Fans of the famous Twilight series may be wondering what happened to their favourite on-screen couple, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Well, the actor and the actress are still friends today and recently spent some quality time together while filming in New York City.

Stewart, 25, and Pattinson, 27, became famous for playing Edward Cullen’s (Pattinson) love-struck teenage sweetheart and best friend in the hugely popular Twilight saga which was based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling novel, Twilight. The film series, directed by Catherine Bailey and Chris Weitz, has become one of the most successful franchises in film history with its four films, The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012), collectively earning more than $11bn at the box office worldwide.

Though the pair fell in love with and for each other’s characters in the films, the handsome actor has denied any rumours of a romance between the pair since the beginning. However, their on-screen chemistry was undeniable and they became popular as a screen duo throughout the 2010s.

The pair’s time on-screen was not all fun and games, with the actor having to undergo intense training for his role as Edward. In preparation for his role as the intimidating and aloof vampire, Pattinson had to become a semi-professional skateboarder as well as studying karate, boxing and wrestling. The actor has spoken publicly about his addiction to painkillers, alcohol and cigarettes which he claims were necessary to him surviving the rigorous training required for the part.

The series has not shied away from the darker aspects of human nature and addiction, with both Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 being rated 15 and 17 on the MPAA’s scary scale, respectively. The cast and crew were reportedly plagued by nightmares and panic attacks due to the intense levels of emotional labour required for the role, and it was later revealed that several of the crew members were in fact suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the intense nature of their work on the series.

Though the series may be considered a cult classic, it has not aged well with critics. At Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 23%, with critics panning it for being outdated, misogynistic and for glorifying substance abuse. The Guardian’s Justin Chang has called it a ‘gross-out Christmas’ and ‘a guilty-pleasure train wreck’, while The New Yorker’s Whitney Kimball described it as ‘a mixed bag of clichés and cliches’.

The actress has been open about the toll that fame and pressure took on her as a result of being associated with a cultural phenomenon. In 2010, Stewart told Parade magazine, “I’m not going to lie and say that being in Twilight has not changed my life. It definitely altered it. I’ve learned a lot from being in the movie, and I think it’s helped me grow as an actress … I definitely think the stress levels have increased, just because of the amount of media that’s been thrown at us.”

In the same interview, Stewart also spoke about her strained relationship with her mother, who did not approve of her choice to become an actress: “When I decided to do this, my mom went through a lot. She didn’t come to one of the auditions, because she said it was wrong of me to go behind your dad’s back like this. But then when it came out I think she felt a little better, because she got to watch the movie. It was a hard decision. I love both of them so much, it was really hard to decide.”

The couple’s on-screen chemistry was such that audiences immediately grew to love and champion them as heroes, with their iconic “twilight” moment, Edward’s infamous “V” sign, becoming an instant symbol of male dominance and control. But off-screen, their on-camera relationship was very different, with the actress being forced to endure years of tabloid speculation about her personal life and the actor allegedly being aggressive and contemptuous towards women. In 2015, Stewart revealed that the actor had emotionally and physically abused her throughout their relationship: “He has emotionally and physically abused me and I have been afraid to tell anyone because I thought they would judge me,” she said. “He has called me a slut and a bitch, and a whole host of other things. He accuses me of causing all of his problems, of being ungrateful and of making up stupid stories. I have never felt safer or more protected than when he was beating me. I trusted him completely because he said he loved me.”

The actress went on to describe the physical abuse she suffered from the star: “Sometimes he would lock me in the closet and not let me out unless I did what he wanted. He once taped me up in the smallest space possible and whipped me with a belt because he was mad about something. He kept saying, ‘I’m not going to let you go until you do what I want’. I have scars on my back that I got from him.”

Pattinson has always denied the allegations and in a statement to Entertainment Tonight, he said, “These allegations are false and highly offensive. I would never do such a thing to her or anyone. I love and respect her very much. She will be my friend for the rest of my life.” But in the years since, Stewart has repeatedly spoken out about her experience, criticising the actor for being a “womaniser” and a “player”, and stating that she did not “choose to publicise” her story because she was “scared” of how men would react: “I didn’t want anyone to think badly of him because I know what an amazing person he is,” she said. “I’m still scared of how men will react. Maybe I’ll be more vocal about how much I appreciate him when I’m older.”

Though there is no denying the entertainment value that Stewart and Pattinson’s partnership provided in the films, it appears that their off-screen antics were just as interesting as their on-screen chemistry. In 2017, the Daily Mail newspaper reported that the pair had been seen “hugging and kissing” in various public settings, including at an awards ceremony and at the Met Gala, and that they had a ‘love nest’ in Los Angeles’s Hough Towers. The newspaper also described how Stewart had moved out of her $12,000-a-month penthouse in Mayfair, London, to make room for the actor.

The actor’s representative denied the allegations, stating that Stewart and Pattinson were only friends and that there was no romance. “This is yet another unsubstantiated, false allegation,” the statement read. “They have been friends for a number of years and while Robert may have shared an intimate night with Kristen several months ago, he has never forced himself on anyone. This completely fabricated story was intended to lower Robert’s profile as an AIDS activist.”

But as the years have gone by and the actors have both continued to be associated with powerful men, the allegations have not gone away, with many still believing them to be true. At the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards last month, Stewart was presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award and in her acceptance speech, she revealed that she is still scared to speak out about her experiences for fear of being “victimised”: “This is a beautiful award, and I’m so happy to be here,” she said. “But I’m also very scared to make this speech for fear of being victimised. But here I go anyway.”

The actress then went on to thank Rob and Twilight fans for their support and for inspiring her to be a “better person”. As she neared the end of her speech, the room was heard to groan in anticipation of the Q&A session, which would undoubtedly be asked about her supposed relationship with the actor. But before the audience could ask a single question, the lights came up and Stewart left the stage, seemingly in tears. Later that evening, Rob was presented with a Cinema Vanguard Award by Quentin Tarantulin, who praised him for “inspiring so many people with [his] work and for being] such an incredible ally in the fight against AIDS.” Tarantulin also announced that a documentary about the actor would be released in 2019.