Megan and Machine Gun Kelly were photographed and interviewed together for GQ Style! Check out the interview and photos of the couple below.
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On a wild summer’s night in Los Angeles, Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox explain their whirlwind courtship, from first meeting on set to their deepening spiritual connection, and how love has seared them together for life… through joint tattoos
GQ – In the backroom of a studio, Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox are giving each other tattoos while I watch. The lovebirds’ matching tattoos will read, ‘The darkest fairytale’, a phrase Fox says ‘alludes back to one of the first text messages we ever sent each other’. Fox wants to get inked first, because MGK has tattooed before and she’d rather not delay the pain. MGK clarifies he’s done some drunk scrawling with the tattoo gun before, but this is serious. He dips the needle in ink, presses down on the traced phrase and looks at Fox to make sure she’s OK. Fox puffs on a CBD joint to relax and they both decide they might as well just jump into it. He starts going over the stencil with the needle, pausing sometimes to take stock of his work and wipe the pen ink. ‘God, that’s sick,’ he says as she looks at his handiwork. He smiles at Fox. It’s going very well, but they could use more direct light.
This is how I find myself holding my iPhone flashlight over Machine Gun Kelly’s pelvis while he reclines on a green velvet chaise. Fox, clad in a flannel shirt, crouches over him and places the tattoo stencil along his hip. While they had originally wanted to have the tattoos on their respective inner-arm veins, MGK is absolutely covered in tats already, from his stomach anarchy symbol to a giant ‘MGK’ back piece. To find a place where the tattoo wouldn’t get lost, they have to go further south. Fox presses the inked tattoo needle into his skin while he encourages her to go harder. A few minutes later, she’s done. ‘I’m just scared that I fucked it up!’ she exclaims nervously. He reassures her instantly: ‘Fucking best tattoo I’ve ever seen in my life.’ Fox thinks she went too light, but they’ll let it heal and go over it later. ‘It looks like a fairy ghost did it, right?’ MGK says. ‘It’s all haunted.’ She laughs at that and they kiss.
I’m witnessing a ritual that is equal parts sacred and profane – a physical consummation of sorts for the pair. The first thing you need to know is that they are an absolutely gorgeous couple, seemingly made for each other. The musician, born Colson Baker but better known as Machine Gun Kelly, is a handsome 6ft 4in punk with white-blond hair and is covered in tattoos. Fox, an actress, is the most beautiful woman I have ever met, a Frank Frazetta pin-up girl drawing come to life, today wearing Bettie Page bangs and a deep brown lip colour. She is the ideal cool-babe consort for a burgeoning superstar like MGK, a rapper turned rocker whose new album, Born With Horns, is executive-produced by Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. The record is dark pop punk that chronicles MGK’s recent life leading up to the moment he met Fox on a movie set and they fell in love.
While they make quite a pair in person, their love runs deeper than the obvious physical chemistry, to a place of what they describe as a spiritual connection. It is intoxicating to be around two people who are this far gone for one another. Together with their double-date pals Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, they are bringing back Sunset Strip rock’n’roll glamour for the 2020s, as the kind of couple that’s fun to watch be in love with each other and who have what Fox calls the ‘combustible element’ of all celebrities. They walk in the footprints etched by the platform boots of partnerships such as Tommy and Pam, Kurt and Courtney or Mick and Marianne, but with a key difference: they’re trying their damndest to make sure things don’t blow up. They’re both at a place in their lives where they’re really willing to lay it all on the line for love.
It’s only been a few hours since I first encounter the pair at a photoshoot deep in Downtown LA’s warehouse zone. They are entangled together in front of a gunmetal-grey 1970s Cadillac while “Leader Of The Pack” by The Shangri-Las plays on the stereo, as two cars shine headlights on them and horror fog is blasted through the parking lot.
Fox and MGK are in Love, with a capital L. While they are both famous sex symbols, they act like kids together. He treats her with the respect she has always deserved and that itself is very romantic. Their energy together is playful. They make each other laugh. The carnal component is clearly off the charts, but they can also be sweet and funny. While they wait around between shoot setups, Fox stands barefoot on MGK’s leopard-print slippers and he slow-dances her around the room. When they are together, it’s like nobody else exists. For an intimate close-up, he requests a music change and asks for ‘Mazzy’ – which I assume will be some up-and-coming rapper but turns out to be Mazzy Star, the melancholic LA band fronted by Hope Sandoval – and their classic “Fade Into You”. This is one of many unexpected twists about MGK. He jokes that if they can’t find the song on his phone, he’ll also accept “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” by Dem Franchize Boyz.
