If you’re over 18, then the name Robert Pattinson may not mean much to you. But mention it to your teenage daughter and you’ll be deafened by her squeals of excitement.
British hunk Robert, 23, is the handsome young star of Twilight, the teen fantasy saga giving Harry Potter a run for its money.
Based on the hugely popular fantasy novels by Stephanie Meyer, the first Twilight movie last year enjoyed one of the biggest opening weekends in box office history.
Robert stars as Edward Cullen, a 108-year-old “vegetarian” vampire who falls in love with beautiful teenager Bella Swan, played by 19-year-old Kristen Stewart.
And this weekend, despite being at pains to deny a romantic relationship in the past, Robert and Kristen were caught snuggling up together at a Kings of Leon concert in Vancouver where they’re filming the hotly-awaited movie sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
But was it really a case of afterlife imitating art? Apparently not. In an exclusive interview with the vampire just days before the pictures were taken, heart-throb Robert insists he’s still single and adds: “I don’t have a girlfriend. I don’t know why.
“You always think you’re going to get more girls after you’ve made a movie and it never happens.
“You sit there and you’re like ‘I’m a big movie star and I want to go out with some models’ but I don’t know why that doesn’t happen.
“It’s especially different in LA. Most of the women there are actresses and by default that makes them a little bit nuts – not that that’s a bad thing. But I don’t really have a type.
“Whenever I get asked who my favourite celebrity crush is, I have no idea.” This is good news indeed for the Twi-hards – the name given to the legion of besotted female fans who follow Robert’s every move.
When the first film was released in America last autumn, it caused riots, described as Beatlemania with fangs, wherever he went. Police had to be called in LA and San Francisco to calm the mayhem. And at the British premiere in December 2008, hundreds of screaming teenage girls turned out at 4am to get a place at the front of the red-carpet crowd.
The hysteria shows no sign of abating. Earlier this summer, Robert needed a police escort in New York when he was mobbed leaving his trailer to shoot a scene for the new film. His effect on women is just one reason the young actor can command £10million per movie and Screen International magazine have labelled him as the British star of tomorrow. Robert, who has also been dubbed the next Jude Law, admits he’s a little nervous of all the attention, from fans of all ages.
He says: “Most of the girls are all pretty young so it’s just kind of funny. But then you get the Twilight Mums who love you like mums! And you can take that too far. I mean, it could be ‘Edward breaks up Twilight family.’”
He’s happy to sign autographs but sometimes has to put his foot down, especially when fans ask him to bite their necks. He laughs: “I have to tell them: ‘Look, I can’t I’m afraid, because it will hurt.’
“I’ve been uncomfortable in crowds my whole life. I’ve always felt that everyone is looking at me.
“I could be in a supermarket and have a full-on panic attack when there’s no one else there.
“And this was even like five years ago, when nobody knew who I was.”
With his smouldering eyes and chiselled looks, it’s not hard to see why the former child model has become Hollywood’s latest heart-throb. He was brought up in Barnes, South-West London, by “arty” parents Claire, a model agency booker, and Richard, a second-hand car dealer.
Robert attended the local Tower House school in East Sheen before moving to Harrodian school as a teenager. It was there that he began to show real promise as an actor. He became a member of Barnes Theatre Club, thanks to some persuasion from his parents.
He says: “I thought drama was stupid but I think my dad had some kind of weird foresight.
“He’d seen this bunch of pretty girls and talked to them and they said they went to this drama club.
“That’s when he said to me: ‘You should go’ and I said: ‘I can meet those girls anyway,’ but he insisted. He was going to pay for me to go and he thought it would be good for me. I think both my parents had a calling towards entertainment but they both ended up doing something else.”
Their persistence has paid off. At just 18, Robert won the role of Cedric Diggory, dashing head boy of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, killed in a battle with He Who Shall Not Be Named. “I was going to do the conventional thing and go to university to study International Relations,” says Robert.
“I wanted to be a politician but Harry Potter made that decision for me.” Despite plaudits from Harry Potter director Mike Newell that Robert was “born to play the role” of Cedric, not everyone was a fan.
When he landed the part of vampire Edward, irate fans of the Twilight books set up an online petition which collected 75,000 signatures. They complained that, among other things, he was not American and – astonishingly – that he was too ugly.
Robert shrugs: “I always looked like a girl up until a few years ago and because I never did any sports or anything I was always kind of gangly. I was never really a good model.
“I was terrible at it. I wasn’t skinny enough to be a little waif and I didn’t want to work out to be a beefy guy so I was always stuck between two things and so I never got any jobs.”
A talented musician, Robert plays the guitar and the piano. He even wrote two songs which appear on the Twilight soundtrack.
“I always say that if acting is my first love, music would’ve been my Plan B for becoming famous,” he says. “That may sound a bit pretentious, but it’s true. Music occupies a very important place in my life. I couldn’t live without music.”
Thankfully, for fans, his music, modelling or political careers didn’t take off. But has the fame and the money changed him at all?
“My life is pretty much identical to before,” he says. “I don’t really do that much. All I do is read books and watch movies, I’m pretty boring.”
There are millions of teenage girls who disagree.
ETA: Gossip Cop reports that the interview is fake - check link here