The year was 2007. Robert Pattinson walked the red carpet at the premiere of his latest film, The Beach. It was there that we first saw him play the dashing young millionaire Edward Cullen, whose good looks, charming personality, and famous family fortune helped make him a sex symbol. The film also starred the ravishingly beautiful actress Kristen Stewart. The pair were nominated for best supporting actor and actress for their work in the film. It was an incredible feat for two young stars to receive such high praise for their roles in a first-time director’s ambitious debut feature, but it soon became clear that their on-screen chemistry was more than just a fad and was something special.

The Chemistry Was There From The Start

The year before, in 2006, the film’s writer and director, Jonathan Snowden, had tweeted a question about Pattinson’s and Stewart’s on-screen chemistry: “Has anyone seen @robertpattinson and @KStewarting’s chemistry in real life? I’m just wondering, because when they’re onscreen they are so mesmerizing,” he wrote. “It’s like they’re not even acting.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Snowden’s tweet prompted a rush of responses, with many fans chiming in with their own theories about the actors’ off-screen compatibility. Many noted the young stars’ similarities in acting style, both displaying an ease with emotion that belied their on-screen agressiveness. “They have a lot of the same qualities,” one Twitter user observed. “They’re both very talented and very smart. So, when they’re both in the same frame, it looks like they’re having some sort of psychological warfare.” Another agreed, adding: “They seem to have a lot of the same techniques… They both throw in emotive performances every now and then, especially when they’re playing characters who are not conventionally attractive. There’s a reason these two were meant to be together.”

Real-Life Chemistry Is What Moved The Scenes

Having chemistry on-screen is no easy feat, and it takes a lot of hard work to make it look believable. In the case of Pattinson and Stewart, it was apparently the real thing. According to an interview with USA Today, the actor admitted that when it came to shooting pivotal scenes between the two leads, he and Stewart would have to take time out of their schedules to work on their dialogue and match their performances in-camera. Their schedules were so hectic that they sometimes had to film scenes a few days apart, just so they could have enough time to work on their lines.

“You want to make sure that every line is delivered with the same feeling and with the same intent – that the scene is not cheesy,” Pattinson said. “Luckily, Kristen is very good at that. We’ve had a lot of scenes where she’s been acting and improvising with me, then we’ve gone back and shot them and it’s been perfect.”

Some of the scenes that Pattinson and Stewart worked on together were so tense that they had to be shot multiple times. “It was incredibly difficult to keep the energy and the intensity that we were feeling when we were acting,” Stewart said. “We were definitely pushing each other’s buttons as much as we could.”

A Self-Preservation Mechanism

Pattinson and Stewart, who have both confirmed they still talk frequently, are obviously still close friends. However, it’s clear that they’re both much more guarded about their personal lives than they are when promoting a film. One of the reasons for this may be because they’re both so used to being in the public eye. It’s not just because of their acting prowess, which has made them famous at such a young age, but also due to their image as poster children for the “it” girl trend. The stigma that comes with this is that your personal life will never be your own, and you’ll be forced to live in the public eye. This may be why they both seem so cautious about giving interviews and sharing their personal stories, even though they’ve both been remarkably candid about their film career.

As for why they broke up, it’s probably because they’re both too sophisticated for the average teenager. They’re actors, after all, and know that fame comes with its own set of challenges. They also wanted different things from life, with Pattinson desiring stability and control and Stewart wanting to stir up drama and change gears whenever the mood struck. So, while it was undoubtedly a mutual parting of the ways, they can still appreciate one another’s talents and be happy for the roles they were lucky enough to play.