Why are people so upset that Bella cheated on her one true love? Sorry, we mean to say why are people so upset that actress Kristen Stewart cheated on the guy whom everyone assumed she was dating despite her reluctance to ever talk about it? Why have Twi-Hards taken to the Internet to cast aspersions at Stewart for her unspecified assignations with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders? Why? Isn’t it clear that this is the most interesting thing the 22-year-old has ever done?
Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that Twilight fans have trouble separating the actors from their roles. Kristen Stewart is not Bella, and she is likely not virginal and pure. Rob Pattinson is not Edward, and he does not sparkle, and whatever relationship the two have had up to this point was probably not perfect or based on her blood smelling like strawberries. Yet because the character of Bella was written, intentionally or not, as a “Mary Sue” (an overly perfect wish-fulfillment vessel) and because she has been portrayed in the Twilight films by an actress who submerges any of her natural charisma to keep the money-minting franchise palatable to all, both Stewart and Bella alike have served as blank slates for fans to project themselves onto. The two characters have become a bit inseparable, sharing the fluttering eyelids, the awkwardness, the ability to never quite say or reveal much. Twilight fangirls feel a special connection to the great Bella-Edward romance, to the point where it’s almost as if they were the ones clocking snuggle time with the dreamy vampire boy.
This would all be fine if the real-life actors playing the couple hadn’t themselves fallen in love, and if their subsequent love story hadn’t turned into such an annoyingly coy guessing game. Apart from convincing conspiracy theorists that the alleged romance was just a marketing ploy, it also invited Twilight devotees to fantasize their own version of what was going on. Now the fangirls could really relate. Fiction and real life became one.
This week’s admission by Stewart that she cheated on Pattinson has shattered that fantasy — and enraged many fans of both the character and the actress. How far did this “cheating” go? Who’s to say? We can only guess from the photos, and that doesn’t even begin to tell us what’s really been going on. In any case, Stewart was supposed to be devoted — perhaps eternally. Never mind the fact that she’s only 22 years old. And since Edward (sorry, Pattinson) would never cheat on her — because he’s perfect! — any real-life cheating must be all her fault, right? (Not the older, married director’s fault, right? It’s not him being called “Trampire” on the cover of the New York Daily News or “Vamp Tramp” in the New York Post.) But none of that is the true cause of all the tears in Twilight Land. It’s the spoiled fairy tale that’s so hard to bear. And when Twi-hards turn, they turn hard. Maybe Stewart knew this all along. She did, after all, once say, “I don’t feel very comfortable on the red carpet. I look out there at a thousand people and I realize they could rush me and assassinate me. No security could protect me. Ostensibly they’re fans, but I think about them turning on me.” Well, it’s happened.
Her public acknowledgment that Pattinson is “the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most” is weird and confusing and a shock because it comes so late in this saga. “I love him, I love him,” she says. Why are we only hearing those words from her now? Because she’s only human? Because she made a mistake that she’s “deeply sorry” about? Stewart is indicating that she wants to make amends, but for the fans, it may be too late. It’s not Pattinson that she should be apologizing to — it’s them. How can they possibly enjoy The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part II now that they know that Bella and Edward are simply just characters in a story?