Wow, this is already getting some hate in the comments, and we’re only on Chapter 2. You are not going to like where this is going. Sorry, anonymice.
To the people that say this kind of thing is weird and stalkery and ‘fetishizing homosexuality’, I’m just a journalist. I write about what people are interested in reading. This has got thousands of hits in just a few days, so I think the numbers speak for themselves.
And because people keep asking for receipts, I want to point out that every claim I make is going to be backed up with references to original sources, which I found by checking internet data archives such as the Wayback Machine,1 as well as searching the current existing social media accounts of relevant players. All evidence is included as embedded hyperlinks leading to Google Drive PDF files, which are downloads of how the webpages appeared, saved at the time I quoted them.
I’ve done this instead of linking directly to the sites, just in case this essay gets popular enough that people start locking their posts or taking blogs down. You can follow the links at the top of the PDF to check I’m telling the truth, if you wish. Everything was still online as of today.
Nothing is made up. This is all real. I promise.
Another important note, for everyone who keeps saying I’m going to get sued: all of the information included in this essay is publicly available and legal. I have not broken any privacy laws, and as far as I am aware none have been broken to provide the information included in my sources. If you know of anything that suggests otherwise, please let me know immediately so that I can remove the sources. I would rather this guide be incomplete than be taken down entirely by anyone’s lawyers.
Okay, now that the housekeeping’s out of the way, let’s get onto The Good Stuff.
(Also, thanks for all the coffees! I am sufficiently caffeinated to write the next chapter now. Imagine me hyperactively tip-tapping away on my shitty laptop while you read.)
Social Media Analysis
As I will discuss further in Chapter 4, it is incredibly likely that most of Rob and Nathan’s social media posts are written by publicity and PR professionals working on behalf of the Management at NBC to forward their preferred narrative.
It is unknown whether Rob and Nathan approve of this narrative, or whether it is a contractual obligation beyond their control. Because of this, I personally find it hard to accept any social media posts2 as hard evidence. It very likely they are totally falsified, or at least tainted with a cloud of suspicion.3
However, I think they contain information which is still worth noting, particularly in regards to their sexuality. Let’s start with Nathan. He’s a much less frequent social media user than Rob (we’ll come to him later – he deserves his own chapter), so it’s hard to prove his sexuality.
Personally, I think that he’s bisexual, as we know that he’s attracted to women. He was married from 2004 – 2007, and his make-up artist ex-wife sold a tell-all to Life & Style in 2017 when he got really famous. It’s very clear that their marriage was real, just from the quotes.
TV star Nathan O’Donnell’s ex-wife spills the beans on the split in an exclusive interview in the new issue of LIFE & STYLE.
Jessica Stempfley, 37, divorced the Loch & Ness actor, 34, in 2007, after a four-year relationship.
“It was mutual,” she says. “We realised how incompatible we were. We were progressing at different rates.”
She reveals that Nathan, who was 23 at the time of their divorce, hadn’t been ready to have kids. He was more focused on the moment, and didn’t like to discuss the future. Jessica also likes to travel, and Nathan is more of a homebody.
Apparently, O’Donnell wooed the Welsh beauty with dick pics and Netflix & chill. “It worked,” she admits. “We hooked up a few days after we met on set [of Silent Watcher]. He asked for my number and texted me the same day.”
She slammed his lack of effort, saying, “He’s a charmer, but he does have an ugly side. He didn’t contribute much to the housework, and he spent all his time tinkering in the garage with this awful sports car that never once worked. He used to go for long drives in the country when he wanted to be alone, and I wouldn’t hear from him for fourteen hours at a time. It was very stressful – I always worried that something had happened to him.”
In the end, they became estranged and, after a six-week period where O’Donnell was away from home to film a project on location, they admitted that their marriage had failed and they were happier apart. “Neither of us dumped the other. It was mutual.”
Afterwards, she was so burned by the divorce that it took her a whole year to recover enough to date again. She’s now happily married to a director, with twin boys (7).
Jessica revealed that she wasn’t salty that the pair were no longer an item. “It’s not like Nathan is ‘the one that got away’. I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing him. I have some great memories. The break-up was hell, but I had a lot of fun with him. I don’t regret it.”
She is glad that she wasn’t with him at the peak of his fame, saying, “I couldn’t handle dating him now. I value my privacy. It would never have worked.”
She admits that she’s very happy he’s found such success, though. “I see him around sometimes when he’s in the UK visiting his mum and sister. We’re in the same social circle. We get on fine. I’m glad he’s doing well.”
O’Donnell is currently single, and filming Season 2 of Loch & Ness in LA with co-stars Rob Hennings and Anya Thomas.
We know Nathan is attracted to women from this article. However, there is some evidence that Nathan also has same-sex attractions (to Rob, at the very least). So let’s get back to more recent history, after Rob and Nathan actually met.
