In an interview with The New York Times, the actor Robert Pattinson opened up about his split from the actress Kristen Stewart. The couple had been together for two years before officially calling it quits on May 10, 2018. As expected, the split was a very public one, with both stars regularly sharing details about their separation on social media. In the interview, Pattinson addressed some of the rumors about who was to blame for the breakup and expressed his desire to move on with his life. He also promised to be more private about his personal life in the future, perhaps hinting at the influence of his new girlfriend, Bella Hadid.

The Source of Their Troubles

The pair had been a constant source of tabloid gossip for years, with both of them regularly being linked to other famous people. Stewart posed for a decadent photo shoot with the magazine Vanity Fair in April 2018 and revealed that she spends much of her time these days trying to forget about her former life as a Hollywood star. In an effort to become a normal person again, she’s taking a backseat as Robert Pattinson embarks on a new chapter of his life. The breakup was triggered by a series of unfortunate events: First, Stewart announced that she was pregnant, which meant she wouldn’t be able to star in Pattinson’s upcoming film Valley of the Giants. Then, after the film’s premiere, she revealed that the pregnancy was a hoax and that she’d been the victim of domestic violence. These events undoubtedly contributed to the couple’s decision to call it quits.

As previously reported, the actress was subjected to a brutal 2013 assault by her partner of three years, 24-year-old director Rupert Sanders. According to court documents, Stewart tried to end the affair, but Sanders would not accept her decision to end the partnership. He physically assaulted her, leaving her with “blackout” periods and memory loss. As a result of the attack, Stewart filed for a protection order and later won a permanent restraining order against Sanders, who she dubbed the “monster who tried to kill me.”

Despite her horrific ordeal, Stewart was able to put her career back together and began focusing on her activism. She was appointed as the U.S. Global Ambassador for gender equality and environmental responsibility as well as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. She also launched a charitable organization, the Kristen Stewart Foundation, which provides support to women in the film industry who are victims of domestic or sexual violence. Additionally, Stewart became a UN Women’s Advocate for Empowerment, speaking out against sexual violence and urging men to become more involved in preventing and responding to sexual violence. The role required her to frequently travel and represent the organization internationally. It’s clear that Stewart feels much more comfortable speaking out against male violence than she does about her infrequent, conflicted relationships with men. It’s also clear that the abuse she suffered as a result of her tempestuous relationship with Sanders has profoundly changed her outlook on life.

Moving Forward

Pattinson and Stewart decided to end their relationship after two years because they were both feeling unfulfilled. The actor told CNN that they were each “trying to grow and change,” adding “we both want different things out of life.” The two have an amicable attitude toward their breakup and seem to have accepted that it was a mutual decision. They still love each other and remain friends. As for their fans, they have no hard feelings and are even considering the possibility of reconciling in the future. Still, for now, they’re allowing themselves to mourn the loss of what could have been a great romance had they not been so determined to make it work. This was an especially difficult decision for Stewart, as she didn’t want to upset her father, Bill Stahl, who recently turned 100 years old. In an interview with The New York Times, Stewart expressed her love for her father and thanked him for encouraging her to follow her heart.

The situation is very different for Sanders, who lost his job at the United Nations upon being publicly identified as Stewart’s attacker. Although he has denied the accusations, his career is in tatters and it’s clear that his place in the film industry has been completely excised. As for Stewart’s alleged assault, it hasn’t gone unnoticed and she’s received some serious blowback, especially from men. The National Domestic Violence Survivors Network (NDVSN) notes on its website: “Many men who’ve been in abusive relationships say that they feel ashamed and dishonored when others discover their secrets. In particular, when the abuser is a famous person, the experience can be even more damaging because of the stigma that comes along with it.”

That stigma can prevent victims of domestic violence from seeking help or entering the entertainment industry. Thankfully, times have changed and more people are willing to come forward and speak out against violence. In 2020, it’s time to believe survivors and call out abusers, particularly when they’re on social media.

Stranger Than Fiction

Even though this was a very public breakup, some of Stewart’s friends had suspected that something was up between them for quite some time. On the eve of their engagement party, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Stewart posted a cryptic message to her Instagram account, writing: “Sometimes you need to walk away and forget about the person you’re with in order to start fresh. What will you do in order to move on? You’ll regret it if you don’t try anything new.” That same day, the actress shared a series of cryptic messages on her other social media accounts, including one that read: “Sometimes you have to lose someone to find someone.”

Although the messages don’t explicitly state that Stewart is referring to Sanders, the context is clear. It’s possible that she was trying to tell her followers that she’d had enough of being in a relationship and that she hoped they’d understood the message.

Whether intentional or not, Stewart’s post and subsequent comments had a profound effect on her followers. One user responded, “Amen sister! I’m just thankful that I found my happiness even if it was for a little while. I hope you continue to find joy in your journey and I wish you all the best.” Others commented, “Exactly. I’m sure you’re both better off apart.” These are the types of responses that one would expect to see from the friends and family of an assault victim who just got done talking to the police. What’s more is that Stewart’s friends and family were able to offer her some much-needed moral support after the breakup. It seems that her friends and family were able to see past her celebrity and know exactly what she was going through. That understanding and support helped Stewart find the strength to move on.

Although it was a very public and painful breakup, it seems that for the most part, both parties are doing okay. Stewart has been very open about her struggles and is continuing to grow as a person and an advocate for survivors of domestic violence. When asked how she plans to move forward, Stewart responded: “By being my best self.” Regarding Sanders, he hasn’t been able to find work in the film industry and hasn’t tweeted or posted anything about Stewart since their breakup.

There are still plenty of questions surrounding Sanders’s alleged assault and the role that money and power may have played in enabling it. With more details emerging about the dark underbelly of the entertainment industry, it’s clear that we’re in the midst of a major cultural shift, one wherein prominent men with power are being held accountable for their actions. That accountability will hopefully continue to evolve and improve as we learn more about what happened between Stewart and Sanders as a result of their unequal power dynamic. Still, in the meantime, we can be grateful that two very famous and public people are able to learn from their mistakes and move on with their lives, hopefully helping other people along the way. For now, let’s allow these two to grieve in relative privacy while we celebrate their love and loyalty to each other.