While many of us were sleeping, or at least making the most of the day’s last remnants of sunlight, celebrities were out and about making the most of the last day of September. Robert Pattinson turned up at Venice Beach in California, where he celebrated his birthday with friends and family. He then headed to London to catch the premieres of The King’s Speech and The Adjustment Bureau, before returning to LA to shoot the climax to his adventures – a video blog for Google+.
The film-maker and actor took to his virtual stage around midnight local time on September 11th, sharing his first-person experiences as they happened. With a mix of funny anecdotes and heartbreaking stories, he gave an intimate look into what it means to be a superstar in the twilight of the 21st century.
We’ll be exploring Pattinson’s extraordinary career journey and his reflections on this unprecedented year in the entertainment industry. But first, let’s take a trip back in time to the beginning of his journey…
From an early age, Robert Pattinson was surrounded by fame. Born in London in 1986 to film-maker Sandy Pattinson and screenwriter Heather Pattinson, he grew up in a household where his celebrity status was never in doubt. His parents divorced when he was 10 years old, and his mother married Charlie Burns, a filmmaker. In an interview with Attitude magazine he discussed his early years, saying, “I loved being a child. I couldn’t get enough entertainment. I would sit and watch movies for hours. I was a very, very sensitive kid – very aware of my emotions and the emotions of other people around me.”
After graduating from high school in London, he headed to the United States, to study film-making at New York University. While he was there, he was spotted by an A-list talent agent, who got in touch with his management team. They took the opportunity to convince him to move to Hollywood and pursue a career in acting.
Pattinson’s Hollywood debut was in a 2010 thriller, Marmaduke, which he reportedly turned down over 30 offers before getting. He followed this with lead roles in the 2011 dramas Breaking News and The Rover, and the psychological thriller Water for Elephants. The Hollywood Reporter listed him among the top 25 rising stars of 2012, saying, “It’s hard to believe that after being in the business for less than a year, Robert Pattinson already has several big-name projects lined up. The English thespian has proven he can act, but now he needs to prove he can handle the camera.”
In 2013, he appeared in the comedy film Dope, the science fiction film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and the psychological thriller Remember Me. He received critical acclaim for his role in the latter, which brought him to the attention of film buffs and fantasy fans around the world. The film’s French director, Xavier Dolan, highlighted Pattinson’s performance, saying, “I’m not entirely sure if he’s a born actor or if he was trained – but either way, he is an extraordinary talent.” While talking with NPR, Pattinson revealed that some of his favorite films are the Italian horror classics The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Night of the Living Dead. He added, “They are such influential films in terms of how they altered the way I saw cinema.”
His upcoming films include the sci-fi drama Beyond, which he co-wrote and will star in, and Gone Home, the story of a young woman trying to navigate a new world after her family moves away. The actor has also expressed a desire to tackle more serious topics in the future – something that would undoubtedly please his legions of fans.
Thanks to the democratization of film and the rise of the sharing economy, the way we experience movies has changed dramatically in recent years. Few actors have benefited from this change more than Pattinson. From the beginning of his career, he has worked closely with the popular video platform YouTube, often appearing in short-form videos starring in his own take on classic film scenes. The YouTube team has also collaborated with him on several projects, providing production value and helping to build a community around his content. His channel, “RPattz,” now has over 750 million views on YouTube, and over 500 million of these views come from Ireland alone. He currently has over 3.5 billion total views on the platform. In 2018, he was the third-most-viewed creator on YouTube, behind only the American humorist Joe Limond and the Norwegian singer-songwriter Olav Basoski.
Pattinson has been in a relationship with Irish model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley since 2013. He discussed their relationship with GQ, saying, “We both have a lot of respect for each other’s work. It takes a lot of trust to be with someone who is so successful, and I think we both have a strong sense of boundaries. But I also really like her company and I like being with someone who makes me feel like a better person.”
The couple bought a house in the LA residential community of Topanga, in the hills above Central Park. In early September, they welcomed a baby girl into the world. The pair announced the news of their pregnancy through Instagram, with Huntington-Whiteley sharing a snap of herself in a labor bed, alongside the text, “Here we come!”
Pattinson has been open about his struggle with depression. In a 2015 interview with GQ, he revealed that his life had been affected by the condition, which he had tried to keep hidden. “Sometimes I’d just sit there and think, ‘This is hopeless,’ ” he said. “I was very down at one point. I had a few weeks where I didn’t want to get out of bed. I took antidepressants and felt better. It’s something I’ve battled with.”
In April 2019, he confirmed that he was engaged to be married to Huntington-Whiteley. “I know some people think it’s a strange choice [for me], but I’ve always wanted to marry her. We’ve talked about it for a long time, but it’s taken this whole year to finally make it happen,” he told the media at the time. “We haven’t planned the wedding yet, but we’re both looking forward to it. It’s going to be a big day, and we’re both really excited about it.”
While 2017 was a dramatic year for the film world, it was also the year that celebrity came full-circle. The most followed-on YouTube, the biggest movie premieres, and the highest-grossing films were all dominated by stories about celebrities. In the coming year, we’ll continue to see more of the same.
Pattinson was one of the biggest names to come out of this trend. It’s not just his growing fan base that attracted filmmakers and fans alike to his stories. His life is truly exceptional – he’s one of the most recognizable faces in the world, he’s managed to stay close friends with most of his exes, and he’s got a beautiful, thriving family. He is also one of the most accomplished actors of his generation, and he’s not done yet.
As he gears up for his next acting role, he continues to be an inspiration to other young performers. In an interview with Variety, he discussed working with millennials, saying, “I think there are so many things that we can learn from this generation. They are very ambitious and driven – they want to create change and they want to be part of something that makes a difference.”
He continues, “There are so many issues that this generation is facing that we didn’t have to. Mental health is one of the big topics now, and I think that’s fantastic. I think that we should be more mindful about these issues and try to support each other more. We’re all human and we’re all doing the best that we can.”
As the world’s most popular YouTube personality, it’s not hard to see why the twenty-something audience relates to him. While our world has changed in ways that he’s not yet experienced, he’s been able to navigate it as it came and find a way to succeed. Most importantly, he’s found a way to thrive. So, as we look to the future, let’s remember that celebrity – and more importantly, the way we use it – has changed.