Can anyone explain why Kristen Stewart gave that statement? After years of not commenting on her relationship?
That's the two-part question I asked on Twitter yesterday, and for once, people actually responded. Everybody's got an opinion about why the notoriously private Kristen Stewart, who normally can't even bring herself to smile on the red carpet, felt the need to simultaneously confirm her long-assumed relationship with her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson and confess to a potentially homewrecking indiscretion with Rupert Sanders, a married director almost twice her age.
The move instantly turned what could have been yet another hard-to-verify, easy-to-doubt example of tabloid gutter-sniping into an international news story - and a major P.R. crisis for Stewart, Pattinson and the gigantic vampire franchise they inhabit. What gives?
I've read and retweeted a range of explanations, but here's the thing: I still don't get it. Here are some proposed explanations for Stewart's behavior, and my reasons for why they don't hold water.
This is the most generous explanation for what happened. Let's leave aside the obvious point that public statements are an inherently inefficient and insulting way to communicate with your significant other. There's been lots of speculation that Pattinson has frozen Stewart out, so the only way she can reach him now is through the media. But, as someone who's been on the receiving end of the silent treatment, I can tell you this: it takes a while to work. And Stewart made her "desperate" statement just hours after US Weekly's story was released. Now, if "Page Six" can be believed, Stewart and Pattinson have been fighting about this since Sunday night's Teen Choice awards, but still. Lest we forget, this is a woman who has steadfastly refused to talk about her relationship with Pattinson for five years. And then, in 72 hours, she turns to jelly? I don't think so.
This made me laugh, but I don't think it was offered in seriousness. That said, a number of people have suggested that this whole thing is a publicity stunt, designed to generate buzz for ... which project was it again? Yeah, so that's out. Plus, a family is involved here. I'm as cynical as the next guy, but I believe that even Hollywood publicity mavens would draw the line at blowing up a family for press mentions. Wouldn't they?
The suggestion here is that Kristen is sick of playing house with her studio-appointed boyfriend, and either felt the need to get some good old-fashioned lovin' or (see above) decided to drop a tabloid neutron bomb on the whole oppressive phony fiction. Adherents of this view frequently theorize that Rob or Kristen or both are actually gay, and that one or both of them function as "beards" for the other. Even if this is true (stranger things have happened in Hollywood), I still don't get the public apology. If you believe Stewart is gay, then you'd have to say the entire tryst with Sanders is a publicity stunt as well, which makes no sense at all. (Lest we forget: family involved!) If you believe she is straight but doesn't love Pattinson, and simply got caught scratching that itch with a (oops) married man, then the public apology makes no sense. Her fans were already busy "proving" that the photos had been doctored, so her best bet would have been to ignore the story until it went away.
This is from Jeffrey Wells, who writes the Hollywood Elsewhere blog. I assume he's heard something to this effect from folks on the inside, but I still don't see the logic. As this incredible visual timeline from Buzzfeed shows, Twilight fans were perfectly happy defending "Robsten" and demonizing US Weekly -- until Stewart's apology threw their lives into chaos and forced them to reevaluate everything they thought they knew. So if this was an edict from the studio, it was an incredibly misguided and inept one. I've met some of the folks at Lionsgate and they don't seem like the kinds of people who would (or, frankly, could) persuade a 22-year-old megastar to torpedo her own image in order to protect an investment on which they've already reaped more money than anyone has a right to see in 12 lifetimes anyway.
This one's from Katelyn Mullen, editor of HuffPost Celebrity. Katelyn's radar is second-to-none, so I will start by saying that there's an excellent chance she will be proven right and I will be eating my words in the weeks ahead. BUT! This is my post and I can say what I want, and what I think is that the apology doesn't really do anything to prevent future revelations or soften the impact of future developments. Let's say, for argument's sake, that Stewart was being threatened with the release of a sex tape. Well, that would still be out there, and people would still be willing to pay good money for it, with or without yesterday's confirmation. And if she is pregnant and planning to keep the baby, does she really want her child to know that she or he was the product of a "momentary indiscretion"?
Full disclosure: This is not a response to my dumb Tweet, but it's the soundest explanation I can find for what happened here. At first glance, it seems to be the same explanation as the first one, above, but there is a subtle difference that makes it persuasive. According to Eleanor Barkhorn of The Atlantic, Stewart apologized not because she was desperate to keep her boyfriend but because she felt like it:
Stewart's blase attitude toward her own image could explain why she apologized so quickly and with so much apparent emotion. She didn't try to see if she could trick the public into believing the affair didn't happen. She didn't wait for a damage-control expert's opinion on what sort of statement would sound best to her fans. She just wanted forgiveness, so she asked for it.
Why do you think Kristen Stewart apologized? Let us know in the comments.