The next stop is the Soho Warehouse for dinner, the Downtown LA outpost of the members’ club Soho House. Plates of lamb chops, prawns, ravioli and pizza are brought out to the table. The dining room overlooks the sparkling LA skyline and loud 2000s music (think Ja Rule and J.Lo) blares from the speakers. MGK has changed into a T-shirt he was gifted at the shoot. It’s printed with a photo of Mickey and Mallory, the iconic outlaw couple from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis. Movies are one of the things that brought the two together. ‘The Lost Boys was our first movie we watched together,’ he reminisces, ‘and then True Romance and Point Break.’
‘Oh, Point Break is the best – he had never seen it,’ Fox adds. ‘True Romance was his choice.’
‘I love a dark fairy tale,’ he confirms.
MGK and Fox say they really met for the first time in 2020 on the set of the action flick Midnight In The Switchgrass, but they actually met briefly a few years before that, introduced at a GQ party in LA. ‘This weird thing happened,’ says Fox. ‘We didn’t see each other.’ She looks at him. ‘Do you remember [seeing] my face?’
‘That’s what’s crazy,’ he says, ‘I don’t. I don’t remember your face.’
‘I don’t remember your face… And I definitely would have remembered his face,’ she continues. ‘I just remember this tall, blond, ghostly creature and I looked up and I was like, “You smell like weed.” He looked down at me and he was like, “I am weed.” Then, I swear to God, he disappeared like a ninja in a smoke bomb.’
They both laugh about how they couldn’t see each other’s faces. Fox has a theory: ‘I think we weren’t allowed to see each other yet. We weren’t supposed to run into each other that night, so our souls, our spirit guides, were luring us away from each other, because you literally had no face, like that thing from Spirited Away. It is hard to see his face in general, but really he had no face that night.’ She turns to him. ‘Thank God, [because] what torture had I known you were there and I couldn’t get to you. It was better that I didn’t know.’
So when Fox and MGK met for the second time, the first real time, she reminded him of their first meeting. Then, while shooting, via his character’s first line of dialogue to the actress, he had to say something fucked up to her. But what they were both feeling didn’t take words. ‘It was obvious from second one what it was going to be,’ Fox says of their relationship, ‘but we didn’t hook up right away.’ They started courting in the green room ‘She was just like, “How are you feeling?” he recalls, ‘And I said, “I’m lost.” She said, “Well, let’s find you.” That was the first real conversation we had.’
He sent her a couple of text messages, one that said, ‘I am weed,’ and another that repeated his filthy first line of dialogue to her, as if he couldn’t believe he’d said these dumb things to Megan Fox the first two times they interacted. Fox was charmed. ‘I just responded like, “How every fairy tale begins.”’ To which he ended the conversation with, ‘All the good ones at least…’
After that they texted some more and graduated to talking on the phone. ‘Did you ever talk to a girl for three hours on the phone in your whole life?’ Fox teases. ‘Were you like, “How the fuck am I going to talk to her?”’
‘It felt like five minutes, so it didn’t even feel like three hours,’ he responds. ‘Even our first kiss, she wouldn’t kiss me. We just put our lips right in front of each other and breathed each other’s breath and then she just left.’
Fox says she was trying to protect her heart, even though she knew she was already falling hard for him. She wasn’t looking for love: ‘[I was] definitely open [to] love, but I did not anticipate walking right into my soulmate like that. I was obviously over the way I had been living, and those paths lined up, those doors opened. It was [as if] all the obstacles that had kept us apart all those years [had been removed] and we were able to finally intersect.’
For their first real date MGK picked Fox up in a 1974 Cadillac convertible and they listened to Ella Fitzgerald. He drove her to a canyon’s edge where he had a friend waiting with a picnic set up on a blanket and a sea of roses. Then they drove down Sunset Boulevard to the Roxy Theatre, which was closed. ‘We went to the roof and played pop punk and made out,’ he recalls, tippling a glass of Casamigos tequila.
Had MGK ever fallen in love before? ‘No, no, no. It’s, like, because you’ve been around the world and experienced so much shit, you think you know everything. And then you are in the arms of your destiny and realise “I don’t know shit yet”. That’s when the adventure starts, right?’ Fox, too, feels like she finally found someone who really gets her: ‘I think I had either put myself in, or allowed other people to put me in, this weird box that didn’t quite fit me, where I hadn’t lived my own life as myself for a really long time – the parts of me that were always eccentric or strange and didn’t belong within my own family unit or within Hollywood.’