Management want us to believe that Rob and Nathan are close colleagues and nothing more. In this section, I am going to present evidence from press interviews and social media posts that, despite Management’s best efforts, suggest otherwise. These range from overtly romantic to sub-textually homoerotic. If this is what’s getting through the cracks, then imagine what we’re not seeing. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I could handle it.
It’s worth going and watching the video for yourself – pay attention to the way they look at each other in this clip at 0.12, it will be important later.
Interviewer: How excited are you two about the pilot?
Rob: SO excited.
Nathan: I can’t remember a more hyped launch for anything I’ve worked on. Having the existing fanbase from the books has just been fab in getting the word out there about Loch & Ness.
Interviewer: I bet! Had any of you read the books before you were cast?
Rob: Oh yeah.
Nathan: I hadn’t, but Rob was like, a super fan.
Rob: I know Fang better than even Nathan knows him, I’m pretty sure.
Nathan: Don’t you ever.
[Literally five seconds where they just smirk at each other]
Interviewer: Do you have any ideas about where you want the show to go if it gets renewed? Any romantic ships?
[Rob looks off-screen]
Rob: I agree with Anya. Lyra and Jayden have such a spark, I can’t wait to see that chemistry between all the characters captured on screen.5
There’s a lot to unpack here. Firstly, if you follow Rob’s eyeline during the interviewer’s question about romantic ships, you’ll note that he looks off-screen before answering. Both he and Nathan do this multiple times during their interviews, as they check with their PR manager to confirm that they are allowed to answer.
It’s highly likely they’ve both undergone significant media training to teach them how to answer questions from the press. On a few occasions, they give identical answers to questions during separate interviews. I’ve seen a few people claim that this is because they’re in love and copying each other’s language. Nope, guys. It’s just a sign of the ridiculously high-level of control that Management have over their publicity and everything they say.
Despite this, it’s clear that even at this early date, there was some level of attraction between the pair. Nathan’s smirk to Rob at 0.12, and his sexual innuendo during the interview make that clear.6 Whether it’s conscious or subconscious at this point in time is another question.
Let’s skip ahead to April 2018 to a Season 2 press junket, where Rob compliments Nathan, who leans over and kisses Rob’s cheek. Is that the action of ‘straight colleagues’? Physical displays of affection between men are incredibly rare, and I’m sure that Nathan was reprimanded for this after the interview. It seems to go against every rule that Management has in place for their public personas.
It looks to me that despite his training, Nathan just couldn’t help himself here. At that moment in time, he absolutely had to touch Rob, so he played it off like it was a joke. It was a risky move, but I think Nathan would agree with me that it was worth it. He clearly wanted to indicate to the fans that we are being lied to, and that we aren’t being told the whole story, in the only way he could.
There are multiple interviews with details like the above. It’s incredibly obvious to anyone looking for clues. In another notable Season 2 interview, Nathan is asked what kind of girls he likes, and he answers in gender-neutral pronouns. You’d have to try very hard not to notice that these men are more than just friends, and that Nathan experiences same-sex attraction.
I’ve shown these clips to people who aren’t aware of Rob and Nathan as a pop culture phenomenon, and they’ve immediately asked things like ‘how long have they been dating?’ and ‘does the blonde one know the other guy is in love with him?’. If our boys are trying to be subtle, they are failing. Badly. Somehow, I don’t think they’re trying very hard.
Their social media has a similar amount of evidence. In January 2018, Nathan tweeted the following lyric during Pride month:
The next line of this song is about someone ‘coming out’. Not the most subtle, there.
And this one is just speculation, but it’s one of my favourite facts – just last month, Nathan posted a picture of him and Rob standing in front of a wall painted with a moon-and-stars mural. Yes, like their tattoos. As secret messages go, it doesn’t get more blatant than that.
All of these incidences might not mean much in isolation, but taken as a whole, it’s impossible to ignore the greater context of this. Nathan is a queer man. Personally, I am so proud that I get to live in a time when people like him and Rob are representing the LGBT+ community in pop culture. Next time, we’ll look at the proof that Rob is gay.
On another note – this morning I drove down to the courthouse they were seen at, to do some in-person sleuthing. According to the receptionist, the courtrooms are mainly used by the Department of Immigration for their cases. I tried to sneak in to listen to the trial, but they didn’t let me because I’m too young. I’m getting lunch right now at a coffee shop near the courthouse, so I can see whether I can overhear anything useful – surely lawyers drink coffee?!
A note before I sign off – please be kind in the comments. This is, in general, a very well-meaning and caring fandom, and if you are coming to this essay from outside our community, I would ask that you behave with the kindness you would expect from an interloper in your own social circle.
Sophieandhowl good work on the sleuthing! I’ve donated some $$$ so you can buy yourself a coffee at the courthouse coffee shop today or get some gas for the drive. I will support you every step of the way in this mission, margot.
