In 2012, Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson. This made me root for her hard.
I was rooting for K. Stewart to begin with. I like how awkward she is; I like that she seems to be really feeling the grunge movement twenty years late and that she doesn’t often smile for cameras. I thought she was great when she was tough and mumbly in Adventureland and when she was vulnerable and mumbly in Twilight. I like her with the same stubbornness that I often feel for actresses a lot of other people find annoying, Anne Hathaway and Lena Dunham and Zooey Deschanel among them. If enough people find a woman irritating, she’s usually doing something interesting.
And this year, Stewart did something really interesting. She ruined her own love story.
The public version of Stewart and Pattinson’s relationship tracks with the Twilight narrative so closely that the two are nearly inextricable from one another: Stewart/Bella embarrassed and stiff and sincere, Pattinson/Edward emo and attractively self-loathing. For the past four years they’ve played their relationship close to the vest, in a manner not unlike the way a human girl and a vampire man-boy might go about a little sexy subterfuge. Given these parallels, it’s easy to be skeptical about the timing of their much-publicized breakup, which brought on a wave of extra publicity for the final part of the One True Sparkly Vampire Saga.
But after watching a pale and pained Pattinson stumble through an appearance on The Daily Show, it was hard to believe that their relationship was just a publicity stunt. And if his heartbreak was real, Stewart’s infidelity was too. Continue reading