The past year has been filled with ups and downs for Hollywood’s most famous couple. The ups included enjoying a happy new year and then spending it together as a family while also welcoming their first child into the world. But the downs included a public split in March 2019, with reports emerging that the couple was even considering divorce. Since then, they’ve managed to stay together and have been spotted enjoying some much-needed privacy as a couple. As for their movies, they’ve been working hard to prove to the world that their on-screen chemistry is just as real as their on-again, off-again relationship. Let’s take a closer look at how their on-screen work has evolved over the years, how they maintain such great chemistry, and why this story will be remembered as one of Hollywood’s epic love stories.

From Sweet to Sarcastic

It all started when Disney released the 2021 animated hit movie Disney’s Sarcastic Cow, which is set in a whimsical modern-day fairytale world. In the spirit of laughter and healing, the Oscar-winning filmmaker Ricky Gervais (the voice of the Sarcastic Cow) brought a bit of magic to the big screen with his unique brand of comedy. In the film, a group of animals—including a rat, a bear, a weasel, and a monkey—band together to bring some comical relief to a world that sadly lacks humor. While the movie itself wasn’t that great, the performance of the leading man, Robert Pattinson, who plays a monkey named Rollo, certainly warranted attention. In the film, he portrays a cheeky but lovable simian whose antics continually entertain the other animals and humans around him. It was clear that the role was a career highlight for Pattinson, who hadn’t offered many subtle performances up to that point.

The Crucifixion

Shortly after wrapping up work on Disney’s Sarcastic Cow, Pattinson was back in theaters with a supporting role in the indie flick The Crucifixion. The film, which also starred Witherspoon, follows a young woman named June, who is tasked with taking care of a nine-year-old boy named Joe. At first, June isn’t all that interested in having a child, but things change when she meets Joe’s dad, Jim, a Vietnam War veteran who lost both his legs in the conflict. As the two develop a bond, June realizes the joy of parenting and decides to keep Joe.]]>

While The Crucifixion is an indie flick, it was still one of the major cinematic events of the year. The film’s gritty subject matter and bleak outlook made it a polarizing title, but it didn’t matter. The film won the Best Actor award at the Sundance Film Festival, proving that even the most unsavory material can be considered artistic genius. It also became one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time, raking in nearly $22 million at the box office worldwide. It was a commercial and critical success, proving that Pattinson and Witherspoon could handle major roles and still keep their chemistry on full display.

The Walking Dead Season 8

That same year, the TV show The Walking Dead returned for its eighth season with both fans and critics divided over how good—or bad—it was. Despite its long hiatus, the show had returned revitalized and was being touted as the best season yet. It featured the infamous Negan, played by Scott Derrickson, a.k.a. The Walking Dead boss Dan Harmon’s brother in law, who terrorized the population of Alexandria in the show’s most recent installment. With his domineering nature, larger-than-life personality, and propensity for violence, it was no wonder that people were so scared of and wary of Negan. The actor, however, was quick to put rumors of a feud with Harmon to rest, stating that he and Harmon are “best friends now.”

Pattinson took the role of Negan for his debut as a director in the series’ eighth season, which marked his first big break in Hollywood. Even before his role on The Walking Dead, Pattinson had established himself as a talented filmmaker, having made several short films that had gained him critical acclaim. He eventually went on to direct the acclaimed 2019 indie comedy Bad Genius, which he also starred in. So, while he may not have had many major cinematic credits prior to his work on The Walking Dead, it was clear that he had the talent to become a top Hollywood director.

Trolls World Tour

The following year, American pop-punk band The Black Keys returned with their long-awaited sixth studio album, Trolls World Tour. For the uninitiated, the band had changed its name to avoid legal battles with its former manager John Jay Smith, who had sued the band for trademark infringement after the group’s name had been used without his permission. Smith had also tried to halt the band’s music career altogether, going so far as to slander the group on social media. The album, however, proved to be the band’s biggest yet, debuting at number one on the Billboard album charts and winning the band several Grammy Awards, among other honors.

While the album marked a high point for the band, it was still something of a legal battle. Just days after the album’s release, the band members were required to post an official statement on their website denying any legal affiliation with Smith. It also emerged that Smith had continued to harass the band members online even after they changed their name. To make matters more interesting, the whole saga seemed to revolve around whether or not Jay Smith had a standing injunction against the band, something that had never actually been tested in court. To this day, it remains to be seen whether or not Jay Smith has any legal standing against the Black Keys.

This story, however, was ultimately overshadowed by the band’s epic tour, which became one of the most talked-about stories of the year. The tour, which was dubbed “The World Wide Wob” in reference to a BTS lyric, consisted of the band travelling to nearly 50 cities in 19 countries, playing in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. While the group’s music may not always be considered serious art, it was clear that the members of The Black Keys had an appreciation for crafty wordplay and an affinity for the bizarre. It also became quite evident that these guys just had an incredible amount of fun on their Trolls World Tour. This was also the case for the film adaptation of the band’s bestselling album, which was released the following year and earned the group their first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for “Girl From The North Country.” With the legal wranglings of the past behind them, it was evident that the members of The Black Keys were going to be an interesting case study in the power of social media and the perils of trolling. And, indeed, it would not be the last time that the band would be in the news for the wrong reasons.

The next year brought with it more ups than downs for Pattinson and Witherspoon. In April, Vanity Fair reported that the couple had quietly tied the knot, with some insiders estimating that the wedding had cost between $500,000 and $1 million. The next month, Vanity Fair reported that Witherspoon had given birth to their daughter, Willow Sage Witherspoon, making her the family’s first child and the star’s eighteenth birthday present. A few weeks later, however, a representative for the pair provided an official statement, insisting that the rumors of a wedding and a baby shower were completely false. After that, the media circus that is Hollywood settled down a bit as the two became engaged in a publicized but low-key wedding ceremony in August. The event, which was presided over by Reverend Eric Mika of the Seattle First Church, was followed by a reception at the Downtown Seattle Hotel. This ultimately proved to be the end of the public’s interest in the couple, as they quickly went about their secretive married life. The media had already moved on to the next big story, which was the return of The Walking Dead for its ninth season. Now, however, the story of the biggest celebrity wedding of the year had become old news, replaced by the return of one of the most iconic TV shows in history.