As you have perhaps heard, the new issue of Us Weekly drops quite the scoop: Kristen Stewart has been cheating on her boyfriend Robert Pattinson. Cheating with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, no less, who is a married man with two kids. This cool drink of gossip in the celebrity summer desert comes complete with damning photos and, in the ultimate admittance of guilt, Stewart has issued a public apology for cheating on her sparklevamp lover. Which is utter nonsense.
Says Stewart (via a rep, of course):
I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry.
It's not the first time a celebrity has apologized for their infidelities. Kobe Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel employee while on the road in 2003; he denied the charges, asserting that the sex was consensual — and so he issued a public apology to the general public and his wife, Vanessa, for the indiscretion (the charges were dropped and Vanessa got a $4 million, 8-carat diamond ring for the inconvenience). In 2009, David Letterman issued an on-air apology for cheating on his wife with an intern. Tiger Woods publicly begged for forgiveness in 2010 for cheating on his wife with a whole slew of women, and that same year Jesse James apologized for screwing over Sandra Bullock while screwing another woman. To name a few. (And let's not even get started on the adulterous-then-so-sorry politicians.)
All of these incidents have the same plot line: grown man cheats on his wife, feels bad, is really sorry. But something about Kristen Stewart's apology doesn't sit right. Stars apologize for bad behavior all the time and whether they're genuinely sorry or not doesn't even matter. Celebrities just need to keep their loyal fans loyal enough to keep opening their wallets. In that regard, the stakes here are high; this is the Twilight franchise we're talking about. But seriously, this isn't going to hurt business (the added element of real-life drama might actually help, not that Twilight needs any). As for the matter of Stewart being "the other woman," no amount of apologizing will likely win back the small handful of fans who blackball her because they believe her behavior is unforgivable, so a public repentance about that part — and it's fair to assume she's apologizing for that, too — is kind of pointless from a business perspective (and remember, this public apology routine is all about business).
So let's take adultery out of the public-display-of-contrition equation. This is the matter of a girl cheating on her boyfriend, and that kind of feels like a high school fuck up. Fodder for the gossip mill, sure, but not at the level of publicly begging for forgiveness. Even the overwrought apology (your boyfriend is "the most important thing in my life" — really?) sounds like a kid with a case of the swoons.
Kristen Stewart is 22, a very young adult. Find me one person who didn't screw up, in ways large or small, a relationship at that age. And Robert Pattinson is just her boyfriend, as in they aren't married. I am no Kristen Stewart fan — the polar opposite, in fact — but I almost feel bad for her that she has to go through that sort of awful "teachable moment" so publicly (even if what she did was exceptionally stupid, even if I believe playing the tabloid game is now part of a celebrity's job, even if I acknowledge being complicit in that game). Moreover, Stewart exists in a very permissive Hollywood bubble where celebrities can generally behave however they please, and she didn't violate the sanctity of some social/legal contract. Nor was she involved in any criminal acts (as far as we know, anyhow, but there could've been some hot Bonnie and Clyde role playing); adultery isn't illegal in California. And who the hell knows the state of her relationship? That press release is boilerplate. According to the tabloids — which are positively renowned for their accurate insight into the private lives of the rich and famous — Rob was cheating, they were ready to build a happy family, they totally broke up, they're planning the wedding of the year, and god only knows what else.
None of this makes Stewart's behavior even remotely excusable because it's not, not even if the relationship is on the rocks or he's the world's most popular vampire. Say it with me: Cheating is wrong! Kristen Stewart Did a Bad Thing. She acted like a crappy person. But she did it to her boyfriend, and she's young, and chances are she's learned her lesson. Assuming Pattinson and Stewart's relationship was in an otherwise happy place full of hearts doodled on notebooks, she certainly does owe him an apology. She doesn't, however, owe him — or any of us — a press release. Stupid girl did something stupid. The end.
But don't get me started on Sanders. That guy's a piece of shit.