Which came first: the chicken or the egg? It's the ultimate unanswerable question — aside, of course, from the other ultimate unanswerable question: Do Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's romance rumors pop up as a way to prop up their films, or do their films and subsequent buzz simply ramp up our thirst for scoops about the couple?
When a Hollywood relationship is as monumental as Pattinson and Stewart's, the public's reaction goes in one of two directions. A: "They are the cutest couple of all-time, and of course they're in love, they're Edward and Bella!" (Give or take a handful of exclamation marks and "OMMMGGGGG"s), or B: "More like Breaking Yawn! It's all a big publicity stunt. [Insert rumor about masked sexuality and attempts to increase sales]."
And while we here at Hollywood.com are all for celebrating the first of those two reactions (with the appropriate number of exclamation points and just one "OMG"), Wednesday's Stewart cheating scandal brings up a rather significant twist. The actress was revealed to have cheated with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, the same day that the promotional push for the blockbuster's home theater release hits the web. Coincidence? Probably. But, man, that's one helluva happenstance.
We can't know for sure whether these events, like every time the couple was photographed kissing or holding hands since their unconfirmed (that is, until today) relationship began at some nebulous moment in 2009, are truly released, revealed, or — say it ain't so! — orchestrated to promote the couple's films, Twilight and otherwise. However, the number of "coincidences" is worth noting.
Spring 2008 — Fall 2008 (Twilight is Released November 2008)
The rumors of the romance between Pattinson and Stewart started before the film even hit the big screen and charmed the pants off of women everywhere. Sure, fans of the books were likely to look for a real-life correlation to the fantasy romance, but when the pair started showing up at events like San Diego Comic-Con, the MTV Movie Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards together, it was clear that the promotional team behind the film was more than willing to stoke the fire in that rumor mill. And it worked because these rumors swirled all the way through the promotional cycle, through the release and well, we're still talking about it today. You do the math.
August 2009 — November 2009 (New Moon is Released in November 2009)
Shortly after Stewart and Pattinson posed at various photo ops, including SDCC '09, with Taylor Lautner sandwiched between them. This occurred right as the big push for Team Jacob vs. Team Edward was exploding in preparation for the second film, in which Bella would weigh the pros and cons of each piece of her supernatural man buffet. At two seemingly well-spaced moments, Stewart was photographed very clearly cozying up to her vampiric co-star. First, we end the summer with photos of the duo apparently kissing and cuddling at a Kings of Leon concert just as the promotional cycle for the new film starts to roll out. Then, in the same month the film drops, November of that same year, the duo are famously photographed holding hands while leaving the airport in the City of Love, Paris. Again, this could all be a coincidence, or simply a heightened thirst on the part of photographers as New Moon's release approached, but one thing's for sure. These stunts confirmed that the battle between Team Jacob and Team Edward was totally rigged.
March 2010 (Remember Me is Released That Month)
Stewart notably attended the premiere of Pattinson's sappy tear-jerker solo, whipping the R-Patz/K-Stew-adoring masses into a frenzy. Maybe they were just friends? Why wouldn't she stand by her man on the carpet? Shouldn't she be at his side instead of 15 steps behind him? The answers didn't matter because we were all spewing a massive amount of chatter just as Pattinson's film was trying to make millions off of his bankable name.
May 2010 (Eclipse is Released in June 2010)
Just as the world began twitching with anticipation of the third Twilight Saga film, Eclipse, we were all whipped up into an uncontrollable, squealy froth when Rob and Kristen revealed the truth of their coupling to Oprah Winfrey. It happened during the usual briefing that happens before every taping of Oprah. The unnamed source, a staffer at Oprah, revealed that the briefing before the Twilight episode of the series included confirmation that the duo were in fact attached. Naturally, this lifted the film up and lobbed it over the finish line into an ocean of ticket sales. Of course, there's no real way to tell if they would have been lower without the Oprah story, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.
Summer 2010 — Fall 2010 (Both Stars Were Filming: Water for Elephants and On the Road)
Both films were adapted from influential or wildly popular books, but any ties to the couples' relationship rumors were instrumental in putting the titles in our brains. During the filming of both pics, Stewart and Pattinson were captured canoodling on set, despite the fact that neither film stars both actors. Still, they managed to grab our attention a little more solidly when the reports started flowing.
October 2011 (Breaking Dawn Part 1 Released in November 2011)
Just before the second-to-last Twilight film hit theaters, complete with Stewart and Pattinson's first ever sex scene, the relationship buzz hit a high. Stewart famously told British GQ that her boyfriend was British, adding "It's not that hard, you guys" in an obvious confirmation of her relationship with Pattinson. Likewise, Pattinson spoke with Ann Curry on the Today show and she congratulated him on the film series and his "beautiful girlfriend" to which he simply replied "Thank you" without trying any rumor-squashing wordplay. Naturally, this added to the pre-release buzz.
February 2012 (Same Month of Breaking Dawn Part 1 DVD Release)
It wasn't exactly a bombshell, but the same month the DVD hit shelves, the couple was caught in a little PDA action on Facebook after attending a friend's birthday party. It was just enough to remind us they were still there.
May 2012 (Cosmopolis and On The Road Debut that Month at Cannes Film Festival)
The couple is caught actually kissing at a Cannes party just as both of their films debuted to the festival audiences. We probably should have been talking about Moonrise Kingdom, which opened the festival, or the ongoing Marilyn Monroe tribute, but instead, we were all dropping our jaws over this ever-intriguing unconfirmed couple.
July 2012 (Blu-ray Release of Snow White and the Huntsman, Beginning of Breaking Dawn Part 2 promotion)
This final, suspiciously well-timed news blast confounds this system even further. While it's one of the most well-timed bombshells yet, and one that Stewart has actually confirmed with a guilt-laden statement, it's the first that signals real trouble in paradise. It breaks the status quo, which has been promoting the notion that the couple is happy and keeping it to themselves. This may be the most public their relationship has become, but then again, we're also heading into the final stretch before their behemoth of a franchise reaches its conclusion this November.
Now that you've seen the evidence, what do you think? Which is it: relationship rumors to support movie buzz or relationship rumors because of movie buzz?