Yes, they are two of the biggest movie stars in the world. But did you know that they are actually the best buds on the planet?

It’s true. The English actor Robert Pattinson and the American actor Ben Affleck have been best friends since high school. And it all started with a bet. Namely, they wagered that they could take a vacation—together—and not one, but two luxury resorts in Italy. They had to take a liking to each other just to win the bet. But that’s not all there is to their relationship. Over the years, they’ve become pretty close, going on tour with each other’s band and acting in each other’s movies. Here, we’ll explore the fascinating history of Pattinson and Affleck and how this unlikely friendship turned into a beautiful romance.

A Boyish Best Friend

The first evidence that Pattinson and Affleck were connected goes back to 2008. Ben was initially cast as the male lead in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. But it was his friend who played Edward Cullen who ended up taking the role instead. Coincidentally, it was around this time that Ben’s brother, James, introduced him to the actor Robert Pattinson.

When it comes to romantic interests, both men have had their ups and downs. For a while, it was Kendall Jenner. But in 2016, Affleck became closely linked to Elle MacLeman, his co-star on the basketball court movie, The Game. The two were even seen shopping for engagement rings in New York City at around the same time.

A Romantic Twist

But despite all this hullabaloo, it was Pattinson who ended up proposing to Affleck. The actor is well-known for being very romantic and told Vanity Fair in 2017 that he was engaged to be married when he was 21 and never looked back. He said:

“I don’t really like to talk about my personal life, but I will tell you that when I was 21, I fell madly in love with a girl I met at university. We planned to wed after graduation, and she was the happiest I’d ever seen her. But the day before our wedding, she broke down and told me she was battling depression. I spent the rest of our school years together doing everything I could to make her happy. We moved to London, started a business, and bought a home. But as soon as we got settled, she started having panic attacks. It was awful—she would shut down and not want to talk to anyone. She ended up taking a leave of absence from university and dropped out of school. I was heartbroken. I tried to be strong for her, but it was hard to remain the witty, charming person I’d always been.”

Even though Affleck said he didn’t want to talk about his personal life, he did comment that he and Pattinson “have been together for ten years, so it’s definitely something that people are interested in.”

But if you want to get truly intimate with the story of how this unlikely friendship and turned into a beautiful romance, you have to go back to 2008, when the couple first met. That’s when their relationship started, and it only got more interesting from there. First, it was a bet, then it was about perseverance, and then it became a romance. Let’s dive in.

A Bet To Become Friends

The original bet the two made was to take a vacation to Tulum, Mexico, together. They didn’t know each other at the time, but it was their first and only bet together. To win the bet, they would have to become friends first. And to do that, they would have to like each other’s company and get along well. Luckily, they both liked dogs, so they bonded over their love for canines.

As for their vacation to Tulum, it was a relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The city is located in the southern part of the country, with the beautiful Mayan ruins as the main attraction. But even before they went there, they bonded over their love for foreign travel. They wanted to see as many countries as possible and make the most of their time on vacation. So, they made a list of the places they wanted to see before they died. It started with Canada and then included the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Canada was on there because it was the second country they saw when they landed in Mexico. So, it was a no-brainer that they would need to travel to Canada at some point during their trip.

But their first vacation as friends didn’t come without its challenges. The two had to learn to be mindful of each other’s needs and adjust their behavior accordingly. Otherwise, they would have created a rift between them. When they got back from their trip in September 2008, they were already thinking about the next vacation together. This time, they would head to Italy.

Although he didn’t want to talk about his personal life, the actor Robert Pattinson opened up about some challenges he faced while being with Ben Affleck on their first vacation as friends. He told Vanity Fair that they had to be mindful of each other’s needs and adjust their behavior accordingly, otherwise, they would have created a rift between them. They also talked about how much they admired each other’s style and how much they enjoyed being around each other even though they come from different worlds. It was an important step in their growth as individuals and as a couple.

An Unforgettable Vacation

While in Tulum, they also made a conscious effort to focus on each other and establish a connection. They would cook dinner together, order takeout, and watch movies. They would also go for walks, catch up on each other’s lives, and work through any issues that came up. It was a bonding experience that helped them become closer as friends and colleagues.

Pattinson shared with Vanity Fair that one of the highlights of the vacation was ordering food from one of the local restaurants, which was later shut down by the government. The food was excellent, and they reminisced about the meal and their time in Mexico for years to come.

When they got back from their vacation, it was already clear to them that they wanted to continue their journey together as friends and explore the world, so they made an agreement. If one of them dies before the end of the year, the other will have to marry the person they like the most. Fortunately, they both survived the year, and now it’s 2015.

Since they had both bonded over their love of travel, they decided to further their education about the world. They would use their year off to further their studies. And what better way to do that than by going on an expedition? The idea was exciting, and the opportunity to learn more about geography and history was intriguing. So, they decided to go to the Galapagos Islands, one of the most well-known locations for tourism, in the Pacific Ocean. At the time, there were no direct flights to the islands, so they had to fly to Chile and then take a boat to the Galapagos. On the trip, they would check out the famous wildlife, including the giant tortoise and the Charles Darwin Research Station. It was a chance to expand their education and also see another part of the world. And because it’s been a year since they bonded over their travels, they wanted to make sure they got a present for each other. So, they bought themselves expensive yet personalized gifts: Ben bought a statue of the Virgin Mary, and Pattinson got an ornamental plate.

They Started As Friends

It wasn’t just about winning a bet and trying to prove that they could become good friends. The two actors had genuine affection for each other from the start. They started as friends and grew to be more. In fact, they often joke about how much they love being with each other.

“I love you like a brother, but you’re also my best friend. That’s how I feel about you,” Affleck said in June 2016.

Pattinson added: “It’s true, we might not always like each other’s taste in music or movies, but in our hearts, we always have.”

A Road Trip To Canada

While in Italy, Affleck’s brother proposed to him, which he happily accepted. This prompted the two to take a trip up north to see family and friends. After spending a few days with Affleck’s parents and older siblings in Boston, they drove up to Canada, where he was expected to marry Kassandra Milian, a pediatrician he had met in college. In August 2016, the two officially tied the knot in a private ceremony at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross.