Last week, 90210 actress Jessica Lowndes was on a mission. She was set to release a new music video for her song “Deja Vu (Remix),” but not before launching arguably the most puzzling prank on the Internet so far this year. With a few Instagram posts, Snapchat videos, and tweets, Lowndes told the world she was engaged to Saturday Night Live alum Jon Lovitz. “I came up with the idea for [the fake relationship] last week,” Lowndes tells EW. “I thought maybe it would get some traction but I wasn’t expecting it to blow up like this.”
Leading up to the video’s release, she posted teasing photos of an older man’s hand on her thigh (Lowndes tells EW that hand actually belongs to The Godfather actor John Aprea, who is married to her Pilates instructor and plays a security guard in the video), her engagement ring, and a video of her in bed while Lovitz narrates.
Then on Monday afternoon, after trending on Twitter and Facebook, becoming the subject of the celebrity-focused podcast Who? Weekly, and igniting cries of “April Fools!” (we’re looking at you, Chrissy Teigen), Lowndes dropped the punchline and released the music video, in which Lovitz costars. “I know it’s still the last week of March, but it is too early to say April Fools?” she asked in an Instagram video.
Ahead, Lowndes reveals the story behind the video, her reaction to the Internet’s fascination with her non-relationship, and what’s ahead for her music career.
Entertainment Weekly: You said you met Jon while working on Hawaii Five-0 last year, so when did you start working on the video?
I fell in love with Jon platonically when we were filming and I wanted him to keep making me laugh because he’s the funniest human being I’ve ever met in my life. I also wanted to do something funny and crazy for my fans. Last year on April Fools’ Day it leaked that I was doing the Lifetime movie with Will Ferrell [A Deadly Adoption] and so this year I wanted to do an April Fools’ joke of my own a few days early.
So you knew how to keep a secret with A Deadly Adoption. How did you keep this video under wraps?
We shot in December, and I’ve been working on new music since — but I funded the entire project myself. I came up with the idea four days before Christmas break and filmed the whole thing at my friend’s house on Mulholland [in Los Angeles]. I produced the video, bought all the props. I wanted to show people I’m a goofball and I wanted to come up with a funny way to entertain my fans. I also love pop-up videos.
Did you come up with the captions for those yourself?
I did. Jon wrote his bubble that says, “Has erectile dysfunction got you down?” I just wanted to come up with funny tongue-in-cheek things that would make people laugh. I was shocked by the people in my life who believed me and were congratulating me. I thought people were going to know it was a joke but no one did.
Were you surprised at the reaction? The relationship blew up online.
It’s been amazing. It goes to show you: a couple days ago I had fans being like, “Oh my god, she’s a gold digger,” and now those same people are like, “You’re amazing; we love you!” It goes to show you how ridiculous the whole system is.
How about the backlash you received?
The Internet is a super cruel place. If I was engaged for real to an older man people can say really mean things, but I don’t care what people say. The negative comments from negative people.
Have you spoken to Jon since the video came out?
I saw him this morning; we’re doing interviews together. He’s been my biggest supporter, music-wise, and every time I write a new song, I send it to him. Even when we were filming together in Hawaii, I played him some of my music and he was like, “More people need to hear this.” So I sent him the song and he was on board. It was the best day ever on set. There’s a power in being silly and not caring how silly you look. In the past I’ve done videos that are over the top sexy and I figured this was something different with a big wink.
Did you ever consider someone else for Jon’s role?
The director, Randall Slavin, and I had done a photoshoot together before and I played him the remix version of “Deja Vu” and he was like, “I’d love to do this.” Together we came up with the treatment. Initially, Jon was the first person I thought of. It had to be him; his facial expressions make the video. He’s a comedic genius.
What’s next for you musically?
I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my album, so I’m sitting on music, just ready to get it out there. My next single will drop in a few weeks. Hopefully a full album will come towards the summer and then I’d like to go on tour.