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Did Kristen Stewart’s Cheating On Robert Pattinson Just Ruin The ‘Twilight’ Franchise?
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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Kristen Stewart was outed this week for cheating on her long-time boyfriend and Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson. The 22-year-old actress was reportedly caught by paparazzi cameras on July 17 in a compromising position with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, 41, who’s been married for 7 years to model/actress Liberty Ross. The photos, which were published in Us magazine, are already online and in a surprising move, Stewart immediately came forward to admit her indiscretion, issuing a public apology, as has Sanders.

What amazes me about this situation is that the scenario played out like an episode of Courteney Cox’s former gossip drama Dirt, including a bidding war for the photos among several major magazines (Us Magazine got the scoop). From what I can tell, the photos show Sanders hugging Stewart from behind, as well as the two of them kissing in a car.

Considering KStew and RPatz are both young, famous, good-looking, and successful, it was obvious that the romance wouldn’t last forever, but I at least expected it to hold out until the final Twilight film (Breaking Dawn: Part 2, coming to theaters this November) was out on Blu-ray. This incident makes me wonder: Did Kristen Stewart’s cheating on Robert Pattinson just ruin the Twilight franchise?

Twilight - Kristen Stewart and Robert PattinsonWhen I offhandedly mentioned to my teenage Team Edward niece yesterday, “Hey, did you hear that Kristen Stewart was caught cheating on Robert Pattinson?” she screamed so loud I had to cover my ears. That made me realize that not only did Stewart just humiliate the already emasculated Pattinson (who’s forever typecast as a wimpy vampire), she just severely pissed off a ton of girls out there who’ll never forgive her for breaking their man’s heart. Seriously, do you remember the fans’ reactions when in the Twilight series Bella [SPOILERS] kinda sorta had feelings for Jacob and even kissed him? That bitch!!! Yeah, it was vicious and that was for FICTIONAL characters.

But, this is real life now and poor RPatz just got cheated on – you know how many women out there are saying, “How could you cheat on Robert Pattinson?!” and “I’d never cheat on him if he was MY boyfriend!!!” Meanwhile, had it been Pattinson doing the cheating, yeah, some fans would feel bad for Stewart, but most would probably tweet about how they now have a chance with him (like they’re doing now!).

So, has Kristen Stewart’s actions just completely ruined the final Twilight film for the fans and effectively ended the franchise’s winning box office streak? I’m thinking, yeah. Why? Because Stewart just destroyed the illusion.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

Since the first movie came out in 2008, Twilight fans have believed that Stewart IS Bella and Pattinson IS Edward. The actors solidified this belief by starting up an off-screen relationship. Non-fans suspected in the beginning that the relationship, which the actors poorly tried to hide, was a mere publicity stunt. But for years, the couple avoided talking about their relationship in interviews and took measures to not being seen together outside of their Twilight publicity obligations. Eventually, the couple moved in together, were seen kissing and holding hands in public and at events, and started referring each other romantically in interviews. The 26-year-old Pattinson even broached the subject of marriage recently. So, this was either true love or the longest-running publicity stunt in history. Just when the two seemed destined to be together forever – just like Bella and Edward! – BAM!, Stewart is caught in the arms of a much-older married man.

Like I mentioned, Stewart issued an apology immediately, via People:

“I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry,” Stewart said in a statement Wednesday.

Sanders, who has two young children with Ross, also issued an apology. His 33-year-old wife, who played Stewart’s mother in Snow White and the Huntsman, deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts after tweeting on July 24 “Wow” and retweeting a Marilyn Monroe quote from the Women of History account, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” Pattinson has not commented on the situation.

While the photos show Stewart and Sanders cozying up, in her public apology, Stewart referred to the situation as a “momentary indiscretion” and sources close to the actress said it was a “brief fling,” not a long-term affair and that nothing happened between them on set of Snow White and the Huntsman. (See one of the incriminating photos below of Stewart with Sanders from Us Magazine via Oh No They Didn’t.)

Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders Us magazine photo

But will Stewart’s apology be enough for the fans? Will RPatz forgive her? Maybe he can, but let’s face it, the fans never will. I can’t see anything that Stewart can do at this point (or ever) to prevent the Twilight fans from hating her, not to mention that the Breaking Dawn: Part 2 press tour is gonna be real awkward, if the two of them participate at all. Even if he does forgive her and they stay together, how will these fans look back at the previous films now? I would think fans would feel like the movies are tainted, especially Breaking Dawn: Part 1 where Bella and Edward get married, consummate their union, and have a baby. In that film, Edward also finally concedes to Bella’s wishes to have him turn her into a vampire, thereby assuring that they will be together FOREVER!!!

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1

For years, Stewart and Pattinson kept their romance under wraps, perhaps because they didn’t know if it would turn serious and maybe they were keeping it light in the beginning on purpose. But after 3 years together and then sharing a home in LA, they obviously thought it was going somewhere, even though, Stewart began the relationship when she was still a teenager. Chances are it lasted this long because they’ve spent the last few years working so closely and have a rabid fanbase that expected them to really be together. And hell, I’m guessing their handlers were thinking all that speculation about their romance was really great for their careers, although I would think someone at the studio (initially Summit Entertainment, now taken over by Lionsgate) would have said, “Hey, you know, if this relationship doesn’t work out, it could spell disaster,” and that’s just taking into consideration that the actors would have to work together again and have intimate scenes in subsequent movies. But one of them getting caught in public cheating on the other – oh, the scandal!

