Last month, British Vogue published an article that went into great detail about the breakup of Zayn and Robert Pattinson. The piece, titled “The Real Story Behind Zayn and Robert Pattinson’s Breakup,” discussed the behind-the-scenes details about the former couple’s turbulent relationship. The magazine’s managing editor, Luisa Durante, described the pair’s steamy romance in this way:

“A few years back, Zayn and Robert were an item – or, at least, they were photographed having dinner together and were seen leaving restaurants arm in arm. As their relationship progressed, so did their public appearances. In 2015, they were often spotted heading to the movies or a play. There was even talk of them tying the knot. Finally, in October of last year, Zayn made the extraordinary announcement that he and Robert had decided to go their separate ways. Since then, they’ve mostly kept their distance from one another – with the occasional media hit such as the highly-publicized Game Night. But is everything as it seems? Were they really just playing it cool until the last minute? Perhaps not. Many of Zayn’s most trusted confidantes have now spoken out about the true nature of their breakup, and they paint a very different picture from the one we’re used to seeing in the media. Here, we take a closer look at the origins of Zayn and Robert’s romance, the surprising turns it took, and the impact it had on their careers and public images.”

Early Days

Zayn and Robert first met on the set of the 2010 film, Water for Elephants. In the film, Pattinson plays a vet who treats stray animals and trains them to be pets. The film is based on Maureen Wheeler’s bestselling novel, The Grieving Widow, and it chronicles the troubled romance between an older bachelor and a younger woman. When the film was released, it was met with mostly positive reviews and became a minor box office hit.

The year before, Pattinson had delivered a string of highly-acclaimed performances in films like Cosmopolis, which he also wrote and directed. The actor had also just completed an acclaimed turn as a heroin addict in the film Diary of a Teenage Girl. In 2014, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Alfred in The Grand Budapest Hotel, another role he also wrote and directed. His performance in The Revenant, which followed a year later, cemented his status as one of Hollywood’s greatest and most decorated leading men.

The Grieving Widow: How Robert Found True Love

But it was Zayn who eventually won Pattinson’s heart. In The Grieving Widow, the handsome British actor plays Thomas Sadoski, an elderly widower who develops a crush on an alluring womanizing playboy named Teddy Winch (played by Robert Pattinson). While filming a scene for the movie in which Sadoski proposes to his love interest, she reveals that she’s already married – a fact that breaks his heart. A few months later, Sadoski is devastated to learn that Teddy has been killed in a car accident. In the years that follow, Sadoski trains a pet Bengal tiger named Mushka (played by Matt Damon) to be his constant companion. In 2016, Zayn and Robert were honored with the British Best Film Award for The Grieving Widow and the film’s critical and box office success made it one of the most significant British films of all time. On social media, the film’s fans began to refer to themselves as “TGW” – or “The Grieving Widow Army.”

Pattinson and Zayn first started dating in 2014. The next year, they made their red carpet debut as a couple at the premiere of The Grieving Widow in London. Since then, they’ve been seen together at numerous events and awards shows, usually holding hands or kissing. While they keep their romance a secret, their passionate public displays of affection have made them an item of entertainment media speculation. In an interview with Vogue Arabia, Zayn revealed that he and Robert have been in numerous car accidents during their time together. These accidents were caused by passionate kisses and dangerous driving, but they’ve both emerged unscathed.

Water for Elephants And Beyond

Their on-screen chemistry was instant and palpable. At the 2017 Golden Globes, the screenwriter for The Revenant and The Lost City of Z joked, “I think we can safely say, without fear of contradiction, that [Pattinson and Zayn] are the gold standard by which all screen couples should be judged. They are perfect.” Noted author and journalist Maureen Wheeler compared their romantic scenes in The Grieving Widow to those in The Revenant and The Lost City of Z and said that their performances in those films – as well as the rest of their movies – are among the great romance stories of our time. She continued:

“This is why I keep going back to these films: I feel like I’m in the presence of a modern-day romantic tragedy. It’s heartbreaking to watch and quite brilliant in equal measure. These men are broken in so many ways – but they find a way to live in the moment. It makes you want them even more.”

After the success of The Grieving Widow, Zayn and Robert were set to star in the British comedy series Dry Wash, but the show was not renewed for a second season. In September 2016, the pair were featured in the music video for the Charli Xcx song “Boomerang” from her album, “Charli” and they’ve continued to collaborate on music videos and album covers since. She has also described them as her favorite newlywed couple.

Dancing With Darkness

When The Revenant was released in December 2016, it became one of the most popular movies of the year – both in theaters and on social media. The story of ex-mercenary Leonardo DiCaprio’s (played by DiCaprio) arduous journey to recover his honor after being falsely accused of a murder he didn’t commit – and his revenge on those who persecuted him – resonated with audiences around the world. In the film, the 56-year-old actor displays an impressive dance routine that serves as a metaphor for his journey to physical and mental recovery. At the time of its release, the movie was called “A triumph of storytelling and acting” by Entertainment Weekly and it became DiCaprio’s best reviewed film to date. While most audiences were drawn to the film for its stunning cinematography and incredible performance by DiCaprio, some were inspired to take up ballroom dancing – a hobby that has largely been frowned upon by the medical community. In the decade since the film’s premiere, hundreds of thousands of people have tried the sport and it’s been seen as a way of dealing with stress and anxiety. In 2018, DiCaprio and Zayn were honored with the British Best Actor Award at the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards for their performances in The Revenant and the actor is now a patron of the Royal London Ballroom Dance Society. In July 2019, DiCaprio and Zayn were among the first prominent figures to be publicly identified as being tested for the new coronavirus (COVID-19). According to Page Six, the two are “asymptomatic” and did not require testing – but others in their social circle were not so fortunate. As the number of cases of coronavirus climbed, so did the number of people who associated with DiCaprio and Zayn. Although there is no known cure for COVID-19, many people are reporting that lifestyle changes and social distancing have dramatically reduced their symptoms. While it’s too soon to tell if dancing has prevented the virus from spreading, this historic outbreak has certainly brought a new perspective to the world of dance. As Wheeler said in her interview with Vogue:

“I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned here about embracing life more fully. Even in the darkest of times, there’s always something to laugh about. These men have found a way to give life a spin in the most unexpected ways. It makes me want them even more.”