Ever since Twilight hit theaters on Nov. 21, 2008, the world has become obsessed with its two main stars — Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson — and the fact that the two carried on a romance both on-screen and in real life only fueled the fire of interest. So when a bomb dropped on July 25 that Stewart had been carrying on an affair with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, fans couldn't help but let their jaws drop in astonishment. In a second, our ideas of the "fairy tale romance" came crashing down around us. But as Stewart, who is only 22 years old, quickly offered a very public apology to her boyfriend, the question remained: how would Pattinson react to the devastating news?
On Monday, Pattinson, 26, gave his first interview since the scandal broke. But even over a bowl of cereal, Pattinson wouldn't give up any personal feelings to Jon Stewart (on The Daily Show) except that he felt he needed to hire a publicist. Pattinson continued the mum approach on Wednesday when he appeared on Good Morning America, saying that he has no "interest in trying to sell [his] personal life." And then during Wednesday night's TimesTalk interview, when Pattinson was again probed with questions, he was pushed to compare the interest in his relationship to that of the royal family. "I think it's because America really wants to have a royal family," he said. But he quickly stopped himself from going further — and fans booed the next personal question that was asked.
While fans seemed unhappy to see their beloved Pattinson badgered, it brings up the question of whether Pattinson is handling himself properly in the eye of the storm. And, has his stay-quiet approach been working out well for him?
It seems it has. Not only did the TimesTalk booing prove that fans respect Pattinson's choice for privacy, but public relations experts think that he's approaching the situation quite well. "He has been handling himself perfectly," Eileen Koch, Chief Executive Officer of Koch & Company INC., tells Hollywood.com. "He doesn’t want to say anything negative. He has a broken heart and bruised ego. He also is a gentleman and a class act." Celebrity publicist Jack Ketsoyan, who has worked with clients like Kristin Cavallari and Ali Landry, agrees: "He is doing the right thing — he's not talking about it."
Pattison agreed to these interviews to promote his new movie Cosmopolis, and that's the only thing he should be talking about (and that's what he's doing). "He's not going to talk about it at the moment just because he has a movie coming, and the last thing you want to do is [talk about] a controversy that’s going to take away from the movie," explains Ketsoyan. "It takes away from what you’re trying to promote. It takes away from the product itself."
So should Pattinson ever discuss the Stewart situation? "A good rule of communicating well is [to] first figure out what you want to say," says Michael Levine, a Hollywood publicist who has represented 58 Academy Award winners. "And he doesn’t seem to have figured out what he wants to say."
Pattinson should also wait until he figures out the status of his relationship before he speaks about it. "If after the holidays they are really going to be broken up, then he can say he made a decision," says Koch, "when he realizes what he really wants to do."
For now, fans will continue to empathize with Pattinson's situation. "Everyone has been so sorry for Rob," says Ketsoyan. "Breakups are hard to begin with, and then when you have to go through what he has gone through publicly... everyone is going to have a soft spot for him for the rest of his life because he is going to be viewed as that one guy who got completely screwed over."
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat