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Years after their onscreen chemistry in the Twilight franchise took a flying leap into the vampire-less pages of real life and down a deep, complicated spiral, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinsonhave finally shaken the ghosts of their relationship's past.
The one-time co-stars—whose three-year courtship came to a screeching halt in 2012 amid a Stewart-driven cheating scandal— found a unique comfort in attempting to navigate the often debilitating highs and lows that accompanied their sudden skyrocket to super-stardom together.
Prior to their Twilight casting, the young actors were relatively unknown and at the time of their split a source told E! News, Stewart was "the only person who [Pattinson] can talk to about [fame], and he feels like they are both on the same level and they understand one another."
Kristen was equally as enamored with Robert, telling Vanity Fair of their first encounter, "It couldn't have been better. It was sort of perfect."
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But after the glimmer of the wildly popular book-to-film franchise dimmed and the reality of maintaining a picture perfect relationship in the public eye began to set in, Robsten (as they were so affectionately dubbed) just couldn't keep up. The public's intense fascination with their romance preceded nearly every one of their professional endeavors, and even after their split remained a focal point in either star's public image.
Both Kristen and Robert have since executed a clean break from each other, along the way finding love in the arms of others without ever directly bad-mouthing their former beau. In July, Stewart confirmed she is dating visual-effects producer Alicia Cargile while Pattinson has moved on with fiancée FKA twigs.
Most recently, the Equals actress explained in T's Aug. 21st Women's Fashion issue that her relationship with Robert taught her a lesson in the downsides of dating celebrities.
"People wanted me and Rob to be together so badly that our relationship was made into a product. It wasn't real life anymore. And that was gross to me," Stewart admitted. "It's not that I want to hide who I am or hide anything I'm doing in my life. It's that I don't want to become a part of a story for entertainment value."
Robert, 30, had a slightly less emotional response (yet nonetheless valid) reaction to his ill-fated relationship in a 2014 interview with Esquire U.K., saying, "S--t happens, you know? It's just young people...it's normal! And honestly, who gives a s--t?"
If there's one thing these former lovebirds can agree on, it's the negative impact the serious relationship had on their individual privacy.
"The hardest part was talking about it afterwards," Pattinson added. "Because when you talk about other people, it affects them in ways you can't predict. It's like that scene in Doubt, where he's talking about how to take back gossip? They throw all those feathers from a pillow into the sky and you've got to go and collect all the feathers."
A year later, Robert felt the pain of public scrutiny once again when his singer girlfriend was bombarded by racist comments online. "It's not really even to do with the photographs," he told The Observer. "It might be nice to have a really good photographer do it, but it's bringing your family into the public domain and then having to have them deal with this horrible cacophony of demons who live on the Internet."
Stewart, who has long disdained the onslaught of media attention she's received over the years, has turned her once negative outlook on dating into an opportunity to help others regain confidence in their sexuality.
"When I was dating a guy I was hiding everything that I did because everything personal felt like it was immediately trivialized, so I didn't like it..." Stewart told Elle U.K. in July. "But then it changed when I started dating a girl. I was like, 'Actually, to hide this provides the implication that I'm not down with it or I'm ashamed of it, so I had to alter how I approached being in public. It opened my life up and I'm so much happier."
The 26-year-old echoed her sentiments to Variety in May, "As much as I want to protect myself, it's not about hiding. As soon as you start throwing up so many walls, you cannot see over them yourself, so you just start isolating in a way that's not honest. I definitely found where I'm comfortable. I don't take credit for that."
An insider tells us that Pattinson is at a similar point in her personal life: "There is a special connection between [Robert and FKA Twigs]. Music is a big part of the relationship, because it means so much to them. They clicked instantly and they literally have been inseparable."
In the end, Kristen's newfound lease on life is "because of the storms I have weathered. It's not that they make you stronger or calloused—but they do make you a human."
Turns out even the messiest of breakups have a silver lining.