In May 2019, just as the world was trying to come to grips with the pandemic that had been raging for years, twin celebrities made the headlines when a mysterious incident (later deemed as an abduction) saw them both disappear overnight from public view.

The incident saw Nicholas Hoult, famous for his role as Beast in the X-Men films, and Benedict Pattinson, who plays the title character in the critically-acclaimed film The Goldfinch, go missing in London, England. Hoult had been in the United Kingdom promoting the role of Beast in the new Fantastic Beasts film, while Pattinson was in London finishing post-production on The Goldfinch.

Rumours and conspiracy theories abounded, but the pair were eventually declared safe and well, though this was not before many hours of anxious family members and the public wondering what had happened and whether or not they would show up again.

Whether or not you’re a fan of either of these Hollywood heavyweights, it’s hard not to be captivated by this latest exciting twist to their well-publicised tumultuous union. So much so, that here we are, a year later, still wondering what became of them and whether or not they will rekindle their romance and reignite their famous partnership.

How Did They Meet?

Nicholas Hoult and Benedict Pattinson first worked together on the 2019 film Mortal Engagement. Directed by Marc Caro, the movie is an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s 1990 novel of the same name. The story revolves around Dr Stephen Strange (Hoult), a prestigious cardiologist who operates out of London, and his unusual friendship with the brilliant but troubled magician Nikolaus Borivoje (Pattinson).

The pair’s professional relationship began in 2014, when they both worked on the Fox series The Mind. During this time, Strange became good friends with Borivoje, who had previously worked as his personal assistant. It was through Strange that Borivoje met the charismatic Hoult, who was then playing the role of Ebony in the TV series The Following. When Strange decided to quit his job and go on the run after killing a man, Hoult was the first person Strange contacted.

Pattinson, meanwhile, had appeared in smaller roles in several of Strange’s previous films, including The Prestige and The Dark Shadows. For his role in Mortal Engagement, Pattinson was given the opportunity to develop his comedic timing and add a layer of nuance to his performance.

Why The Abduction Rumour?

The missing person’s case took on a life of its own in the media, with conspiracy theorists suggesting that the men had staged their own abduction just to reignite the interest in their union. In fact, there had been rumours that the two were heading for a break-up before their mysterious disappearance. In August 2019, several paparazzi photos emerged of Hoult and Pattinson being affectionate with each other in public – a stark contrast to their usual professional demeanour. Many felt this gesture was a coded message, with some suggesting they planned to elope and marry. But given the timing of these photos, which were taken at the start of the month, it seems more likely the two were hatching an elaborate ruse.

Was It All A Staged Affair?

While many had hoped this would be the case and enjoyed the ensuing media frenzy, others pointed out the unlikelihood of such a stunt, considering both their busy schedules and the fact that they had both been in hiding for days by this point. In the end, it seems more likely that Hoult and Pattinson were playing out a romantic comedy and had the good fortune to pull off an elaborate, yet plausible, plot to win back the hearts of the public. In an interview with The Independent, Hoult admitted as much and suggested the stunt was a way of rekindling the romance that saw him and Pattinson pair up in the first place: “I think that at this point, both of us are just so relieved that this is all just a happy accident and there isn’t any funny business behind it. It was just a very weird and strange situation.”

Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Legendary Partnership?

When asked about the future of their collaboration, Hoult and Pattinson were circumspect. While they remained grateful for the opportunity to work together, they admitted that the experience had been mentally and emotionally draining. Aside from the personal strain the case had put on both of them, months of press speculation about their affair had taken a toll on their working relationship. When The Independent’s Emma Brookes asked Hoult if this was a one-off or the beginning of the end for their professional relationship, he replied: “I think it’s a one-off. This is not something we have ever tried to do before. We are both just so relieved that this is all over.”

Pattinson had similar sentiments, admitting that he had doubts about the strength of their partnership before this most recent escapade and fearing the media scrutiny that comes with being a famous, on-screen couple. He also cited their busy work schedules and the toll the case had taken on their personal lives as reasons for this being a one-off. “We are just relieved that this is over. It’s been incredibly stressful and has affected both our personal and professional lives,” he said. “The last thing either of us wanted to do was let the public down, so we decided to keep quiet and try to deal with this in private as best we could.”

One of the first people to come forward and speak about the incident was Pattinson’s longtime friend Charlie McDowell. The actor and comedian took to Twitter to express his shock and sadness at his friend’s disappearance, writing: “I just heard about the terrifying news that @Bennetpattinson has gone missing. I’m in shock and deeply saddened. As I’ve witnessed firsthand, Bennet is an incredibly kind, giving, and loving person. He’s helped me so much throughout my career and I’ve always thought of him as a brother. My prayers go out to his family and friends during this incredibly difficult time.”

Hoult also took to Twitter to issue an emotional plea to his followers, writing: “To everyone that has been sending me love and compassion, I just want to say thank you. You have no idea how much it means to me.”

Where Are They Now?

One year on, Hoult and Pattinson remain missing, but have not been declared dead. The last confirmed sighting of the pair was in a car park in London, England, on May 12, 2019. Since then, there has been no trace of the actors, and no news of their whereabouts. With so much media speculation about their whereabouts and the plausibility of their alleged abduction, it has become the stuff of legend. In the words of The Hollywood Reporter’s Emily Steel: “It’s pretty incredible that not only have they not been seen, but that there are still conspiracy theorists who think they’re going to show up any minute.”

The only concrete information we have about Hoult and Pattinson is what can be inferred from their social media posts. On May 13, 2019, Hoult shared an image on his Instagram alongside the caption: “One year ago today I didn’t know what was going to happen. I thought I might be able to save the day, but I was wrong. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you guys sooner, but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. I love you all.” Alongside this picture, he posted an image of himself, Borivoje, and Pattinson, seemingly hinting that the men were once again working together.

Pattinson also shared an image on his Instagram a few days after Hoult and him went missing, writing alongside it: “To all of you who thought that this was going to be a rekindling of our romance, please don’t worry. We are alive and well. We just needed a little break to work through some things. Life is good.” On his Instagram stories, he again apologised to fans, writing, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we’re not together. There’s been a lot of rumours going around that we’re a couple, but we’re not. I’m sorry.”