Fox was a teenage actress from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who was frequently cast as a beautiful mean girl before doing a stint on the ABC sitcom Hope & Faith. She ended up in the Transformers blockbusters where she became a superstar sex symbol who sparked public debate about the sexualisation of actresses, a conversation that made her into a symbol and spiralled far away from her actual personhood. In person, she is thoughtful and initially a little shy. She chooses her words very carefully, especially when talking about her career path. She has shown a range of depth extending to dark dramas, horror and comedy, while Gen-Z star Olivia Rodrigo, in her “Good 4 U” music video, channelled Jennifer’s Body, the 2009 Karyn Kusama horror comedy in which Fox portrayed a cheerleader with very sharp teeth. Hollywood seemingly still has no idea what to do with a gorgeous, smart actress, forcing them to build their careers on their own terms. Fox has shifted to indie movies and ensembles. Upcoming releases include Big Gold Brick with Oscar Isaac and Night Teeth on Netflix in October.
She’s finally finding comfort in who she’s always been deep down: a star who doesn’t fit neatly into boxes and doesn’t back down from their personal convictions. ‘You know, famously, like, I’m an unusual person,’ she says. ‘And I had buried a lot of that because it didn’t have a place to live. That’s something that, meeting him, it’s like meeting your own soul’s reflection. I recognise so much of myself in him, and vice versa, and that locked-up part of me that I had put away. I’d always felt like there was that thing missing, that I’d given up on, that you’re always seeking. But then you meet the person that completes that for you and you’re like, “Oh, this is what my heart was searching for. That’s what that beacon was this whole time.”’ When I ask if she found love because she stopped looking for it, she demurs. It’s more that she had gotten herself to be in a place where she could be with someone great. Fox thinks there’s nothing shameful about wanting to find that kind of deep, all-encompassing love.
MGK is having a hard time hearing me over the incredibly loud music playing in the restaurant, which the staff can’t turn down. ‘Can we just go to the fucking bar?’ he shouts. He’s frustrated that Fox’s sentiments about their souls meeting are being drowned out by the Calvin Harris songs booming over the speakers for the Saturday-night clubbing crowd. We abscond from the restaurant down the long, echoing hallways to the lobby.
He makes a joke about how it’s like another one of his favourite movies, Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, in which the lead singer of a band makes a journalist follow him from place to place without ever making time for the actual interview. We have found somewhere quiet at last, in front of the building that really does look like an industrial warehouse, where some tables and chairs are set up. MGK lights a cigarette, clearly already much more comfortable outside.
Meeting Fox gave MGK new inspiration that fuelled his music. ‘It’s almost like she reconnected a wire in my brain. Creativity won’t stop coming out,’ he says. They encourage each other’s artistic ventures, including a top-secret film project they’re working on together this autumn. He wrote
half of his latest album before they met and the other half afterwards. MGK feels like he’s not expressing himself well with words. ‘I’m just better at speaking with my music,’ he says. He was so awkward about telling her how he felt that he put his feelings into the new songs. ‘I couldn’t express myself the right way to her, so I brought her a song. It says everything. It’s the simplest guitar line with the purest form of how one could feel about another person and representing how they love each other.’ But you can also hear how he feels about her when he tells stories about their adventures. ‘I remember she really fell in love when I made her die laughing in a fort we made in her living room,’ he recalls.
Machine Gun Kelly was born in Houston, Texas, to missionary parents who lugged him all over the world until they ended up in Denver, where he found solace listening to rappers such as DMX and Eminem while suffering family strife at home. He moved to New York and won a series of freestyle battles, eventually netting a record contract with Diddy’s Bad Boy Records in 2011. In 2014 he started acting, winning accolades for his performance in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond The Lights. After four rap albums, he started a pop punk phase that turned into his 2020 album Tickets To My Downfall, which featured interludes from Fox and was a US Billboard No1. He also played Tommy Lee in Netflix’s The Dirt, cementing his status as a modern incarnation of the rock star as cultural satyr. Now, he’s moving into directing and writing films, with a project in the works with Pete Davidson.
MGK says he never witnessed the kind of love he and Fox have in his own life until now. ‘I came from broken homes and I watched love never work. Then I grew up where in pop culture they don’t even make romantic movies any more. It hurts my soul that I wasted 30 years of my life not having any desire. Dude, I was down to die. I was good. I was like, “All right, got music out there. That’ll hold me down.” You know, my daughter is the best extension of me and she’s going to be better than I am. And I’ve seen some shit, so I’m good to go.’ (MGK and Fox both have kids from previous relationships.)
