If you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard the name Robert Pattinson. You may know him as the actor who played a hunky vampire in the Twilight film series, or from his stint as the besotted hunk in the upcoming Divergent film. And you may know that he was once engaged to Victoria’s Secret model and aspiring actress, Elizabeth Taylor. But outside of the big-budget flicks, most people probably know Pattinson for his humanitarian efforts. He’s appeared in numerous films and advertisements with his longtime friend and collaborator, the renowned filmmaker Guy Ritchie. Now, he’s turned his attention to more important issues. Specifically, he’s announced that he’s finished with acting and wants to devote himself to activism and charity work.
Hitting The Highnotes
Pattinson hasn’t played a character in a movie in four years, and since then he’s devoted himself to philanthropy and activism. This fall, he and his longtime girlfriend, FKA Twigs, will be launching the ‘Robert Pattinson Foundation’, an organization that will focus on providing housing and food for the less fortunate. The foundation will also be taking on environmental issues and attempting to reduce plastic waste. In the near future, the pair plan to establish a children’s hospice in England. In the meantime, Pattinson has been documenting these efforts on his Instagram account.
While it’s great to see someone who’s so focused on making the world a better place, it does come with some drawbacks. One of which is that once you’ve taken your eye off the screen, it’s hard to get it back. And that’s what’s happening to Pattinson. He’s not happy that he’s been sidelined, and he’s particularly miffed that his former on-screen lover, Bella Swan, has stolen his thunder, both figuratively and literally. In the past year, Bella has released two sequels to the Twilight series. First came 2011’s Breaking Dawn – Part 1, in which she finally married the hunky vampire, and, well, you know the rest. And then came 2015’s Twilight Saga: The Complete Tenth Anniversary Edition, which essentially just re-released all ten of the original movies in a massive box set. Since that time, Bella and her wolf pack—including a pregnant Rosalie and Emmett—have been all the rage, eclipsing Pattinson and Taylor’s once-prominent celebrity. In fact, it’s been widely rumored that the fortysomething actor will soon be retiring from the spotlight.
The Last Days
There’s been no confirmation of whether or not Pattinson’ll still be acting in five years. But on the heels of the actor’s newfound activism, fans are speculating that it might be his last hurrah. If the past is any indicator, it probably is. When he was just 18 years old, Pattinson had already done considerable acting work, appearing in a number of films, including Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, for which he won a British Independent Film Award. From there, he went on to star in a number of smaller-budgeted films, often appearing in a double-bundle at the same time as his more famous high-profile actor friends. He had just completed a tour with the British comedy troupe, The League of Gentlemen, when he decided to attend the Actors’ Guild’s annual dinner in honor of Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, and the other luminaries. There, he was introduced to Taylor, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Pattinson’s journey to the top was well-documented. He grew up in the United Kingdom, where he was often recognized for his good looks and gregarious nature. At twenty-one years old, he was dating Victoria’s Secret Angel, Elizabeth Taylor, and the tabloids were having a field day, characterizing their relationship as “the love affair of the century.” They reportedly had over thirty-five children together. The couple wed in 1994 and divorced in 2001. Since then, Taylor has been seen with a number of men, including musician Ringo Starr. But her heart still belongs to her first two children, Michael and Carole. It was Michael who introduced his mother to Pattinson, and the rest, as they say, is history.
If Pattinson decides to bow out of acting, he’ll be leaving a lucrative industry. However, he will continue to be recognizable thanks to his charitable work and the enduring popularity of his Twilight films. And although he may no longer be in the spotlight, his efforts will be noticed by those he cares about. It’s not often that you get a chance to follow in someone’s footsteps, but if you’re passionate enough about something, it’s often possible to achieve something. So here’s to hoping that Robert Pattinson finds the happiness that he and FKA Twigs are looking for.