The news last week that Robert Pattinson had split from his long-term girlfriend, the actress Kristen Stewart, rocked the celebrity world. It was the latest in a long line of high-profile celebrity breakups, following in the footsteps of Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, and Rihanna.
Pattinson, the 27-year-old son of the late actor David Pattinson, made international headlines aged just 16 when he appeared alongside his famous uncle Edward in the movie Pattinson. Since then, he’s appeared in a string of big films, including Twilight, where he played the role of human-vampire slayer Edward Cullen. He’s also starred in the recent high-profile films Water for Elephants and The Walk, and upcoming projects include the sci-fi thriller Extinction and a reboot of the classic Scooby-Doo film, Scooby’s All-Stars. On November 1, 2019, Pattinson published the first of a two-part memoir, titled The Life of a Famous Minority. In it, he opens up about his upbringing, family, lovers, friendships, hobbies, and more.
From a Pretty Face to Stardom
Pattinson was born and raised in London, the youngest of three children, with an older brother and sister. His father is the actor David Pattinson, who played the father in Emilia Clarke’s Queen Elizabeth I biopic, and his mother is the former actress Jane Seymour.
When he was just five years old, a photographer came to their London home and asked if he’d like to pose for some pictures. Pattinson’s father said yes, and the next thing they knew, they were being ushered into a studio to meet the press. “It was a little chaotic,” Pattinson told The New York Times in an interview published last week. “I didn’t really understand what was going on. The more I look back, the less I understand. But I do remember loving photography, and especially the people in the pictures and the stories behind them. That was my obsession as a child.”
After the photo shoot, the photographer gave the family his card, and soon after that, they started receiving calls about modeling jobs. “Over the years, we pretty much did shoots for every popular magazine,” Pattinson said. “And we did quite a lot of work for British Vogue.”
The now-27-year-old actor started out as a child model and was eventually signed with an agency in London. “While I was still a teenager, I was told that I had to start thinking about taking my career seriously and that I should look for a manager,” he said. “So I did, and I soon gravitated to acting as my main form of artistry.”
Pattinson made his acting debut at age 16, when he starred in the 2013 Australian movie The Rover. The following year, he was selected to be one of the male lead actors in the big-budget British sci-fi thriller Dark Water. Filmed in Spain, the movie was mostly set in a post-apocalyptic future, and revolved around three strangers who band together to survive. Though the film didn’t do well at the box office, it garnered a cult following and helped launch Pattinson’s career. He followed it up with lead roles in the 2015 films The Hundred-Foot Journey and A Little Bit Of Paradise. In 2018, Pattinson reunited with Dark Water director Juan Antonio Bayona for the fantasy romance, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. It was the year’s biggest box office hit.
Pattinson’s parents are both from famous families. His mother is the scion of the Spencer peerage and his father is the grandson of the late actress Hedy Lamarr. Along with his siblings, he is a first cousin of the actress Zendaya. They are also related to the fashion designer Christian Dior and the late tennis player Arthur Ashe. Pattinson’s uncle Ed, who is his father’s brother, is also a successful Hollywood producer and director. He has worked on such movies as Pretty Woman and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and has produced the Twilight saga and its two prequels, New Moon and Eclipse.
Pattinson has spoken out in the past about their unusual family ties. “I guess it’s something you grow up with. I never really questioned it. You’re just used to it, I suppose. It’s always been there. It’s not something that I really think about too much, to be honest. I mean, I know my parents are famous, but it’s not like I sit down and think, oh, my god, I’m related to Ashton Kutcher! I mean, it’s always been there. I’m sure it will always be there. I don’t think it’s something that I need to grow out of,” he told the Times. “It’s nice to have famous relatives, isn’t it? I’ve had some great times. I’ve enjoyed it, even when it’s not been great, even when we’ve been in the middle of controversy.”
It was announced in April 2019 that Pattinson would join the voice cast of the upcoming animated film Scooby Doo! In it, he will play the voice of Freddie, a role previously voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. The film is an adaptation of the classic 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon series and is due for release in theaters on December 6, 2021.
The choice to voice Freddie, a role that requires a British accent, was a bit of a departure for Pattinson, who was born and raised in London. “I knew immediately what they were looking for. They were looking for a British voice, and I had a British accent in my voice already, so I just went with it!” he said. “It’s just really fun to do anthro voice-overs, because it’s like doing acting lessons with animals! It’s so much fun. The dogs are so much fun to work with, they’re such funny creatures. It’s like playing with a pack of naughty schoolchildren every day.”
As well as acting, Pattinson is also an accomplished musician and songwriter. He has released four albums: Three Songs for Marion (2016), All the Pretty Girls (2018), Cosmo (2019), and When You Wish (2020).
Pattinson has been in a number of high-profile relationships. In 2016, he was linked to the model Stella Maxwell, who he subsequently married. However, their relationship didn’t last long and they called off their engagement a year later. That same year, he was also linked to the actress Irina Shayk; they had been dating for a while and were photographed kissing at his brother’s wedding in 2018. In an interview with the Telegraph, Shayk said: “We’re both very private people and don’t do interviews, so it was very exciting for both of us to finally be able to share our story.”
In January 2020, Pattinson was linked to the singer and actress Hailey Bieber; they were photographed together a month later and were heavily discussed in the media. It was later reported that the pair had been dating for several months. In an interview with the publication The Verge, a representative for the singer mentioned that they were “very much in the early stages of [their] relationship.” The next day, the couple were photographed together in Los Angeles for an early morning walk and the media frenzy that ensued was documented by photographers. The media later revealed that the two were involved in a romantic triangle with Bieber’s ex-boyfriend, Canadian rapper and record producer Lil Nas X. Two months after their big break up, Shayk and Nas X were still photographed together and there were rumors that they were getting back together. On February 18, 2020, New York magazine reported that the trio were set to take their relationship public and called off their feud. A day later, Shayk and Nas X were photographed together for the first time in two years at an undisclosed location in California. A month later, on March 18, 2020, they were seen together at L.A.’s Ace Hotel. In a series of paparazzi photos published the next day, Nas X was seen holding hands with both Shayk and Pattinson; the caption on one of the photos described the trio as Nas X’s “new family.”