, do you feel old yet?
The wanderlusting young cuties went back to Paris for what looks like a more ~romantic~ trip than their last business trip to the City of Lights. Clearly a couple, clearly in love, and we're all clearly jealous. Cole has his arm around Lili's waist (and some interesting choices in accessories, aka a very European scarf and see-through sunglasses combo) as they wander the streets of Paris at 6AM (which is what the photo was captioned) like characters in a godd*mn movie. This is the definition of couple goals.
If the last photo was a romance film, this one is an indie coming-of-age movie about teens in love. Once again, this couple is no longer hiding their status from the world, thank God. Cole and Lili are almost kissing in this intimate shot (probably a selfie taken by Cole, but it's hilarious to imagine KJ or Cami getting up in there with a camera for the close-up shot). The photo is captioned "It's pretty, pretty late," which is adorable, flirty, and artsy all at the same time. It also screams, "WE'RE DATING" in all caps, if you're reading between the lines.
After three birthday posts from Lili, Cole finally gives her a birthday shout-out on his Insta and it's... a lot. Like, *a lot*. Lili is just chilling topless looking amazing in this birthday pic that Cole captioned: "Both the birthday and the gift. My little muse, happy birthday my love." Yup, they're dating. Mystery solved, we can all go home now.
Cole and Lili finally openly comment on their relationship... kind of. In a Glamour interview, Cole and Lili shared their first impressions of each other and made some really sweet observations about each other. They did keep using the word "friends," but like, the cat is out of the bag people! But it was still cute. Plus, Lili fully talked about wanting to keep her "relationship" with Cole private in a Who What Wear interview the next month, so even though the back-and-forth is giving us whiplash, at least they'll admit it sometimes.
"Maybe your mother inspired this in you, but you are by nature a caretaker and an extremely nurturing person. You just want to make people feel better and help people get through whatever they’re getting through," Cole said about Lili, implying that he's met her parents.
"I said you’re very loyal to your family, because you are,” she responded. OMG. Is this what true love looks like?
Lili posted an adorbs thirst-trap of Cole with a caption that is *clearly* referencing "Your Song" by Elton John, which is so soft. Wow. For the uncultured, the full lyric is: "I hope you don't mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is now you're in the world." Lili clearly loves Cole so much. Speaking of Cole, the couple showed their ever-present silly side when Comments By Celebs caught Cole commenting "Are you guys dating." Even he wants answers.
Instagram/@lilireinhart via Instagram/@riverdalefansofficial
Lili shared this supportive GF Insta story of what looks like a paparazzi pic of her man. It seems like she and Cole are still in the honeymoon phase, even after the vague but definitely long amount of time they've been dating. At this point in their relationship, they're just blatantly dating which is awesome. Y'all better flaunt your relationship! Cole is Lili's 2018 sexiest man alive, so Idris Elba can move right on over.
In the ultimate relationship level-up, Cole spent Thanksgiving with Lili's family. O. M. G. That goes beyond meeting the parents all the way to "practically married" territory. It was already obvious that these two are serious, but spending the holidays with Lili and her extended family in North Carolina is a big move. He even met her dogs, which she put on her Instagram a few days after the holiday. Maybe she'll spend the holidays next year at the Tipton Hotel with Cody and Dylan Sprouse, every tween girl's dream. It's a little known fact that Thanksgiving is the coziest holiday and therefore extremely romantic, so they're basically married at this point.
Instagram/@colesprouse via Seventeen
Continuing the Insta Story flirtation, Cole posted this shot of Lili in a see-through bra with the caption, "Someone let this girl know I'm interested." It's so cute how Lili and Cole still act like the bantering, will-they won't-they kids they were back in 2016 (a whole two and a half years before!) when their love story started. Only a few days after this post, Lili commented on a meme about finding a boyfriend with "good d*ck game, empathy, a height above 5'9", no hoes, and common sense," which is a little TMI, but Comments By Celebs caught it and now we can't unsee it.
January was pretty quiet for these lovebirds. So quiet, that some fans thought they might have called it quits. Listen, if they're on vacation from work, live in different cities, and don't spend the holidays together, they're not going to be posting Instas all the time, and Lili was on a Twitter pause. There's also this thing called texting that is totally private and doesn't lead to their least favorite thing: people they don't know prying into their private lives. Proving that they were fine the whole time, Cole posted this Insta of Lili and captioned it a quote from Lili lovingly mocking him like only the truly in love can. '"How do the people you shoot even tolerate you?' @lilireinhart on ‘making her suffer for my art’," he wrote.
For Valentine's Day, the couple posted fitting tributes to each other on their favorite form of social media, Instagram. Cole shared a pic from that shoot with Lili he did earlier in the month with the caption, "Quite actually the only thing keeping me sane is [Lili]." Judging from that Tumblr breakdown he had a few years ago, we actually really believe that. He also posted a second picture of Lili in the snow "just for good measure" later in the day:
View this post on Instagram You make me very happy. Happy Valentine’s Day, my love. A post shared by Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) on Feb 14, 2019 at 10:07am PST
You make me very happy. Happy Valentine’s Day, my love.
A post shared by Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) on Feb 14, 2019 at 10:07am PST