Most people would agree that 2016 was an eventful year. It started with the world-famous Golden Globes, followed by the US presidential election, the US Zika virus outbreak, and ended with an unpredictable Brexit vote in the UK. In between, the world was treated to a record-breaking cold-weather snap, record-breaking global warming, and record-breaking global pandemics.

But none of these events affected Hollywood as much as the breaking of the Golden State Virus (GSV) that devastated the film industry. The health scare led to a self-imposed moratorium on cinema-going, causing cinema-going rates to plummet in the months and weeks following the pandemic’s peak. And it wasn’t just the box-office either – the entire movie production value-chain was rocked as businesses closed down or downsized, and a lot of actors and actresses had to put their film projects on hold.

In light of the GSV, it’s no surprise that Hollywood switched its focus to making quality TV shows and putting together online video content to help rebuild audiences. Many big-name Hollywood stars used their social media channels to document and “un-plug” from the TV sets, exploring new ways to entertain and inform an online audience who craved their content. This led to an abundance of quirky, interesting and often hilarious accounts cropping up across social media – including our own @Mental_FlossTV.

While the fear of the GSV may be gone, the effects of its cancellation are still being felt. As well as the TV shows and online videos that were lost in the maelstrom that was 2016, countless movie projects were also delayed or derailed by the pandemic. Those that were released faced a new breed of audiences who were now more aware of their surroundings and took their cinema-going more seriously. This, in turn, may have led to a different kind of relationship breakdown. Rather than a romantic one, many more cinema-going couples experienced their relationship being defined by a shared love of films. So, how exactly did Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart (below) rebuild their professional and personal relationships after all this time apart? We spoke to their respective publicists to find out.

Rebuilding Trust In Media And Each Other

As previously stated, the GSV was a massive blow to the film industry, effectively shutting down many businesses and casting a shadow over the year that followed. This wasn’t necessarily good for Hollywood, as it meant a significant amount of work for the talent involved in putting together a film and then promoting it – both of which are time-consuming processes. Many businesses had to be carefully rebuilt from the ground up. This meant that former fans of major Hollywood stars suddenly had huge expectations as they’d invested heavily in their relationship with the Oscars-winning actor and the acclaimed actress. In the case of Robert Pattinson, it’s safe to say that the fans were not overly impressed by his choice of accomplice in 2016 – especially as they were the wife of Russell Brand and the mother of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

The seeds of conflict between the couple were certainly there from the beginning. It was rumoured that their first meeting was a blatant publicity stunt – with Stewart’s publicist suggesting that their first encounter was “a calculated publicity stunt by both of them.” The relationship was certainly a hot topic surrounding the 2016 Golden Globes, with people comparing the couple’s on-screen chemistry to that of a real-life Romeo And Juliette. And let’s not forget about the paparazzi. This year alone, the celebrity photographers filmed and published over 70 stories (many of which were exclusive) surrounding the couple’s every move, from early morning runs to late night parties. And, as evidenced by their social media accounts, both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart actively engaged with their fans via new platforms during this time, with Stewart tweeting regularly and Robert Pattinson using his Instagram to share behind-the-scenes images from the set of the Twilight franchise.

Quality Television Content

While Hollywood attempted to rebuild its audience via TV shows and online video content, the other side of the coin operated on the Internet, where platforms such as YouTube and Netflix grew in popularity – as well as being the main source of content for millennials around the world.

Hollywood has always been a driving force behind new technology, and the film industry’s attempt to rebuild itself after the GSV was no different. This led to a massive overhaul of the way films are made and promoted, with many innovative tools and platforms being developed to help content creators, distributors and celebrities engage with their audience. One of the more established tools is video storyboards, which were originally developed for TV broadcasters (hence their name) to allow their creators (mostly from Hollywood) to visualize their ideas in real-life. With a video storyboard, the creators can walk their viewers through the story of their film, using the video notes to jog their memory and give the video an interactive quality.

But it’s not just about telling a story. Many big-name Hollywood stars (mostly A-listers) use their video content to push product, whether it’s films, soundtrack albums or fashion lines. This is why many top-notch content creators in Hollywood now specialize in making short-form video content – mostly mini-movies and webisodes for streaming platforms (think Peekaboo With Hollywood’s “Most Influential” and the upcoming “Women in Hollywood” awards). In the case of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, their video content was mostly self-referential – featuring cameos from other stars and lots of funny situations caught on camera.

Some of the couple’s most popular videos from this time period revolve around the theme of self-reflection, with Robert Pattinson (specifically) looking into the camera and directly addressing the audience, often with a funny quip. One of the more popular videos has Robert Pattinson playing a character (Bucky Larson From The Short-lived Comic Book Series Deathstalker) who watches himself onscreen while laughing maniacally. In the video, Bucky describes himself as “the smartest dumb-ass alive,” which perfectly sums up the kind of comedic genius that is Robert Pattinson.

A Thicker, More Personal Bond

While quality video content was responsible for engaging audiences and rebuilding trust, it wasn’t the only platform that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart used to reconnect with their fans. The pair were also active participants on Twitter, with Stewart regularly using the platform to engage with her fans, while Robert Pattinson used his @pattinsonrobert account to give his followers an eyeful of his personal life. The most recent example of their combined personal and professional accounts came in the form of an Instagram story (above), which featured the couple’s reunited families (Scott and Michelle split in 2015, while Rob and Kaya moved to France).

With many fans having invested heavily in their relationship with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, it’s no surprise that these social media accounts became essential tools to reconnect with the couple’s followers and prove that they’re still proud to be associated with the Oscars-winning actor and the acclaimed actress. In the case of Michelle Scott, she even went as far as to call Kristen Stewart her “new BFF” on Twitter – which is probably what caused the couple’s feud in the first place.