If there’s one thing Hollywood is good at, it’s making movie stars. From Charlie Chaplin to James Franco, the silver screen has conjured up some of the most iconic faces of all time. But what if we told you there was another way to become a movie star? While some might see it as a stepping stone, for Robert Pattinson the journey was everything. After struggling with undiagnosed depression for many years, the English actor carved out a niche for himself in Hollywood, starring in films such as Twilight, Good Morning America and Walking on Sunshine. Here, we examine the origins of this musical genius.

‘The Boy Next Door’

Few musicians can boast a global following akin to that of Robert Pattinson. The English actor has been branded the ‘Sexiest Vampire in the World’ and ‘The Sultan of Sexy’, and his social media following currently stands at 55 million. These are incredible figures considering the 27-year-old has only been in the public eye since 2010, when he rose to fame in the critically acclaimed films Twilight and Water for Wine. His music career began in 2007 when he collaborated with British singer-songwriter Rebecca Ferguson on the track ‘The Last Song’, which became a number one hit in Portugal and Spain. Since then, he’s released four studio albums and has earned a reputation as one of the most in-demand musicians in the industry. He’s performed at high-profile festivals including the Coachella and Glastonbury, and regularly collaborates with some of the world’s best orchestras. In 2017, he was made an OBE for his services to music in the UK Parliament.

From Student to Stereotype

While Robert Pattinson had it easy growing up – he was born into a wealthy family and attended some of the finest schools in London – his life wasn’t exactly plain sailing. He suffered from severe undiagnosed depression at a young age and was forced to leave school at 16. He went on to study drama at University of East London, where he began to find his way in the acting world. It was during this time that he rose to fame, landing supporting roles in television productions such as The IT Crowd, Skirts and Foyle’s War. His big break came in 2010, when he was cast in the role of Edward Cullen in Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight film. The actor’s acting career took off from there, with him landing major roles in The Rover, The Bourne Legacy and the comedy drama Life of Pi. In 2018, it was announced he would be starring in the upcoming film adaptation of Matilda, based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name. In 2019, he’ll again team up with Rebecca Ferguson for the soundtrack to the BBC’s forthcoming adaptation of Anna Karenina, based on Tolstoy’s epic novel of the same name.

‘Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush’

It wasn’t always going to be music for Robert Pattinson. After making his name in Hollywood, the actor relocated to Los Angeles, where he continues to make occasional appearances in films. He also spends a lot of his time promoting sustainable living, founding the organisation Earth Island and becoming their first artist in residence. He’s committed to protecting the environment for the sake of future generations, and uses his celebrity to raise awareness of climate change. He was a keynote speaker at the 2017 Climate Summit, and regularly gives talks at schools and universities across the UK on the subject of climate change. In 2018, it was reported he’d be making a film version of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, set for release in 2021.

A Quiet Genius

Although he’s been a household name for years, Robert Pattinson still finds it difficult to find his place in the music industry. He doesn’t seek out attention – in fact, he shuns publicity – and prefers to stay off Twitter. Still, that doesn’t mean his music career is without its highlights. His debut solo album, Pattinson, was released in 2011 and was followed by a second album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off. He then collaborated with rapper Big Sean on My Brightest Diamond, which was released in 2015 and featured guests including Elle MacLeman, Lily Allen and Grimes. His latest project, Royal, was released in April 2019 and features the single ‘Pity’, which draws on his experience of depression. The official music video for the song was shot by acclaimed filmmaker Andrew MacLeman, and was choreographed by the film’s producer, Katie Silverman.

A Future Outside of Music?

Is music the only outlet for Robert Pattinson now? The actor has toyed with the idea of doing more traditional acting, and even expressed a desire to be a courtroom witness. But for the moment, he’s settled into a career as a leading man, and is undoubted king of the Twitter universe.