LOS ANGELES — Robert Pattinson has decided to come back – to the spotlight, that is.
The 26-year-old actor has been out of sight since learning last month that his girlfriend and "Twilight" co-star Kristen Stewart had an affair with a married movie director. A tabloid printed photos of the illicit dalliance, breaking the hearts of "Twilight" fans worldwide and prompting Stewart and the director to issue public apologies to their loved ones.
But Pattinson couldn't lay low forever – he has a film to promote. So on Monday, he was in New York for round of media appearances, including a chat with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" and the premiere of "Cosmopolis," a thriller based on a Don DeLillo novel.
On the red carpet, an upbeat Pattison wasn't asked directly about the cheating scandal – the media were limited on the number of questions they could ask – but he talked at one point about the movie's steamy sex scenes.
"I feel a little uncomfortable doing that. But I mean, some of the scenes in this were like complicated acting scenes, like during a sex scene which makes it – it's a very strange experience," he said with a smile.
Work obligations often force celebrities out of hiding after challenging personal situations, but choosing how and where to make a comeback is often a carefully calculated move.
"There's no one show that's the right answer for everyone," said veteran publicist Howard Bragman, now vice chairman of Reputation.com. "The right answer is the one where you think you're going to get the most respect, the fairest hearing and the best presentation – and potentially where you've had the best relationships in the past."
When Pattinson chatted with Stewart in 2010, the comedian invited him to return, saying, "You are making me cooler."
For his appearance Monday on "The Daily Show," Stewart joked in the show opener that many people might be tuning in for the first time.
A graphic went up on the bottom of the screen during a segment on Republican Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick, Paul Ryan, welcoming "Twilight Fans" and alerting them that they were watching a show "mostly dealing with politics and media."
When Pattinson did take the stage, Stewart asked, "What have you been up to?" and handed him ice cream. "We're just a couple o' gals talkin'... tell me everything."
Pattinson seemed uncomfortable but good-natured.
"My biggest problem in life is I'm cheap and I didn't hire a publicist," joked the actor about navigating this highly publicized time. (For the record, he really doesn't have a publicist.)
Stewart brought the conversation back to ice cream. "The last time I had a bad breakup, Ben & Jerry got me through some of the tougher times. So I thought you and I could talk about, `Boy, you are better off. Kick her to the curb. Whatever!'" he said as Pattinson laughed.
Pattinson will appear on "Good Morning America" on Wednesday and give an interview to MTV on Thursday.
Other celebrities eschew Hollywood's glare completely during times of crisis. Sylvester Stallone skipped some promotions for his latest film, "The Expendables 2," after his son's unexpected death last month. Stallone attended the film's Paris premiere last week. Demi Moore also avoided interviews about her directorial contributions to "Five" when rumors simmered about then-husband Ashton Kutcher's infidelity.
John Travolta hasn't given any probing interviews since his image was rocked by accusations of sexual impropriety with massage therapists, but the actor very publicly kissed wife Kelly Preston at the premiere of his latest film, "Savages," last month and has appeared at other Hollywood functions.
Bragman said, "The real secret is being prepared."
"Every actor has the right to talk about what he wants to talk about and not talk about something he doesn't want to talk about. ... You have to handle (such questions) with dignity and class and respect for the journalist doing their job," he said, adding, "Don't expect Robert on `The Daily Show' or `Good Morning America' to bare his soul."
AP Writer Nicole Evatt contributed to this report from New York.