Originally appeared on E! Online
Alba Baptista must love dogs.
Or one dog, at least, to have fully captured the heart of Chris Evans, who above pretty much all else—including movie star, Captain America and reigning “Sexiest Man Alive”—is Dodger’s dad.
“Look, not everyone likes dogs,” the actor told E! News in April while promoting his partnership with pet food brand Jinx. “That’s okay. But to not be charmed by him in the least might say something.”
Consider Baptista charmed: She casually dropped a pic of Evans’ by now very recognizable rescue boxer in a May 18 Instagram slide show captioned “Some winter Love stories.” Which Dodgers’ human duly liked.
But for the most part, he and Baptista have maintained a very low-profile as a couple, not even getting photographed holding hands until November once the news had broke that they’d already been dating for more than a year. And on Sept. 10, they exchanged vows in an intimate wedding ceremony featuring guests like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth.
Chris Evans & Alba Baptista: Romance Rewind
More from E! Online
Not to say they’ll ever go on some sort of PDA tear. Evans, who triggered every tractor beam in the multiverse when he said in July 2022 that he was “laser-focused on finding a partner,” knows from experience that it isn’t always the more-attention-the-merrier when it comes to his private life.
“Some things you want just for you,” he told People in November when he succeeded Marvel pal Paul Rudd as Sexiest Man Alive, “or just for my family and my friends.”
Baptista, who starred on Netflix’s Warrior Nun for two seasons and appeared in the Oscar-nominated Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris last year, has so far deftly handled the extra attention that’s come her way. But she’s had some practice on that front since she started acting in her native Portugal at 15.
“I try to be true to myself,” she told GQ Portugal in 2020, noting that before she posted anything online, she asked herself first whether she was truly okay with the entire world seeing it. “What is the fine line that determines when the exposure is excessive or not? So, I struggled with that. My followers have suddenly gone up a lot, in fact. But it’s a matter of balancing things, giving something that you feel they want from time to time.”
Chris Evans’ Dating History
The 26-year-old’s follower count on Instagram has since ticked up to over 700,000—but she can consider Evans’ 30 million to be honorary ardent observers.
And though he has historically kept this portion of his life squirreled away from inquiring minds, Evans has been throwing a little meat their way this year, making his relationship with Baptista Instagram-official on Jan. 6 with a funny montage of them startling each other by randomly yelling “Babe!” when the other least expected it.
Which, going by the variety on display, they apparently get a huge kick out of.
He confirmed they were still going strong a month later with a Valentine’s Day tribute of photos and video from a series of good times enjoyed together. “I think declarations of love are great,” Evans told People. “I love love. I’m a bit of a sap like that.”
And though they’re still shy of a red carpet debut, Baptista showed up for the April 18 New York premiere of Evans’ action-rom-com Ghosted, which promptly went on to become the most-watched movie debut to date on Apple+.
Interestingly, while the idea of ghosting Evans sounds positively surreal, he says he’s been through something much worse.
“I think I’d prefer being ghosted because you can make up any story you want,” he told People. “I’ve had the slow decline in text responses, and you just know the person is pushing you aside casually.”
Again, unfathomable, but that was quite some time ago. Content was how he described the state of his life in November, just days before his relationship status went public.
“Very content,” he added. “I can’t think of another word.”
Chris Evans and His Rescue Dog Dodger’s Cutest Moments
Nor did he go into detail. But the proud Bostonian has been pretty frank about his desire to be a dad one day, a role he’s been rehearsing for since adopting Dodger in 2015.
“I would love to have kids,” he told E!. “But having a dog is certainly a good litmus test of how you handle responsibility.”
Whether he’s deciding on his next role or booking a vacation, or even if he’s just going to be out late, “there’s planning involved,” Evans explained. “And pets aren’t cheap. So, it’s good training wheels for a kid—although I’m sure anyone with a kid will probably laugh at that, it’s probably nowhere near the same responsibility. But I think it’s a good starting point.”
Incidentally, Baptista said in 2020 that she was coming around to the idea of motherhood being in her future after assuming for years that it wasn’t something she wanted for herself.
“More and more,” she said, “it’s curious, throughout my career, as the career grows, I increasingly have less time for myself and I idealize a point where I can stop and have time for myself and my family.”
Asked if there was anything from the past she’d do over, Baptista said she wasn’t one for regrets.
“All of the things that went wrong in my personal and professional life,” she told Vogue Portugal in 2020, “happened in the most perfect way for me to be who I am and where I am.”
As they say, timing is everything.
And Evans considers himself a much-improved partner these days.
“You spend a lot of time learning what’s been helpful and what hasn’t been,” he told People. “We all have patterns, hang-ups or baggage that repeat and echo, so I’ve really been able to kind of identify where I need improvement and what works. I also really see the value and strength behind saying ‘I’m sorry.’ If you’re able in those vulnerable moments to stay calm and listen, I think that opens up a door in a very healthy way.”
As for those two other little words that pack a lot of value and strength when you say them to the right person, Evans said swapping vows was still “absolutely” something he wanted to do.
“When you read about most of the best artists,” he said, they were proudest of “the relationships, the families they created, the love they found, the love they shared. Those things are the most important. I love the idea of tradition and ceremony. I had a lot of that in my life, so the idea of creating that, I can’t think of anything better.”
This story was originally published on Tuesday, June 12, 2023 at 6 a.m. PT.
Sign up for E! Insider! Unlock exclusive content, custom alerts & more!