K. Stew & R. PatDid you hear that? I'm talking about the collective gasp from young girls all across the Internet when it was revealed that actress Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame admitted to cheating on her boyfriend of three years, Robert Pattinson (who's also her co-star in the series). The man she cheated with is Rupert Sanders, the 41-year-old married-with-kids director of her latest film, Snow White and the Huntsman. The reaction was swift, with fans like this young woman taking to YouTube and asking why Stewart would do such a thing.
I find this whole thing very interesting and think there are a three "teachable moments" in it for our kids.
The first is about the culture of celebrity and whether we should be holding famous people to a higher standard. I think this is one of those times that we can take our kids aside and explain the difference between Hollywood and real life. We can remind them that Kristin Stewart is an actress who gets paid a lot of money to pretend to be someone she is not. Robert Pattinson is a cute guy, but he also pulls down a check with a lot of zeros to do the same thing. When they are on the red carpet or photographed out in public, they only look perfect -- none of us know what goes on behind the scenes.
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The second teachable moment is about relationships and what makes them work. In her apology, Stewart said in part, "I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected..."
This is the part that makes me want to take her by the hand and go on a long walk by the sea and explain that this is what she should have thought about before the indiscretion. I've been 23 years old before (though it was a long time ago); I remember what it was like to feel like your heart was going to beat out of your chest being around someone cute. I remember the thrill of first dates, stolen kisses and all that goes with it. But when you're in a relationship you need to steel yourself for this simple fact: relationships are be difficult and even the good ones take an inordinate amount of work.
And the last teachable moment is about trust. Stewart and Sanders now get to take on the Herculean task of rebuilding the trust they shattered with their partners in a thoroughly id-driven moment. It will not be easy. We can explain to our kids that our word is our bond and once that's broken, through little lies or big indiscretions, it's very hard to rebuild.
What did you think when you heard this story? Is there anything more to be gleaned from this -- and should we be learning anything from celebrities at all?