Anonymous how are they “representing the LBGT+ community”?? neither of them are out, even if they are gay
Anonymous gottie, you bring So Much to this fandom
Anonymous You missed kind of an important part of that lyric tweet – the next thing Nathan posted said ‘Missed my girl this week, so good to be back with her. <3’
Not the super-gay tweet you’re trying to portray. If you’re going to twist the evidence to prove your argument, at least try a bit harder.
Backalley hey, weren’t you that girl who got caught out plagiarising fic a few years ago?
gottiewrites that was fake. some bitter fan was trying to drive me out of fandom.
Backalley yeah right. i wouldn’t trust a word this girl says, guys, she’s a liar. She’s infamous for making #drama, she just changes her username and starts again when she gets called out for it
Anonymous Have you seen this recording? Seems like something that’ll be useful in a future chapter.
Anonymous So I got an internship at the PR agency that NBC hired to work on Rob’s promo, and I managed to get a look at some of their files. They have photocopies of letters discussing the terms of Rob’s contract, and it looks like he’s under a morals clause that requires him to remain closeted while working on the Loch & Ness project, then for a year afterwards. His agent apparently tried to argue with NBC about this clause, saying that it wasn’t a ‘standard boilerplate term’. But Rob agreed to the clause anyway. I guess as a new actor getting the lead on such a massive show, he didn’t have much leverage. So basically, if he comes out he risks being fired and being in breach of contract.
gottiewrites THIS IS VERY NOT LEGAL YOU GUYS. But also so important! We have to highlight this kind of thing, because it’s crazy what production companies expect of their actors. This sheds a lot of light on Rob and Nathan’s behaviour. Of course he’s going to vigorously deny the claims that he’s gay! He’s not an idiot. A lot of people have implied in the comments that they’re weak for putting up with an enforced closeting. They’re not weak. They’d be breaking their contracts to do otherwise. His livelihood is at stake. I bet they’ll come out together as soon as the show ends.
Anonymous I read the cuuuuutest n/r fic today, here:
French Plaits, Cookies & Play-doh – Chapter 1 – LibbyDraws – Loch & Ness 2017 [Archive of Our Own]
Nathan crouched down, squeezing Elisa’s shoulders. “You’re going to do great.”
“I don’t wanna go! I wanna stay home with you!”
Nathan winced. “Hey, now. You know I’ve got to go to work, and Nana is busy today. Besides, Kindergarten wasn’t so bad, right?”
Elisa frowned down at her feet.
“It’s going to be all the same people,” he said. “All your friends – Becky, and Vaneet, and Cho. Don’t you want to see them all?”
“It’s not Mrs Roberts, though,” she mumbled.
“No. It’s a new teacher. Do you want to go and meet him?”
She barely nodded, but Nathan took that as a yes, and threw her tiny pink rucksack over his shoulder. The teacher was standing at the doorway, welcoming the kids in.
To Nathan’s surprise, he was young and fit, wearing a plaid shirt and bow tie. A pair of horn-rimmed glasses were perched on the bridge of his nose. Nathan paused in his tracks, then carried on walking when Elisa tugged him forwards.
“. . . hi,” Nathan said, then completely forgot why he was even there. The teacher’s collar was sticking up at the back. He wanted to smooth it out.
The teacher bent down to Elisa’s level. “Hi there. What’s your name? I’m Mr Hennings.”
Elisa, overwhelmed with shyness, didn’t answer.
Nathan cleared his throat. “Elisa. Elisa O’Donnell. She’s a little nervous.”
“Well, don’t worry, Elisa. If you go inside, there’s cookies.”
“And I can see Vaneet, look,” Nathan added, pointing into the classroom. Elisa lit up and ran off without saying goodbye.
Mr Hennings chuckled.
Nathan sent him a wry glance. “I think she’ll be okay.”
“See you at three, then. Will her mom be picking her up at all?” Mr Hennings asked, checking his clipboard. “She’s not listed on the approved guardians form.”
“Her mom isn’t in the picture,” Nathan said briskly. “It’s just me.” Then, to his horror, he heard himself add, “I’m single.” He grimaced, trying to bite back the words, but it was too late.
Mr Hennings looked up at him, eyes wide. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”
“It’s okay,” Nathan said. “Don’t worry.”
Mr Hennings held eye contact, then shook himself and looked down at his clipboard, blinking rapidly. A blush was spreading across his cheeks.
“See you at three then, Mr Hennings,” Nathan said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
He walked away, looking back over his shoulder to catch Elisa’s new teacher checking out his butt. He wondered vaguely whether he should shave off his five-o’clock-shadow and change his oatmeal-soaked t-shirt before the end of school.
Gottie is a fangirl for Loch & Ness, a TV show about paranormal detectives. She’s convinced that two of the male actors are secretly dating, and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it. When her online investigations accidentally uncover far more than she expects, she becomes complicit in secrets beyond just a romantic conspiracy theory.
An internet thriller told in a ‘true crime’ style recollection of events, the novel includes social media extracts such as modern Tumblr posts and early-noughties LiveJournal blog entries.