About three things I was absolutely positive: First, Edward Cullen was a vampire; second, Bella Swan was too ready to risk it all for him; and third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with both of them. So when the real-life couple that played the pair in the Twilight franchise, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, broke up after four years together, life as I knew it was over. It was May of 2013. Prince George was about to be born. Obama was president. The word “selfie” was added to the dictionary (thank you, Paris Hilton). And bisexual culture had officially ended. History was happening all around us.
Let me explain what I mean when I say “bisexual culture.” It can be defined as wanting to top Tim-o-tay Chalamet, but also wanting Teyana Taylor to turn you out. It is Shang Li from Mulan. It is the way Rachel Weisz talks about her female co-stars. Bisexual culture is not Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” It is being attracted to both Kristen and Robert, and not knowing which one you wanted to ruin your life first.
I’d like to think that Kristen instigated my queer awakening, but that spot was secured by either Spinelli from Recess or Nikki Reed in Thirteen. But being in love with both Robert and Kristen definitely solidified my queer identity. (Alexa, play "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia.) Their relationship spanned my formative years — the first Twilight film was released in 2008, when I was in the eighth grade, and by the time the couple broke up I was about to graduate high school.
They called it quits a few months after Kristen was caught cheating on Robert with director Rupert Sanders. The news left me in shambles — I was basically Bella in New Moon (specifically the montage scene where Lykke Li’s “Possibility” plays): 17 years old, distraught, dramatic, and, of course, heartbroken. Even writing this article reopens old wounds as I listen to “Never Think” (R.I.P. to Pattinson’s short lived music career) and rewatch the same "Kristen-Stewart-Robert-Pattinson-Kiss-Me" montage videos on YouTube that made me first believe in love.
Everything about them as a couple made sense. Robert: Taurus. Kristen: Aries. That’s just a simple math equation for good sex and real romance. They were both attractive in that sunken and skinny I-smoke-cigarettes way, incredibly uncomfortable, probably musky, and so damn cool. But above all else they were Bella and Edward. The pair invented yearning.
Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire was child’s play. But, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen? Now that’s the big leagues. Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan may not have been her finest form (because this is), but she did give us the "brooding girl with daddy issues" that made a few of us feel seen. Surely I shouldn’t be conflating their characters with their IRL selves but, alas, I can’t help myself. The reason I fell in love with the two of them as a couple was because I fell in love with one of the most deranged series of all time, Twilight.
I spent so much time imagining myself into a throuple that never was. There were so many versions of our lives together. One included bare feet and slow motion and sparkling skin, and the other was a bit more subtle — Kristen smoking a cigarette in our apartment, windows cracked but not nearly wide enough, me finally washing Robert’s hair, and him making British jokes I laugh at but don’t totally understand. It was damn near Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but probably set in Bushwick and definitely not directed by Woody Allen.
Their breakup rocked us all. It shook the nation. The cheating scandal even got Donald Trump riled up. (Which, yes, is insane.) It ended the dream of #Bella+Edward4Eva. Fans of the book loved their coupledom because they loved Twilight. Well, they either loved Twilight or loved to hate it. Stephanie Meyer gave us vampires, werewolves, deep breaths, bad wigs, Anna Kendrick and so much more. Both the film and book were so horny and campy. They were complete chaos and frankly a cultural reset. Emma Watson told Elle, “I literally felt depressed when I finished reading [the series] because I thought, 'Oh my God, what am I going to do now?'" (same). Rosario Dawson said the book was like “crack” (careful). Megan Thee Stallion live tweeted the movie (again, same). Even Obama read the series. Taste!
Being so emotionally invested in their lives was difficult considering the two are completely off the grid. But that only added to the intrigue and appeal. Loving them made my amateur investigative journalism snooping that much more interesting. Truly, the hottest thing a celebrity can do is be so uninterested in fame. Never forget that Pattinson fell asleep at his own film festival tribute. He also famously forgot who Emma Watson was. Stewart hates being famous, goes to Hooters, flips off the paparazzi, and collects that cute Chanel check.
Although their breakup was hard for me to grapple with, a few things help me sleep at night. Kristen now identifies as “like sooo gay dude,” and Robert gave us The Lighthouse and Good Time. And if it weren’t for their breakup, we would have never had those incredibly hot photos of Kristen and model Stella Maxwell making out on a yacht. We would have never found out that Robert likes to be spit on. I’ve finally learned to let that love go, although I sometimes still sleep in my T-shirt that reads, “What if I'm not a superhero. What if I'm the bad guy?”
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