The Soapbox: In Defense Of Kristen Stewart

The interweb blew up yesterday when the story broke about Kristen Stewart’s fling with married “Snow White and the Huntsman” director, Rupert Sanders. Us Weekly released exclusive photos of the couple’s “marathon makeout session,” claiming that the pair seemed like they “couldn’t get enough” of each other.

Yesterday, Stewart released an apology about the affair:

“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.”

I hate to be the one to point out the elephant in the room, but her relationship with Pattinson may not be a real one in the first place. It’s been speculated that it’s a showmance fabricated for the sole purpose of promoting the “Twilight” franchise. Some gossip sites are going so far as to say that this cheating scandal was planned to provide a plausible end to their link. I’m not sure I’m on board with that, but I’m not pretending to know the truth. While I think she did the most mature thing possible by owning up to the “fling” (or whatever it was) and taking responsibility for her actions (she is also reportedly sending an apology letter to Sanders’ wife), I don’t think she has all that much to be sorry for — aside from possibly jeopardizing her career.

I’m not going to go too in depth on my thoughts about cheating. I’ll state for the record that I do believe cheating is wrong, but there are a lot of grey areas. Aside from that, you never really know what is going on behind the closed doors of a marriage or a relationship, which may lead a person to stray. That being said, the person who really should have known better, who was in a position of power (both in age and professional status), the person who was married with a family in this situation,was Rupert Sanders. I don’t want to say he totally took advantage of her, because that would be taking away her subjectivity in this situation, but I will say Rupert Sanders kind of took advantage of the Kristen Stewart.

Let me remind you for a moment that Kristen Stewart is 22! I don’t know about you, but the romantic mistakes I was making when I was 22 were beyond embarrassing. I would have died if there were paparazzi following me around and snapping pics as I made them. At 22, when a 41-year-old man takes a shine to you, it can be extremely seductive. Not to mention that they spent long hours on set together, which can make you half insane. Also, Stewart has been in back-to-back serious relationships — first Michael Angarano, then with Robert Pattinson — for the last six years. That means she’s been in a committed relationship, more or less consistently, since she was 16 years old! Personally, I think homegirl would benefit from a dating time out, but that’s another essay. I can only imagine that she is wanting some freedom right about now. That she is looking to find herself. How could she not be? She’s never been alone since she was 16! It’s natural to want to experiment. All of these factors would have created the perfect situation for Sanders to act.

Following Stewart’s lead, Sanders also released a statement saying,

“I am utterly distraught about the pain I have caused my family. My beautiful wife and heavenly children are all I have in this world. I love them with all my heart. I am praying that we can get through this together.”

I’m glad that Sanders apologized — and his wife, Liberty Ross, can choose to accept it or not — but he never mentioned being sorry about the grief he might have caused Stewart and her career. She’s just beginning to break out of her ‘tween idol status, and I fear that, ultimately, she is going to take the fall for this. Sanders, as the older, more experienced and more powerful person in this situation, should have kept his relationship with Stewart strictly professional (even if she came onto him), understanding more thoroughly the possible consequences. While they are both to blame, let’s not ignore the wisdom that age brings, or should bring. Let’s give Stewart a pass and refrain from piling the majority of the blame on her. Let’s allow her to be a 22-year-old who made a bad decision and how that impacts her personal life is between her and Pattinson. Let’s allow her career to go on and not let this affair be the thing she’s famous for.

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