Most people know the story behind the Pete Davidson and Robert Pattinson breakup—Pattinson cheated on Davidson with his 22-year-old Swedish au pair, and the SNL comedian took him to court. (If you need a refresher, check out this season premiere of Saturday Night Live on Hulu.) Since then, they’ve been working through their issues—and in rare instances, even getting back together. So, when Davidson’s new girlfriend, Shawn Mendes, introduced them at his birthday party on August 17, 2019, many fans wondered if this was yet another sign that their reconciliation was imminent. (Mendes is known for dating guys who have had serious romantic relationships with other women.)
This is, perhaps, one of the more interesting and relevant celebrity breakups of the 21st century. Not only do the stars have to work through the major issues stemming from their estrangement, but they also have to deal with how their individual celebrity influences their relationship. (In other words, is their spat really about Shawn Mendes vs. Robert Pattinson, or is it about what came before?)
Let’s examine their relationship over the years to get a better idea of where they’re coming from and where they’re going in the future.
A Brief History
Pattinson, whose real name is Robert Pattinson, was born in London and grew up in the United Kingdom. He began writing and directing short films while at University of Warwick, and then moved to L.A. to further his acting career. (He was discovered while auditioning for a gay porn film, and the rest, as they say, is history.)
The English actor first found mainstream success in the 2015 movie Legend, in which he played opposite Keira Knightly. Since then, he’s appeared in a number of high-profile movies, including the James Bond thriller Spectre (2018) and The Laundromat (2019).
Davidson, whose real name is Pete Davidson, was born in New York and grew up in Michigan. He began his comedy career in 2007 while attending the University of Michigan, where he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. After graduating in 2009, he moved to Los Angeles and began doing stand-up comedy. (He also found success as a host of the MTV show Shotgun Weddings in 2012.)
Since then, Davidson has appeared in several high-profile movies, including the Judd Apatow comedies Trainwreck (2015) and The Comedy (2019), as well as the ensemble comedy Ready Player One (2018). He’s also had a recurring role as ‘’Jared’’ on the HBO comedy series Crashing.
The two first met in 2009. According to the New York Post, they bonded over their shared love for Tilda Swinton, the Anglo-German actress who plays the legendary Dracula in the upcoming Hobo Hombre remake. (Apparently, Swinton has a house in the same neighborhood where Davidson and his friends used to hang out as kids.)
Both Were Popular Before They Broke Up
Pattinson’s and Davidson’s individual stardom was established long before their relationship. While Pattinson was working steadily, appearing in low-budget British independent films, Davidson was emerging as one of today’s most prominent comedians. (He even appeared on SNL in a 2007 commercial spoof for Pattinson’s band, the Bruno Mars Band.)
After they both became famous, the tabloids claimed the two were seen holding hands at the 2014 Golden Globes afterparty. (Pattinson reportedly proposed to Davidson just a few days later at his Los Angeles home.)
Pattinson kept a relatively low profile after the breakup, choosing to focus on his acting and directing. (He also executive produced and starred in the Eighth Grade series for Netflix.) But in recent years, the 41-year-old has returned to the spotlight, appearing at various award shows and movie premieres, including the 2018 Venice Film Festival and the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. He also released a stand-alone art exhibition in L.A., My Own Private Galaxy, in 2018. (The exhibition used a series of self-portraits shot in homage to the work of Renaissance painter Giuseppe Mazzola.)
Davidson didn’t stay quiet after the breakup either. In 2017, he released a comedy album, New York Is Death To Dogs, to critical acclaim. Its title track was inspired by SNL writer Katie Rich’s book, I Am Katie: The Confessions of a Comedy Legend. In it, Rich admits to taking abuse from SNL alumni for years because she admired their comedy.
The comedian also hosted and appeared in various Netflix shows. Most notably, he was the host and executive producer of The Axe Mode, which focused on celebrity gossip and delivered fake investigative journalism via phone calls and text messages to fans. The show was abruptly cancelled after only one season.
They Started As Friends
Both stars have always been upfront about their friendship with other famous men. After the breakup, they credited each other as influences and kept in touch. (Pattinson called Davidson his “best friend.”)
In 2017, the two first attended a comedy show together as friends. The next year, Davidson posted a picture on his Instagram of the two men kissing. In response, many of his followers threatened to leave the platform because they found the picture disturbing. (Davidson, for his part, has never denied the authenticity of the photo.)
Pattinson and Davidson’s friendship has always been complicated. While they’ve both been friends with other famous men—Pattinson has been close to musician Elton John, while Davidson has been friendly with director Woody Allen—they’ve also longed for the romantic relationship that later developed between them. (In fact, they once dated the same woman, but it didn’t work out.)
In a 2009 interview, Davidson admitted that while he and Pattinson were initially attracted to each other because of their mutual admiration for Tilda Swinton, they later developed feelings for each other once they were no longer able to be friends. (“We have history,” he said.)
After spending more than a decade as best friends, the two finally decided to be together in 2018. As they told Vogue, “[W]e’ve been through a lot as friends, and it’s been incredible. We’ve grown up, moved through puberty, and experienced a lot together.”
The two have worked on fixing their relationship, which they felt was in need of some TLC after several years apart. (Pattinson had been traveling a lot for work, and Davidson had been focusing on his career.) They’ve gone on dates and, in March 2019, Davidson even proposed to his fiancée, Shawn Mendes. (The couple wedded in Los Angeles in November 2019.)
While their friendship hasn’t been harmed by fame, it’s changed. When they were first starting out, it was much more casual. Now, it’s gotten more mature.
“We’re both busy, so we’ve kept things casual,” Davidson told Vogue of their evolving friendship. “But it’s changed. We’ve both been through a lot in our lives, and we’ve developed a deeper connection.”
Pattinson has acknowledged that their celebrity has influenced their relationship. “Everyone has a different path in life, and that’s what happens when you meet someone, you keep seeing each other, and before you know it, you’re in a relationship,” he told Vogue in 2018.
According to the star, their connection has inspired him to be a better person and father. “I want to be responsible and mature, and I feel like I can be because of [Davidson],” he said. “He’s a good person, and I want to be more like him.”