Outlander's Caitríona Balfe And Sam Heughan Open Up About Wild Fan Rumors Claiming They're Dating In Real Life

Outlander Season 6 Jamie and Claire
(Image credit: Starz)

There’s no doubt that the Starz hit drama, Outlander (which has been delivering much drama to the 2022 TV schedule), has inspired millions of super fans since its debut in 2014. The time-hopping historical romance is beloved by viewers for many reasons, none the least of which is its dedication to bringing the love story of Claire and Jamie Fraser to life. Unfortunately, stars Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan have discovered that some fans are convinced they’re dating in real life, to the point that they’ve gone through extensive lengths in an attempt to prove their theories. Now, both Balfe and Heughan have opened up about the wild fan rumors.

What Caitríona Balfe Had To Say About Fan Rumors She’s Dating Sam Heughan

We know that there are a number of Outlander fans who haven’t taken Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan’s consistent denials of a real life romance to heart, as rumors about them supposedly hiding a relationship have been tossed around since basically the beginning of the show. Balfe spoke to Vanity Fair about the rumors and how they’ve impacted her since marrying Anthony McGill in 2019, and then having her first child in 2021, noting: 

When you have a kid, you become really protective. I don’t want those crazies—because that’s what they are—I just don’t want them talking about him. It’s sad, because you meet the loveliest people who are fans of the show and they’re super supportive and they do the nicest things—and then you have that little thing, which just taints it.

As a huge fan of the series myself, I can attest to the fact that it’s pretty easy to watch Caitríona Balfe and Sam Heughan as Claire and Jamie and at least wonder about whether or not all that smoldering they do during Outlander’s sexiest romantic moments has ever taken place off screen. But, you know, that’s why Balfe and Heughan’s partnership on screen is a success; they seem like they’re truly into each other. 

In her interview, Balfe also opened up about what some fans have done to try and prove that she and Heughan have been lying about their relationship for nearly a decade. She noted that after she and McGill married, someone called the church where they were wed and harassed the secretary, not believing their marriage was legit. Some fan (or group of fans) also hired private detectives to try and prove that she and Heughan were a couple in real life.

Things got even stranger when Balfe announced that she’d had a baby last August (after having filmed Outlander Season 6 with Heughan, who frequently forgot that Balfe’s baby bump was real), with an Instagram post that simply showed her holding her newborn son’s hand. Several fans asserted that the baby is Heughan’s, simply because the sheets in that photo seem to be similar to those in a post of her co-star’s.

What Sam Heughan Had To Say About Fan Rumors He’s Dating Caitríona Balfe

For his part, Heughan also admitted to being taken aback by the fan rumors that he’s dating his Outlander co-star, saying that it’s changed the way they interact with the show’s fans a bit. But, during his interview with Insider, he did agree with Balfe’s thoughts that his fan interactions have been far from all bad:

I think we've all had our own experiences and certainly some have been quite unique. But the majority of our fans are awesome and we love interacting with them. If there are one or two that are slightly on the fringes of society, then so be it…I think both of us were unaware of having more celebrity status, or just interacting with fans, I think we were both very, very open. I think we've probably become a little bit more protective now.

Sam Heughan shocked fans in early 2020 by going public with claims of harassment and bullying from Outlander viewers (with Caitríona Balfe backing him up just a few days later), which included the creation of “false narratives,” so it seems that some people in the fandom have become dangerously attached. 

Seeing as how these rumors, and apparently way worse treatment, have been going on since nearly the beginning for Heughan and Balfe, it’s unlikely that it’ll stop anytime soon. Hopefully, though, the co-stars talking about it will make at least some of the people engaging in this behavior think twice before doing it again. 

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.