Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are arguably among the most prominent celebrity couples in Hollywood today. The twosome became a highly talked-about pair after filming a steamy scene that was subsequently uncovered by photographers.

The image of Stewart, 25, and Pattinson, 28, kissing while surrounded by paparazzi became one of the most iconic images of 2016. They have since remained in the spotlight ever since, with numerous rumors having swirled around their relationship since the incident. Here, we’ll explore the truth about Stewart and Pattinson’s budding love affair—and whether or not they’re actually a cutie-pie couple.

The Making Of An Iconic Image

The year 2016 was a big one for celebrity couples in Hollywood. Cameras followed several high-profile pairs as they stepped out together in public for the first time since their private moments were leaked to the press. Some of the most prominent couples of the year included:

  • Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin
  • Beyoncé and Jay-Z
  • Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson
  • Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
  • Selena Gomez and Alex Sorrentino
  • Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikin

While many of these couples had been together for some time and had previously established a strong public persona, the attention that followed their romance in 2016 was unprecedented. What is perhaps most notable about this particular year in Hollywood is that several of the most iconic images that defined it were of celebrity couples.

One of the most talked-about celebrity couples of 2016 was Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. The pair made their red-carpet debut in Spring 2016 looking more intimate than ever before with another steamy kiss that was promptly followed by photographers. They later went on to star in several of the most memorable images from the year—most notably, the one in which they’re seen making out under a fountain of water in front of paparazzi.

The moment went viral and, as a result, both of their careers were boosted dramatically. Stewart’s stock rose as she became one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood, while Pattinson’s profile increased as fans of the pair flooded his Instagram with heart-eyed emojis.

While the couple’s first kiss was seen by many as an exhibitionistic display of sexuality, the press were in fact, capturing the essence of their relationship. Stewart has long been inspired by literary legends such as Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf, while Pattinson has cited authors such as John Cheever and William Faulkner as significant figures in his life. The kiss was an ode to creativity and artistic integrity, as well as a statement about their enduring love for one another.

Is It A Cutie-Pie Couple?

While many were quick to jump to conclusions about Stewart and Pattinson’s relationship, few had actually met the couple. In fact, Stewart had previously dated actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire, while Pattinson had previously been in a relationship with actress Rashida Jones. Moreover, when they finally did meet, the press were surprised to discover that their chemistry was as good as—if not better than—that of the celebrity couples they were often compared to in terms of their on-screen work.

After the initial frenzy of publicity following the pair’s first kiss had settled, several outlets published interviews with friends and family members about their personal life. In particular, Jessica Goldberg from Vanity Fair spoke to Stewart’s parents, Diane and Tim, who confirmed what many already suspected about their daughter’s new beau.

“He’s an amazing person,” said Tim. “She’s a very fortunate young woman to have met such a good man.”

When asked if he saw himself as a future father-in-law, Tim chuckled and replied, “Well, I guess I’d have to say yes. I mean, for whatever length of time this might last. It sounds terribly superficial, but they seem to be very happy together and that’s the most important thing right now.”

Meanwhile, Goldberg also sat down with Pattinson for an interview, in which he discussed his plans for the future with Stewart.

“I want to establish myself as a serious actor,” said Pattinson, who has previously worked with the likes of Roman Polanski and Steven Spielberg. “I want to work hard and be the best actor I can be. That’s all I can really ask for.”

At the time of their interview, neither of them had a finished script; however, they had spent the better part of the year developing ideas for projects that they hoped to get off the ground in the near future. For instance, Stewart has optioned the rights to Woolf’s The Waves, while Pattinson had optioned the rights to Faulkner’s Light In August. The two also discussed the possibility of Pattinson playing the lead role in her Broadway adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Aside from the impressive list of A-list filmmakers and celebrities that Stewart and Pattinson have worked with, their relationship has also drawn comparisons to a number of prominent literary love stories, many of which are set in New York City. Like many famous couples, Stewart and Pattinson met at a party, though their meeting occurred at a costume party in London, rather than at a literary party in Manhattan.

When they started dating, Stewart and Pattinson made no effort to hide their relationship from the public. In fact, they used social media to reveal their romance, which began in 2014 and continued through the following year. In the months leading up to the release of their steamy scene in August 2016, several media outlets broke the story of their relationship.

The Difference In Quality

Since their red-carpet debut, Stewart and Pattinson have rarely ventured far from the cameras. They made their final on-screen appearance in the acclaimed TV series The Handmaid’s Tale, though they did not appear together. In the months leading up to the show’s premiere, Entertainment Tonight, The Hollywood Reporter, and The New York Times all speculated about a potential collaboration between the two, though it never panned out. The last we hear of Stewart and Pattinson is an appearance at the premiere of their film BrightBurn—a film which they both took a role in, though it was ostensibly written and produced by another person. While they did not appear to have a falling out, it seems that, once again, their professional lives have taken a backseat to their personal relationship.

Despite this, it is a mistake to assume that all of the celebrity couples in Hollywood are low-quality imitations of one another. Far from it, in fact. Many of the most prominent pairs from the entertainment industry have been together for decades and, while they may not always publicly shush any rumors of infidelity, it would be a great deal of exaggeration to claim that these relationships are anything but authentic.

An Unlikely Alliance

While many couples in Hollywood have found fame through their personal relationships, Stewart and Pattinson’s union is, in many ways, an unlikely one. The pair initially found common ground in their shared passion for literature and film—two of the most prominent topics in their interviews. They also both come from a humble background and have worked hard to establish their careers. Moreover, the chemistry between them is undeniable, with several outlets comparing their on-screen work to the storied love affairs of classic literature.

Stewart and Pattinson’s journey to stardom is, in many ways, a microcosm of any celebrity relationship in Hollywood. They started off as friends who eventually became lovers. While their first kiss was an iconic image that defined their media presence in 2016, their professional relationship was nonetheless, quite a bit more complicated.