There’s a long history of relationships between A-list entertainers and athletes. And although many of them are short-lived, national team midfielder Sebastian Lletget, 28, second on the Galaxy in both goals and assists heading into Sunday’s match with Vancouver, and Becky G, 23, an award-winning pop star and actress, have managed to make theirs work. During a recent conversation from their South Bay apartment with Times soccer writer Kevin Baxter, Lletget mostly nodded as Becky talked about the couple’s romance, now in its fifth year, and about love in the time of COVID-19. (This interview has been edited for length and clarity).
What’s it like, as celebrities, having your relationship play out in the public eye?
Becky G: It’s interesting to say the least. There’s a lot of similarities in our worlds, they’re also very different. And to be honest it’s a lot of fun at the same time. You don’t really think about it, like, “Oh, you know, we’re famous.” It’s really cool to hear if that’s how it looks from the outside but on the inside, for us, it’s really just us doing what we love to do with the person we love.
How has that changed with the stay-at-home orders? The MLS season paused for four months, concert tours were canceled. You’ve both been out of the spotlight now more than ever and stuck in your apartment.
Sebastian Lletget: Since this all started around March, it’s been a blessing for us because we’ve never really had this opportunity to spend as much time as we have. But we also are very empathetic and understand that it’s not like that for a lot of couples, and a lot of people out there are struggling and going through real-life situations — as we are as well.
BG: We started off with a long-distance relationship. Even though we’ve been together four years, this is the longest non-interrupted time we’ve been able to spend even in our own apartment together.
But it almost felt like we were cartoon characters. They wear the same clothes, they’re in the same rooms. It was kind of like we were stuck in this cartoon. We’re so used to doing things every single day and being in contact with our colleagues and our teammates. And traveling.
Who cooks when you’re home?
SL: She does. I always play around. As the sous chef, I’ll kill it. The grill is more my thing.
Four years together for a Hollywood couple is like 50 years in the real world. What’s your secret?
BG: One of the biggest things is our friendship. If there’s anything that’s really revealed itself in this time where we are sharing so much space and so much time together in this quarantine, it’s thank God we actually like each other. It’s one thing to love someone. But it’s another thing to like someone all the time. We actually really like each other. We’d be lying if we said we haven’t had to work very hard to get to this point. There’s a mutual respect for each other. And an understanding that our careers come first, which is hard for a lot of power couples because ego gets in the way.
Succeeding or failing in the public eye, whether it’s missing a penalty kick or getting a standing ovation at a concert, is something most people will never experience. Does that help you know when the other person needs a shoulder to lean on or to be left alone?
SG: She’s been helpful. She’s very empathetic. She doesn’t feel bad for me, she wants to help. You understand. You’ve had your own struggles that you’ve had to deal with so you’ve been there. It’s a blessing that we have this type of relationship. Because if any of us are struggling, we kind of know what that feels like. That’s huge.
BG: Sympathy is when you’re on the outside of a situation looking in and you’re like, “Oh, that sucks. That’s too bad. Do you want a sandwich? Do you want a cookie? Is that going to make you feel better?” Empathy is being in the situation with someone and still not knowing what it’s like to be in their shoes and maybe not having all the right things to say, but letting them know that you’re here with them. Even now we’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re in the middle of systemic racism really revealing itself, what’s been under the hood for so long. When it comes to our own obstacles that we have to overcome as individuals, that empathy really does allow us to be there for one another, even if we don’t know what it’s like. We’ll never know what it’s like to be in each other’s shoes. It’s hard. I’d be lying if I said, “Oh yeah, it’s great to watch the Galaxy lose.” But it’s part of the game. Nothing’s a given.
But as much as your careers as similar there are also huge differences.
