This month marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most important films of all time. On November 18, 1997, a little known director named Stephenie Meyer released the film that would become known as Twilight. The movie would go on to become a global phenomenon and is considered by many to be the greatest love story of all time.
It’s been 20 years since Stephenie Meyer released her book, Twilight, and the story of Bella and Edward is still as compelling as ever. Though the book was originally conceived as a New Adult crossover between Twilight and Jane Eyre, it soon grew into something far more unique – a tale of forbidden love that speaks to all ages.
Now, with the newest adaptation of the Twilight saga hitting theaters this summer, it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit one of the most significant literary love stories of our time.
The Evolution of Bella
When Stephenie Meyer released Twilight in November of 1997, she originally envisioned Bella as a 20-year-old student at Columbia University. Edward Cullen, on the other hand, was meant to be a 30-something businessman.
In Stephenie Meyer’s second novel, New Moon, which was released in April 1999, Bella’s 17 years pass quickly and she becomes acquainted with a whole new set of challenges. In a 2012 interview with CosmoCV, Meyer said that she envisioned Bella as a “late teen” when writing New Moon and that she decided to make her an adult after deciding that 17 wasn’t quite young enough to be considered an adult.
Here’s a look back at how Bella’s life changed after the first Twilight film and how her story continues to enthrall audiences nearly two decades later.
Bella’s Early Life
For those who haven’t kept up with the series, here’s a short refresher on Bella’s life before Twilight. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts in July 1991 and spent her early years living in the city with her parents. While living in Boston, Stephenie Meyer says she would often visit the local cinema and spend time in Barnes & Noble, reading books and socializing with friends.
Bella’s family relocated to the suburbs when she was six years old, which she says helped her develop an interest in animals and nature. She also spent a lot of time playing in the backyard with her dad, learning how to cook dinner parties for her family and friends.
Bella’s love for animals would later translate into a passion for animals rights and she became heavily involved with animal welfare groups, working with rescue shelters and fundraising for animal welfare-related causes. In 2014, Bella founded the animal welfare organization, Project Nimble, as a way of giving back to the community that has shaped her so much. The organization’s name is a play on words meaning “nimble” and “Bella” in Italian. She also serves as Project Nimble’s vice president.
When Twilight was released in theaters on November 18, 1997, it was the summer of 1998 and Bella’s high school graduation was fast approaching. Though she wasn’t old enough to legally drink or vote, the 20-year-old Harvard University graduate decided to celebrate with a bachelorette party. The only thing she needed to make it extra special was a dress. So, she and her friends, Emily and Lauren, threw a vintage dress rehearsal party for Bella’s graduation.
While searching for a way to mark the occasion, they came across a group of photos of a former fashion model named Georgina Chapman. Georgina Chapman had recently married billionaire Donald Trump and the wedding had just taken place the previous month. As soon as they saw the photos, the girls knew they had found the match they were looking for. To this day, Georgina Chapman remains one of the few non-celebrity spouses that Donald Trump dates regularly. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be his date?
Bella’s dress rehearsal party didn’t exactly go as planned. Despite finding the perfect dress, the 20-year-old’s hair did not look as good as it did in the photo. So she ended up wearing one of her sister’s hair bands to mark the occasion. But she wasn’t about to let her hair down and celebrate with her friends, so she called them and had them come over to her house. There, she put on one of her favorite musicals, “Footloose,” and danced until her leg gave out. When her friends tried to take a picture of her dancing, she had to turn down the flashlight on her phone because it was too bright and kept flashing. She eventually passed out from exhaustion and had to be carried to her room by her dad. While she was asleep, her mom came in, saw what happened and cried.
The Wedding and the Aftermath
The next day, Bella’s dad dropped her off at the train station so she could start her new life as Mrs. Donald Trump. When she got to the airport, she recalls thinking to herself, “I’m about to board a flight to New York City, where Donald Trump is going to marry me. This is surreal.” She didn’t know what to expect when she got to the hotel. Would she be nervous? Would she feel comfortable being married to such a well-known and powerful man?
Once she got settled in, she wrote a letter to her parents, wishing them both a lot of happiness and thanking them for raising her to be a strong and independent woman. She also wrote a letter to her sister, Kristen, who was about to marry Robert Pattinson (Bella’s childhood friend). The wedding took place on March 26, 1998 at the Trump Tower in New York City. There were about 150 guests – mainly celebrities and socialites – and many of them flew in from around the world to be a part of this historical event. The wedding went smoothly, though Bella had to stop the rehearsal dinner in the middle of the meal so she could catch her breath. She had just performed her first solo at the University of Michigan a few weeks before and was nervous all night. But she says it was all worth it.
After the wedding, Bella and Donald Trump remained in touch and he even visited her in London during the summer of 2015. Since then, they’ve been spotted out together in New York City and at the Cape Winch.
The Twilight Years
Bella and Donald Trump haven’t officially called it quits yet and it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if they ended up getting some time apart. While she’s known for being one of the most stunning women of her time, Bella still has a whole other side to her that only her husband knows about. She keeps a lot of her personal life private and prefers to share details of her day-to-day life with those who she cares about. One of the biggest mysteries surrounding Bella is how she spends her time off work. Though she does have a large following on Twitter, she mostly stays off the social media platform, choosing to only read and respond to the supportive messages she receives from her fans. She also doesn’t like to gossip or share personal details about her clients and friends. So although she has many millions of followers, she refuses to put herself on the platform, preferring to remain incognito. Even her friends haven’t always been given the best idea of what she does for a living. Once, when she was 17, she attended a party in London and met a famous model. After introducing herself, the model asked whether or not she was famous and Bella said, “No, I’m just an ordinary girl who grew up watching movies.” The model replied, “You’re no ordinary girl. You’re a movie star.”
But aside from the glamour, Bella has maintained that she simply does this for the joy of creating stories and being able to share her work with people. Her grandparents met while studying at Oxford and though her parents are long estranged, she still looks at them with deep love and respect. Bella’s grandfather, who was also a doctor, died recently, which led her to write a tribute to him on Instagram. She said that he was a great listener who always had an answer for whatever you told him. And though she has yet to comment on whether or not she is working on a memoir, we know she’s got a lot to say and that her story will continue to inspire others for years to come.