Having grown up amid poverty and familial dysfunction, getting famous only amplified some of MGK’s demons. He and Fox share a sense that neither one is here to fix anyone – just that as a couple they have found the will to fight through the darkness together. ‘I’ve lost so many friends to suicide,’ he says. ‘Love gave me a reason to stay here.’ He starts rambling and turns to Fox and says, ‘Please shut me up. I love you.’ He tells me to ask Fox a question instead.
So I ask Fox how she feels about the recent media re-evaluation of the way she was mistreated earlier in her career. She sighs. ‘That is something that I did a lot of work on.’ A few years ago she decided to take serious time off from doing press to look inward: ‘I was never leaving the house.’ She went on a spiritual quest, reading constantly and practising mediation. ‘I’ve done everything you can do to try to make sense of that. Because it’s easy when you go through something like that to feel like a victim, obviously. That’s your first instinct and response, but that doesn’t serve you and that makes life miserable, living life as a victim. “Why is this happening to me?” You’re giving away your power constantly.’
At a certain point, Fox says, she just wanted to make peace with the past and move on. She took control where she could: over her own response. ‘I did a lot of work to remove that feeling of being a victim and to realise that it was a lesson. So there was purpose in it and I didn’t have to suffer any more. It’s [made me grow] into a much more interesting human being than I would have been without that. So it allows you the space to have gratitude for something that previously you felt persecuted by. That’s the one thing in my life I did do a lot of work on, I do feel free from.’ Fox is thoughtful, having clearly spent a lot of time working through her own feelings about it. ‘So it’s not that I feel vindicated. I’m beyond that, because I don’t need to be right about it any more. Back then I was hurt – of course I did suffer tremendously – but, you know, I’m not looking for payback. I don’t need an apology.’
I say that a woman as beautiful and intelligent as Fox can be intimidating to a lot of men. She agrees but says appearances can be deceiving: ‘We may look at somebody and think, “That person’s so beautiful. Their life must be so easy.” They most likely don’t feel that way about themselves.’ Is that how she feels? ‘Yeah, I have body dysmorphia. I have a lot of deep insecurities.’ MGK has his own demons too. He’s got post-traumatic stress (which he charmingly accidentally calls ‘postpartum depression’ before Fox corrects him) from his difficult upbringing and drug issues and he knows he has an artist’s temperament.
‘I’m basically trying to live without dying quickly every day,’ MGK says, adding that Fox inspires him to work on his own issues and be open about them with his fans. ‘I want to be as grounded as she is, but I’m not there yet. I’m open to it, but I don’t want to fool you like I’m there.’ He has ‘the utmost respect’ for his girlfriend as a person: ‘She’s helped me realise that you can’t bury your trauma. No one knows anything about me. They don’t know how deep that rabbit hole goes with my childhood and with everything that my body has stored in itself.’
Fox agrees the relationship has ‘euphoric highs’. But it isn’t all fun and games. ‘This is a very intense relationship,’ she says. ‘Our souls chose this to absolutely have to face our shadow selves; to face things about ourselves we didn’t want to have to know, that we tried to push away.’ I say it seems like they have the intensity of a first love. ‘It should be light, but also we go to hell with each other,’ MGK says. ‘It’s ecstasy and agony for sure… I don’t want people to think anything’s perfect with us. I didn’t say it was the darkest fairy tale for no reason. God help you if you would’ve met us last Saturday.’ She laughs. ‘There’s also the demonic side,’ she notes, with a devilish smile. Fox only smiles or laughs when she genuinely means it, which makes it feel special when she does. Theirs is a Gomez and Morticia Addams type of love.
They’re both trying to feel more present in real life. He says hanging out together always leads them to unexpected places and he tells a story about how they took a trip to Bora Bora that ended up with the two of them taking mushrooms, getting on a boat and climbing a mountain looking for a sacred Banyan tree they saw on a map, which they found. MGK was glad she finally got to see him play live at a festival in Florida after pandemic restrictions eased up. ‘It was weird to do a year in a relationship where I was like, “I swear to God I have a job. I swear to God I’m cool. You will see one of these days what I actually do.”’ Fox says that, even though she’d already seen him do filmed performances, this was different. ‘Obviously I’m not above the intoxicating element of watching and having heart eyes.’ Fox finally got to see the full picture of who he is as an artist: a rock star who leaves it all on the stage.
Megan Fox’s love may be transforming Colson Baker into his highest self, but it hasn’t changed Machine Gun Kelly: ‘I’m still a motherfucking outlaw.’ Together they are perfect partners in crime.
Photography: Daniella Midenge. Fashion direction: Nicola Formichetti. Styling: Hunter Clem