Kristen Stewart Rupert Sanders Robert Pattinson media drama. (Image: Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders.) Chaos reigned all over the Internet on Tuesday, July 24, '12. What's going on? Has the never-ending global economic crisis gotten even more dire? Has another mass murder taken place inside a packed movie theater? Is a meteor headed on a collision course with Earth?
If only some celestial body were to take humankind out of its misery. Actually, the chaos was the direct result of a gossip rag's claim that Twilight star Kristen Stewart has been cheating on widely reported boyfriend Robert Pattinson.
Who's the lucky guy, you ask? The answer is Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, who happens to be married to model and actress Liberty Ross – who also has a role in her husband's film, as the mother of Stewart's Snow White.
Kristen Stewart Rupert Sanders 'signs of cheating'
Us Magazine, a publication for those who like to gobble up their shit flavored with colorful celebrity imagery, broke the “story.” (No longer available online.) People magazine followed suit while E! Online posted the following headline: “Watch Kristen Stewart & Rupert Sanders on the Red Carpet: Were There Signs of Cheating?”
It's unclear what these “signs of cheating” would be. Holding hands? Off-key whistling? Ass-grabbing? But one thing is clear: if you give 'em putrid matter, they'll eat it up and beg for seconds.
First of all, Kristen Stewart's, Robert Pattinson's, Rupert Sanders', and Liberty Ross' private lives are their own. If someone were to write a Kristen Stewart biography, of course the actress' off-screen behavior would have to be incorporated into the story. However, that would have to be done from a “historical” perspective – i.e., in an analytical, contextual, non-sensationalistic manner. Whether or not you approve of it, thanks to the Twilight movies Kristen Stewart has become a part of both cinema and 21st-century cultural history.
But Us, People, E! Online, and their myriad imitators aren't after “history” of any kind. They and their readers want facile, vulgar titillation that'll hopefully lead to the rich and famous suffering public humiliations so that fecal-matter aficionados can feel better about their own lives. (I remember the snide stories I heard about the murder of actor Ramon Novarro, whose biography I wrote a few years ago.)
Confidential magazine: gossip rag precursor
Anyhow, the Kristen Stewart-Rupert Sanders “scandal” reminds me of the precursor of all the current gossip print and online publications: Confidential magazine. Back in the more circumspect '50s, the nasty gossip rag alleged that Liberace was gay (“Why Liberace's Theme Song Should Be 'Mad About the Boy'”), insinuated that former Paramount star Lizabeth Scott was a lesbian, and claimed that Miracle on 34th Street star Maureen O'Hara had been caught having sex inside a Hollywood movie theater.
Liberace, Scott, O'Hara, and Oscar-nominated actress Dorothy Dandridge (“What Dorothy Did in the Woods”), among others, sued. Confidential had to pay damages and following a much-publicized libel trial was forced to change its tone. Its readership plummeted and the magazine eventually folded.
In case the Kristen Stewart-Rupert Sanders “cheating” story turns out to be false, hopefully they'll sue. And even if it's true … Well, it's the business of those involved in the story and nobody else's.