“There was no love connection there,” Booker, 50, told The Washington Post in a profile of Dawson published on Thursday.
They’ve been dating slightly more than a year — after months of speculative headlines turned into coverage of their blossoming relationship — and to hear them and their families tell it, things are going very, very well.
“He’s young, he’s hard-working, he’s stoic, he’s amazing,” Dawson’s mother, Isabel Celeste, told the Post of the 2020 presidential candidate. “He’s probably going to marry my daughter and shut the front door.”
The happy couple is no less gushing.
“Look, both of us, you know, we’ve had relationships,” Booker said, “but I’m not sure if I’ve ever fully given myself over to a relationship as much as I have with her and allowed myself to be as vulnerable.” (He has said he’s even wrote her love poems.)
As Dawson, 40, told the Post: “For my whole life, I’ve always felt like, even when I got into a relationship, I was trying to be the center of the storm and everything was just this maelstrom out there. But for the first time, I feel like I have someone in the center of the storm with me.”
It didn’t take long for that first flame-out of a meeting in summer 2018 — when the Luke Cage and Daredevil actress and the New Jersey senator were both at a political fundraiser for a mutual friend — to be replaced by a spark a few months later, according to the Post.
Meeting again last October, “We talked for hours and hour,” Booker told the paper.
“I had trouble asking for her phone number. … I think I said something really stupid like, ‘Uh, how would I get in touch with you?’ ” he recalled. “And she mercifully said something like, ‘Oh, you want my phone number?’ And my insides were like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ ”
Despite his shy and even dorky antics, Dawson told the Post she found him to be “so charming,” “confident” and “capable.”
“But it’s not like that translates to being some super-smooth kind of guy,” she said. “That’s not his style. What wins me over with him is definitely the dad jokes.”
On Tuesday, Dawson, who just wrapped the new series Briarpatch on USA, arrived hand-in-hand with Booker for the fourth Democratic debate in Ohio, watching as he discussed topics like women’s reproductive rights, gun control and how candidates should address each other stage.
The two have not often been photographed together, but they’ve made more and more public appearances recently.
Given their very different — and very busy — schedules, their time together ebbs and flows, according to the Post.
There was even a period they didn’t see each other for two months in the summer, while Dawson was in New Mexico with her 16-year-old daughter, Isa. Earlier in the relationship, Booker told the Post, they saw each other weekly. Then Dawson’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he became her priority. In February, Booker officially embarked on a presidential bid — and campaigning became his.
Still, even apart they have kept in close contact, according to the Post: That includes two FaceTime calls a day (when they can) and romantic gestures such as him sending her music every morning and reading David Benioff’s “City of Thieves” to her over the phone.
Dawson also admitted Booker was the only partner she’s spoken with multiple times every day.
However, being in the spotlight of the political press hasn’t always been fun for Dawson, who has been irked by questions about her availability at his events, according to the Post. (In addition to her film and TV career, Dawson is a designer and political activist.)
“It’s important for me to maintain my own space and my own character and personality and career and professionalism,” she told the Post. “I’m like, ‘I call B.S. on this.’ I don’t need to be on his arm to be supportive of him and vice versa.”
“Both of us are feminists. Both of us find it a double standard that they don’t ask me the same questions that they ask her,” Booker told the paper. “I have an incredibly successful, self-made woman as my girlfriend who is managing a business, nonprofit work, a career. And when she has her big moments, nobody says, ‘Hey, where’s your boyfriend?’ ”
Since confirming their relationship in March, there have been playful references to possible nuptials in the future. (“Well the swearing-in isn’t until the 21st of January 2021,” Booker said on RuPaul’s talk show in June. “You never know what might happen between now and then.”)
According to the Post, they’ve talked “seriously” about kids together, too.
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“I feel very much like I checked the mom box in this lifetime,” Dawson told the paper. She adopted daughter Isa when Isa was 12. Though she loves babies, she said she’s unsure she has to be “the one to actually push them out.”
In the more immediate future, Dawson said she is planning on exploring Iowa in an RV with Booker next month.
“RV tours are my jam,” she says. “I think there’s no way of making that happen without quote-unquote ‘joining him on the campaign trail.’ It’s going to show up like that no matter what, but I’m just trying to spend time with my boyfriend.”
“We’re here and we’re thriving,” Dawson said. “And I want more of that. And I want that for the rest of my life.”