For 23 years Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins seemed a singularly stable Hollywood couple—until they split this summer. (A fact they announced yesterday.) What caused the breakup? A theory: Sarandon wanted to pursue ping pong entrepreneur Jonathan Bricklin.
A source tells us Sarandon, 63, is now in a relationship with the 31 year-old Bricklin. Which, first of all: Holy shit. Second of all: This suggests Sarandon's investment in Bricklin's Ping Pong social club, Spin, was not only motivated by her professed love of the game. Bricklin is a filmmaker whose latest (first?) film is a documentary about his father, the founder of Subaru of America. He's also one of three principals in Spin, which opened this September in the Flatiron and offers unlimited ping pong playing and hobnobbery for a modest $100/month membership fee. (Filmmakers Franck Raharinsoy and Bill Mack are the other two founders.)
If the rumor is true, the unlikely couple's relationship was probably sparked by their mutual appreciation for thwacking a little plastic ball across a net. According to the Observer, Sarandon and Bricklin first met in 2007 at one of the celebrity-studded "Naked Ping Pong" parties Bricklin and his two filmmaking buddies hosted in their Tribeca loft. (Alas, no actual nudity was involved.) Sarandon then hired the trio to make a video for Robbins' 50th birthday. (Whoops!) According to our source, "The rest is history."
A quick trip down Google lane finds Bricklin to be a cuddly hipster Ping Pong nerd, haplessly forehanding his way into the pages of Vogue, the Times and New York Social Diary. In 2008, he tried out for the Beijing Olympics in what must have been a joke. His level of play was described by USA Today as "marginally better than some pickup pingpong match in a college dorm rec room." (He lost in the first round, 4 sets to nil.)
We'll see if Sarandon and Bricklin are spotted playing any heated doubles matches in the near future.
Update: ABC News reports that Sarandon's publicist, Teal Cannady, denies that Sarandon has been volleying with Ping Pong boy:
"The rumors are absolutely untrue," Cannaday told ABCNews.com. "Susan's relationship with Jonathan Bricklin is strictly a business one."
Here's Bricklin playing Ping Pong in 2007 while waiting in line for the release of the iPhone. Yes, really.