When a celebrity scandal breaks, those at the center of the chaos have two options: fight or flight. Do they confront the allegations head-on, or do they duck and cover, waiting for the storm to pass? Kristen Stewart — whose personal life was forced into the media spotlight Wednesday morning when news broke of her affair with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders — chose to fight. Or, at least, take the reigns of her own story. Not even a day after the tabloids published photos of her illicit dalliances, Stewart admitted the rumors were true and apologized profusely, to her fans as well as her boyfriend of four years, Robert Pattinson.
In a statement to People.com Stewart said, "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."
For better or worse, Stewart has decided to come clean. And, according to Eileen Koch, Chief Executive Officer of the public relations firm Eileen Koch & Company, she made the right call. "Once you're caught, you're caught, and the truth will come out. It's always best to tell the truth because at the end of the day, the truth will come out," Koch says.
In today's culture of celebrity over-saturation and instant gratification news, Koch says it's especially important for celebrities to take charge of their own stories as they're breaking. "My take is that years ago, [celebrities] were able to keep a lot of things under the covers, because we didn't have all [the exposure] that we have today … So the advice that a good publicist would give to Kristen, or anyone, is, 'You get your point across first before anyone else does, because it usually comes out wrong and we don't want it wrong.' [Kristen] made a statement; that was a wise decision."
Whether it will prove wise in terms of box office numbers remains to be seen. With the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 just around the corner it's hard to ignore the numbers game. Hollywood.com's Box Office Analyst Paul Dergarabedian thinks that the amped up publicity surrounding the couple will only drive more curious spectators to the theaters. "I don't think that there is a single teenage girl who would not go see [Breaking Dawn because of this] ... They're still going to want to support RPatz, even if they are angry with Kristen," he says. "There's a curiosity factor now to see them on screen together and know what's transpired."
Dergarabedian cites Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was released shortly after news broke of an affair between its stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, as a precedent. "That's the best example of where some indiscretion in the private life helped the box office. Because [viewers] wanted to see what the heat was between those two. It's in that same wheelhouse. It draws on that same curiosity and interest."
For Pattinson and the August 17 release of his new film, Cosmopolis, the added buzz can mean nothing but good news. "This just raises awareness of the movie," Dergarabedian says. "People are talking about it; they wouldn't have really been talking about it right now ... As the audience com[es] out to the theater, they'll be talking about it. They'll be dishing on Kristen Stewart. And it makes RPatz all the more romantic, the fact that he's the one that has been done wrong. She was the one who did this, so it actually makes him more of a romantic figure. It even makes him seem more available in the future if things don't work out. If you think about it from a humanistic and psychological perspective, there's a lot going on here. Will it hurt the box office? I don't think so."
Pattinson's is the missing voice thus far. We have yet to hear how the young heartthrob is handling what is most likely devastating news. "He's going to react the way we would all react," Koch hypothesizes. "He's hurt, he loves her. It's a hit to his ego, it's a hit to his feelings for her, and he's going to be hurt. We don't know what's going on in their relationship. We don't know if it's solid or if it's a little on the edge … But assuming it was strong and great, he should forgive her. If he were my son, that's what I would tell him."
Follow Abbey Stone on Twitter @abbeystone
Additional reporting by Lindsey DiMattina
[Photo Credit: Adriana M. Bamaza/WENN.com]
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