If you’re reading this, I assume you know who Robert Pattinson is. If not, you should do some research on the British actor before you watch Pirates of the Caribbean 5. Or, at least, read our list of the top ten actors that you should know and follow on social media. Although, if you truly want to follow Pattinson’s career closely, you should probably just download and install the bespoke Twitter app. Don’t worry — we’ll still be here when you come back. 

Even if you’ve followed the actor since Pale Spring (2012), it’s fair to say that his recent self-exploration through art has completely altered our conception of the English aristocrat. Over the past year, we’ve seen Pattinson take on characters that we didn’t see often in traditional P&C movies. From Van Helsing (2013) to Edward II (2014), Pattinson has shown us a side of himself that we’ve never seen before. Not to mention that, in Edward II, he literally inhabited the character’s skin. But Van Helsing, Edward II and other recent projects don’t tell the whole story. There’s also a darker side to Pattinson that most people are too scared to reveal. So let’s delve into the past to discover the true nature of this troubled lionheart.

The Early Years

Pattinson was born in London in 1988 to Margaret, a hairdresser, and James, a marketing consultant. He has an older brother, Willow, who is a professional snowboarder. Unfortunately, Pattinson wasn’t blessed with perfect genes and was diagnosed with asthma at a young age. This is what led to his parents’ decision to move to Florida, where the air is fresher and James could continue his work-related vacations.

After leaving St. Andrew’s School, where he was described as “a bit of a loner”, Pattinson spent several years traveling the world, taking on many odd jobs, while also starting and finishing various relationships. Around this time, he gained plenty of mature (for his age) celebrity thanks to his uncanny resemblance to Edward Cullen, the main character from Twilight. (We’ll get to Twilight later.)

Wildlife Photographer

Pattinson took part in a documentary about the dangers of shooting wildlife, and subsequently decided to become a wildlife photographer. After moving to Paris, he enrolled in Parisian Solasis, a one-of-a-kind photography school, where he could learn under the guidance of Patrick Duchamp. (If you’re not familiar, Duchamp was a French avant-garde artist who pioneered the “ready made” movement, which blurred the lines between art and crafts, while also influencing Dadaism, Surrealism and the New Wave movement in Europe and the US.)

Duchamp wasn’t just a teacher, however; he was also one of Pattinson’s mentors. The two have a special relationship that goes back years and inspired a number of Duchamp’s works, including Green Box, The Jockey and Ana De Armas. (If you’re curious, Pattinson’s full BFF (Best Friennding Friend Forward) list includes a bunch of famous designers, photographers, musicians and other artists.)

Troubled Beginnings

Aside from his talent for impersonating characters and his affinity for art and photography, Pattinson was also interested in psychology and self-reflection. This is why, in 2011, he decided to study Clinical Psychology at London University. It wasn’t long before he fell in love with Ana De Armas, a 21-year-old Spanish model, whom he met while working on an art project in Barcelona. (To keep things interesting, Pattinson changed his legal last name to DE Armas after they got married.)

The two were married in a traditional Wedding Rabbit – Hare wedding in June 2012. A few months later, they had a wedding anniversary party at London Lads Club, where they were joined by Mackle (Shelley MacLeman), Pattinson’s sister Rose’s (a hairdresser) wedding partner. At the end of 2012, Pattinson and De Armas’s first born, Cosmo Rocha DE Armas, was born. A few days after the baby came along, they started working on a movie, Wolves , which was released in January 2013. (Incidentally, Wolves is one of the top ten most talked about films at IMDB.)

Van Helsing

During the filming of Wolves, Pattinson had to leave the production and go into hiding. This is because he was impersonating Van Helsing, the male incarnation of the vampire hunter. The secretive nature of the film boded ill for Pattinson’s reputation as a responsible citizen and parent. He wanted to prove to the world that he was, in fact, a good father, and opted to take on the challenge of raising his son, Cosmo, on his own, while also tackling the daunting task of maintaining professional quality while also being a dad. 

After finishing Wolves, Pattinson decided to temporarily step back from his career as an actor to focus on his family and their new life together in Paris. He took on a variety of roles, from a boy who grows through a wedding ring, to an evil vampire named Fang, in Van Helsing. (The character’s name comes from Dracula and the 1913 novel of the same name, in which Van Helsing is a primary protagonist. The author of Van Helsing, Margaret Mitchell, also wrote the screenplay for the 1967 Van Helsing episode of The Fireside TV Series, which was named after the characters she created.)

In 2013, Pattinson took on the challenge of playing Alec McKenzie, Lord of the Rabids in Penny Arcade – a comic book series by Richard A Lord. He was also seen playing Frederick Taylor in a movie adventure about explorers who uncover treasure in the form of gold cuboids in an earthenware pot. (The series is named after its main character, Taylor, an explorer who uncovers treasure in the form of gold cuboids in an earthenware pot.)