BG: There’s this perception of Hollywood couples, the pop star dating the athlete, and everybody thinks it’s this amazing world. But in the athletic world, sometimes it’s looked at as a distraction. They’re like, “What are you here for? You here to play the game or are you here to get the likes, get the followers?” I always tell him, “I’m not here to be a distraction. The day that I ever do become a distraction… I’m not doing my part as a partner.” His career isn’t about me. We both started in this at such a young age. I was 9 years old when I started working. You raise yourself in an industry, whether it’s in the athletic world or the entertainment industry, you sacrifice a lot. You work very hard. I have so much admiration for his diligence and his dedication. Those were there before me. So when it’s game time, I’m just a fan. I’m not here to make it about me or to make it about us.
When you’re in public who gets recognized more often?
SL: It depends on where we are. She’s the best with fans. She’s very welcoming, very inviting. I’m usually the one taking the picture. So I’ve become a really good photographer.
Do you ever get jealous of the attention your partner gets when someone hands you the camera?
SG: If I were to do that I’d be really disappointed with myself. That’s kind of super egotistical and superficial. And everything we try not to be.
Becky, you recently joined the ownership group of Angel City FC, the women’s soccer team that will begin play in 2022. Was the decision to become a soccer owner influenced by your relationship?
BG: I will definitely take his advice into account. But me getting involved with Angel City was so much bigger than just making a power move. It was a genuine passion. Yeah, it was very cool that I was dating Seba and he happened to be playing for the Galaxy when we met. But I grew up a very proud Mexican American. My grandparents are soccer fanatics. I had my AYSO days. I would have played a lot differently as a young girl if I knew that there was even just the slightest possibility that I could play for a pro women’s football club. It would have changed a lot. That’s why I did it. And of course it’s special because my partner is a professional. If we did have a daughter one day and she told me, “I want to be like Daddy,” I don’t have to break her heart and be like, “No, actually that’s impossible.” I can tell her, “No, you could be better than Dad, actually.” Come on over to Angel City. Let’s make something happen.
Do you speak Spanish or English at home?
SL: A little bit both. I think it’s more like a Spanglish house. It’s like California in general.
Every baseball player I’ve ever met wanted to be a rock star. Now that you’ve seen what it’s like to be a rock star from the inside Sebastian, do you wish you had gone into that instead of soccer? And Becky, would you like to play soccer?
SL: I’ve been able to see the creative process as far as the making of the music and the expression and the collaborative process, that part really excites me. I like to pretend like I know what I’m doing when we’re in the studio.
BG: You have a really good ear for music. We consider him part of the team. But if we could switch roles for a day, that would be so awesome. Where I would fall really short is maybe not so much on the pitch because I’m not too bad. But it’s the diet and dedication to the fitness. I’m not that good at getting up for a fitness regimen every morning. So maybe it wouldn’t work out for me.
Sebastian, you’re also a star in Becky’s latest video.
SL: I haven’t got my paycheck for that. But we’ll let that slide.
Speaking of paychecks, both of you grew up in challenging circumstances only to experience great success at a young age. Does it feel like a dream or was this supposed to happen?
BG: We’re so thankful. Something I always say is I come from nothing so I’m good with nothing. That’s very important to remember in an industry like the one we work in. Whether it’s athletes or artists, there’s a lot of pressures to live up to the certain lifestyle, offstage, off the field, to have these types of cars, to have these nice homes, to have whatever X amount of jewelry and money in your bank account. For us it’s really about having the blessing to wake up every single day and live our dream. The day that I choose not to do this anymore, I’m good. I don’t owe anybody anything.
SG: We really do have serious conversations all the time about just that. About how you grew up, how I grew up, our families and their dynamics and about how far we’ve come. We have so much in common in that sense. We’ve done a lot of work to get there and I think this just helps us appreciate everything that we do have.
So when are you guys going to get married?
SG: I’m going to talk to you later, buddy.
BG: [staring at Sebastian] My mom proposed to my dad and I have no shame in that. There’s this really cool thing that’s been happening as we try to erase gender roles; what a man is supposed to be, what a woman is supposed to be. I don’t believe that marriage is a one-way street. It’s a two-lane conversation that is always evolving, always growing. We’re still young. Now we know we can actually live together. 2020 has really shown us we can actually live together. My grandma would always tell me, “Try before you buy.”