After five years, it seemed like things were finally going well for Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse had just been released in theaters, and the couple was celebrating with friends and family at a private birthday party in Los Angeles. The actor was even sporting a gorgeous diamond ear cuff that featured the insignia of the United Kingdom’s royal coat of arms.

But despite the positive vibes, it was actually the start of a downward spiral that would see the couple’s relationship soon fall apart.

The breakup was triggered by Stewart, 29, who wanted a life outside of show business. While promoting the family-friendly comedy To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the actress revealed that she had been dating Pattinson, 33, for more than a year. After dating for a while, she told PEOPLE, “I just knew that it wasn’t right. I needed to stop seeing him.”

Although, the Twilight Saga films haven’t made back the tens of millions of dollars that they spent in production, the franchise has remained a commercial and critical success, earning its lead actress an estimated $25 million per film.

Since their breakup, Stewart and Pattinson have been fairly discreet about their relationship status. In 2018, the duo were spotted getting coffee together in London as part of a reunion tour for the Twilight films. The following year, Stewart was photographed holding hands with longtime love Ben Affleck.

But while the world may have been holding its breath, the couple’s split was in fact a long time coming. Back in 2015, Stewart admitted that she and Pattinson were having trouble making their relationship work, but she didn’t elaborate. “I think we’re both a little stubborn,” she said during an appearance on The Tonight Show. “We both want things our way, and we don’t like taking no for an answer.”

The following year, Stewart reflected on the difficulties of their relationship in an interview with Vogue: “I don’t think there was ever a perfect time and place for us to be together. We’ve been through so much, both personally and professionally. To think that there would be such a thing as a perfect scenario right now is ridiculous.”

In the end, Stewart decided that she wanted to live her life and be with someone she could trust, which is why she chose to split from Pattinson. As she told Vogue in 2017, “I’ve learned that it’s really important to seek out what you want in life, and not to wait for someone to come and give it to you. That’s what the tabloids will have you believe, that men are going to come and rescue you, and that’s just not true. You need to start believing in yourself, and taking care of your own life.”

What It Means For The Future Of ‘Twilight’

Since The Twilight Saga films were first released in 2008, fans have been patiently waiting for the next instalment in the franchise. In the years since the final film, Twilight, was released in 2012, the cast and crew have kept quiet about the status of the remaining installments. But recently, signs have emerged that indicate Twilighty-seven may not be far off.

In June 2018, while promoting the family-friendly comedy To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, co-star Emily Brocker-Zilkhan confirmed that there was “definitely something in the works.” Six months later, in December, Stewart reiterated that there were “so many scripts being written” and that she was “really grateful” for the opportunities that the Twilight franchise had provided her. Finally, in October 2019, it was announced that the long-awaited sequel, Twilight Season 2, would premiere sometime in 2022.

All these years later, and despite the fact that Eclipse was a commercial disappointment, the Twilight films remain a critical and commercial success, thanks largely to the chemistry between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. The success of the franchise has led to a number of spin-off opportunities, with the most prominent being the Cursed Child, an installment of the Harry Potter franchise based on ideas and material by J.K. Rowling that was released in July 2019. In addition to this, it was announced in March 2020 that a new comic book series, The Twilight, would premiere later that year.

As for the future of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, it seems their professional relationship is going to continue. In July 2020, the couple were photographed together in Vancouver, Canada where they were filming the comedy A Private School.

Stewart has also mentioned that she would like to return to acting, and with the success of Cursed Child, her profile could not be higher. Additionally, Stewart’s CAA agent has remarked that the client is “at the top of [her] list” of potential roles.

Robert Pattinson’s Career After ‘Twilight’

Despite the numerous awards and critical acclaim that he received for his role as Christian Grey in the Twilight films, Robert Pattinson’s career was far from guaranteed. The British actor had to actively seek out roles following the massive success of Twilight, and had to audition for many of the parts.

The irony is that while the franchise may have given Pattinson the career he always wanted, it was also responsible for tanking his relationship with Stewart. Between the two of them, they have five children, two of whom were born while they were dating. The fame and fortune that Twilight brought them would soon disappear, and in the end, the couple would be forced to file for bankruptcy. In the years since then, they have remained largely private.

Despite this, in 2019, it was revealed that the couple had written a children’s book, Hot N Now: What Living With a Handyman Taught Me About Love, together with the author Lisa Hanawalt. The publisher, Macmillan, described the book as being “for young adults who want to be creative and courageous in the face of adversity.”

The following year, they were seen together on social media for the first time in years, with Stewart sharing a loving tribute to her late father, Billie Lourdes, on his birthday. The Instagram post, which featured a black-and-white photo of the pair grinning from ear to ear, was captioned, “Happy Birthday to the most inspiring man I know. I love you @robpattinson ❤️”

While their split was a painful process, it has undeniably made a positive impact on both of their lives. In an interview with The New York Times in 2012, Stewart admitted that the experience had been “rocking” for her, adding, “I’m not going to lie — the whole thing was pretty heartbreaking, for both of us.” But she also credited it with helping to bring her and Pattinson closer, as she revealed, “The distance that we were apart in [our] last year of dating really helped us to appreciate each other more.”

Indeed, despite the pain of their separation, the experience seems to have left an indelible mark on both of their psyches, with Stewart eventually going on to have another baby with her husband, Snowden Leigh. In addition to this, both have actively worked to better themselves as people and as parents, with Peter Pattinson, their father, also noting in a 2012 interview that his children have “brought me a new sense of purpose.”

Ultimately, in the years since their breakup, Stewart has demonstrated an incredible amount of strength and resilience, which is perhaps why she has emerged from the experience with her career and relationship more successful than ever before. The fact that she has not only survived, but thrived, is a testament to the power of love and family, and the strength of her character.