Being famous has its advantages — you typically have no difficulty making money, plenty of people will tend to your every beck and call, and it’s probably super easy to get a dinner reservation wherever you want. But it also comes a very big downside: a lack of privacy. If you’re famous enough, paparazzi follow you virtually wherever you go, and even B-list stars get the attention of the press. At times, that’s surely fun, but it can also be dangerous — many, many celebrities have fans who go too far and stalk the famous people they claim to admire. In extreme cases, these stalkers can be violent — so celebrities need to be very careful when a fan gets obsessed.
Or — and this is not advised — they can ask the stalker out on a date. Just like Robert Pattinson did.
Pattinson is probably best known for playing Edward Cullen, the male lead of the Twilight films. He’s also starred as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Batman, and a lot of other movies that I haven’t seen, but you probably have. (Admittedly, I haven’t seen any of the Twilight movies either.) He’s very famous and widely considered to be very attractive — People Magazine named him one of its “Sexiest Men Alive” in 2008 and 2008, Vanity Fair called him “the most handsome man in the world” in 2009, GQ and Glamour both honored him the “Best Dressed Man” of 2010, and GQ did the same in 2012 as well. Glamour UK called him the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2012. Even math (well, pseudo-math) suggests he’s unusually pretty — in 2020, CNN reported that some cosmetic surgeon used a mathematical model to measure such things, and it concluded that Pattinson’s face was the closest to perfection.
And at least one fan really, really agreed. In 2008, Pattinson starred as Salvador Dalí in the 2008 movie Little Ashes. If you’ve never heard of the film, that’s because it’s not very good — it has a 2.9 rating on Lettterboxd and a brutally low score on Rotten Tomatoes. If you haven’t seen it, don’t worry about it – almost no one has. But Pattinson still made the movie, and doing so required him to live in Spain for a few months. He rented an apartment just like all of us normal people do, but of course, his experience wasn’t the typical one — he had a stalker. Every day for three weeks, the same young woman would stand outside his apartment, hoping to get a glimpse (or more?) of the actor in her neighborhood.
Most actors would call the studio or the police for help, but Pattinson decided to handle the matter himself — and to give the fan what she hoped would be the experience of a lifetime. As he told the press, “There was one day when I was just so chronically bored I said to her, ‘Do you want to just go to dinner or something?? No one else wants to hang out with me.'” And of course, she said yes.
But unfortunately for the named fan, Pattinson wasn’t lying when he said he was chronically bored — and he drove the point home during their date. According to the Today Show, Pattinson said “I just complained about everything in my life and she never came back. People get bored of me in, like, two minutes” By bursting the fictional persona she had created, he ended her obsession (and also, probably her fandom).
But it wasn’t all for naught for her — she got a free meal out of it, and her family got a customer. The restaurant that Pattinson’s stalker took him to was owned by her family, and Pattinson picked up the bill.
From the Archives: Harry Potter and the Uniform of Temporal Distortion: How Daniel Radcliffe (who played Harry) avoided the paparazzi.