Now, in Hollywood, scandal isn’t always a bad thing, and you know what they say, any publicity is good publicity, but sorry, I’m thinking, no, not in this case. I think Kristen Stewart just screwed this franchise up real good, and even if Pattinson does forgive her, I don’t feel like the fans ever will. I suspect the fans will be lining up to throw eggs at her at the premiere for Breaking Dawn: Part 2. Remember back in June when Summit said The Twilight Saga will not be rebooted? You may want to rethink that one, Summit.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1

I’m sure a lot of people are going to ask WHY am I covering this news (just like they’ve asked every time we publish a Twilight article over the last 5 years). I mean, people in Hollywood cheat all the time, couples get divorced, etc. It’s the norm, right? But how often does infidelity between actors in a relationship actually threaten to harm the films they work on? Not often. Let’s take a look…

— Even though it was obvious that Brad Pitt cheated on his then-wife Jennifer Aniston with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie, he suffered very little backlash and it actually piqued moviegoers’ curiosity about their film, the very set on which they fell in love.

— Hugh Grant gets caught with a prostitute when he was with Elizabeth Hurley; gets slap on the wrist (and some police handcuffs), gives a public apology, and the handsome actor becomes one of Bridget Jones’ love interests.

— Jude Law and his children’s nanny when he was with Sienna Miller? No biggie, Law gets cast as Dr. Watson co-starring with Robert Downey, Jr. in Sherlock Holmes mega-film franchise.

Yet Kristen Stewart will undoubtedly be made to wear the scarlet letter (even though she’s not married, although Sanders is) and, like I said, will probably get some eggs thrown at her. Is it because she’s a woman that she’ll suffer the kind of backlash that people like Brad Pitt and Jude Law escaped?

There’s a good chance the Twilight fanbase will abandon her to the point where she’ll never be nominated again for an MTV Movie Award or Teen Choice Award and any other Huntsman-type movie she tries to do won’t have the benefit of the massive Twilight fanbase behind it anymore. But hey, maybe that’s what she wanted. (Why else is she making out in public with someone other than her boyfriend?!) Let’s not forget that Stewart comes from an indie movie background and that’s really where her interests lie. She’s said many times in interviews that she doesn’t want to be typecast and that she hopes to go on to have a long film career with challenging roles.

Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders Snow White and the Huntsman

I covered the very first Twilight panel at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2008, where I unknowingly was sitting in the middle of a fan frenzy so fierce it made that Beatles concert at Shea Stadium seem quiet. It was the first day of the Con and its first panel in Hall H and I got there early to make sure I was there for the rest of the day’s panels (I think I was waiting to see the panel for the The Day The Earth Stood Still remake). While I had previously covered Twilight casting news, I really didn’t grasp the popularity of the franchise. I basically knew they were vampire books my nieces had read and that they were making a movie with the Cedric kid from Harry Potter and the girl who played Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room. In my panel coverage, I wrote “I’m currently sitting in a large hall with thousands of screaming — and I mean screamingTwilight fans…” wondering in disbelief how I could have not known about the intensity of this fanbase. After that, I’ve covered every Twilight panel at Comic-Con and other conventions, with the level of fan intensity increasing each year (see our photos of the San Diego Comic-Con panels from 2009 and 2011 here below). Stewart and Pattinson appeared together at this year’s SDCC for the Breaking Dawn: Part 2 panel (check out our panel coverage, which includes lots of photos of the twosome and fellow castmembers, here).

SDCC 2009: Twilight: New Moon panel

I might not be a Twilight fan, but I’m not a hater. I did read the books and I have watched this franchise morph into the massive sensation it is today. I’ve also watched Stewart and Pattinson, two young actors, go from being little-known bit players to megastars in just a matter of a few years, and from what I can tell, they were not ready for this type of stardom, nor do I think they expected this level of intensity and expectation from the fans. While I’m not crushed by this news or shocked to hear that someone in Hollywood was unfaithful, I am surprised that after all these years, this is how the franchise will come to a close, tainted basically by what just happened. An indiscretion like this from nearly any other actor would make headlines for a few days, and then people would forget it, and the actor would move on and continue to make movies without having to answer for their infidelity over and over again. In this case, while Stewart will go on to make more movies and average moviegoers will forget her recent deeds in a few days, her actions will most likely have severe consequences for the Twilight franchise.

SDCC 2011: Twilight Breaking Dawn, part 1 panel: Taylor Lautner, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson

Ok, so you’ve heard my opinion, now let’s hear from you: Has Kristen Stewart’s cheating on Robert Pattinson effectively ruined the Twilight franchise for its fans? If you’re a Twilight hater, I think we already know how you feel; but if you’re a Twilight fan, how do you feel about the situation? Can you forgive KStew for her “momentary discretion”? Will her actions affect your enjoyment of the film, including the upcoming final installment?

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