Well, maybe not “girlfriend,” but it sure feels like it. In the wake of his split from Bella Swan, rumors have swirled around that Twilight alum Robert Pattinson may be dating someone new. But is he? We take a look at the evidence.
All The Single Ladies
It’s no secret that Twilight helped pioneer the celebrity dating app craze. Launched initially for Android users, the app gained popularity quickly and was named the top free dating app by Apple a year after its launch. The premise of the app is simple – let users match with others based on interests and hobbies – but it quickly blossomed into a full-fledged phenomenon. As of April 2020, there are more than 600 million downloads on Google Play alone. And it’s not just about dating. Launching a spin-off app, Single Ladies Explore, also helps to explain the continued popularity of the Twilight series. In the wake of the craze, celebrities started exploring their options online, further cementing the connection between dating and celebrity. In fact, according to a report by TikTok, 29% of its users use the app to “explore romantic relationships.”
The Rise In Popularity
While it started as a way for celebrities to connect with their fans, it soon became apparent that users were finding new companions based on the celebrities they followed. Since its emergence, TikTok has exploded in popularity, prompting countless memes and challenges relating to the app’s unique premise. It’s also gained popularity among the general public, with 40 million monthly active users as of April 2020. And it continues to grow – in February 2021, TikTok celebrated reaching 500 million monthly active users. With over a billion downloads on Google Play alone, it is clear that lots of people are sharing their love for the app with their friends through memes and challenges.
More Than Just A Show
It wasn’t just about dating in Twilight. The series was more about exploring the human condition through the prism of love. After the Twilight movies, Robert Pattinson focused on portraying real-life heroes and villains, including a stint as Sherlock Holmes, as well as the title role in the 2019 psychological thriller, Deranged.
But it wasn’t just about gritty portrayals of mental illness. Since its inception, the Twilight series has always been about the complicated connection between humans and their deities. In the 2012 movie, Breaking Dawn – Part 2, we learn that vampires can’t procreate, meaning that their population is doomed to eventual extinction. It’s a tragic twist on a long-standing storyline that has continued to influence the series’ broader themes and characters. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Carlisle Cullen is determined to protect his human children from the vicious clutches of the “vampires” in Edward Cullen – a fact that forms the basis of the entire series. The threat of eternal damnation pushes the characters in Breaking Dawn – Part 2 to grapple with the question of whether or not they love one another enough to risk being together forever.
While the focus of the series is on romantic connections, it is notable that many of the stories feature non-romantic elements as well. For instance, in Twilight, Bella’s friend Jessica shows up at the end, unexpectedly upping the romantic tension as she watches the two former lovers’ awkward interactions. While the majority of the stories feature a romantic connection, it wouldn’t be a Twilight movie without some semblance of romantic tension.
The most recent installment, Twilight Forever, doesn’t shy away from the subject of romance. At the beginning of the film, we see a montage of Edward’s previous marriages dissolving in front of our eyes. It’s a vivid reminder of the character’s philandering ways and an appropriate segue into the present day, where Bella, now a vampire herself, is finally going to make good on her promise to end his miserable bachelorhood. It’s a pretty major theme in a Twilight movie, but it’s also one that has been carried over from the series’ first film. In a 2008 interview, the actor stated:
“I think that’s the great thing about the series – it doesn’t really feel like a series. It feels like one film that continues, like Breaking Dawn. So it’s really unique that a story can keep on going and continuing as much as it has. I think that’s something that would be really unique about it, is that it never feels like it’s ending.”
It’s safe to assume that, as much as he loves Twilight, Robert Pattinson enjoys playing dress-up with his costars too. In a 2011 interview with Glamour, the actor stated:
“I love playing dress-up. It’s so much fun to play with your costume on and pretend to be someone else. For me, it’s like a kid in a toy store – I just love it. It’s great because you get to be someone else for a little while, and it gives you a different perspective on things. It lets you see the world through someone else’s eyes for a moment.”
The “Other Women”
One of the most interesting aspects of the Twilight series – and other similarly themed works – is how it examines the concept of consent. In general, vampires are considered to be a sexual threat to humans. It’s a power dynamic that is heavily ingrained in the cultural consciousness, with movies like Dracula and films like Blade both receiving significant notoriety for representing “the other.” It is, therefore, not surprising that, when a vampire enters into a romantic relationship with a human, the community often regards it as a one-sided affair, dominated by the lustful appetite of the vampire. But that couldn’t be more wrong. As we learn in Twilight, not everyone wants to avoid intimacy with a vampire. Some may even welcome the arrangement.
In the first film, Twilight, Bella experiences three separate love interests. First, she has an affair with the quiet and broody Dr. Stephen Hampton. Later, she falls for the troubled Victor, whose dark past and mysterious smile win her over. Finally, as the series progresses, she forms a romantic bond with Edward, her childhood friend and neighbor. Even though Bella ultimately rejects Edward, their relationship evolves into something more mature and respectful than what we initially see. In the last film, part of what makes Bella so appealing is the fact that she is not easily categorized – she is not your typical “good girl” or “bad girl.” She is, in other words, “the other.” And she encourages the audience to do the same:
“You know, I’ve never been with a human. A hundred years ago, I would have died for you. Even now, I’m not so sure. All I know is that I love you and I’m never, ever going to let anyone or anything come between us.”
Whether or not you agree with Bella’s decision to become a vampire and to date one, the fact that she is her own person and acts independently is a driving force behind her character. And it’s a point she makes at the end of the final film, when she urges her fans to follow their hearts and not listen to the naysayers. As she faces an uncertain future, Bella encourages her audience to do the same:
“And remember, even if you don’t believe in forever, it still exists. For people like you and me, and for everyone who has ever loved someone. Because love does exist, and it is stronger than death.”