|Publisher:||John Blake Publishing, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)|
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By Sarah Oliver
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2015 Sarah Oliver
All rights reserved.
1986 – A STAR IS BORN
When Rob Pattinson opens his eyes first thing in the morning and wipes the sleep from them, it can take him a while to figure out where he is. He might be sprawled across his bed in his Los Angeles mansion, or in a luxury hotel suite virtually anywhere in the world.
He has come so far since Twilight catapulted him to stardom on 17 November 2008, the night of the Los Angeles premiere. His life took a turn that no one could have expected, not least his parents, Richard and Clare ...
Rob's parents will always remember the day he entered their lives, 13 May 1986. He was born in a private clinic close to Barnes, London, and they gave him the name Robert Thomas Pattinson. They already had two daughters, Lizzy and Victoria, but he was their first son. He was the missing piece of the Pattinson jigsaw puzzle and his arrival completed their little family.
Back then, they might have thought that the little boy in their arms would grow up to live not far from them, maybe get a job in London, pop home at weekends for a roast dinner or to simply catch up on things.
They wouldn't have thought in a million years that he would end up being a world-famous actor living in Los Angeles, thousands of miles from them. If they want to see him, outside of FaceTime or Skype, then they have to pop on a plane and make the trip to his LA home or to his latest filming location.
The Pattinsons have always been a close-knit group of people. Even if they can't see each other on a day-to-day basis, as a family they always try to be together for special occasions. For instance, when Rob turned twenty-three while he was filming New Moon in Vancouver, Canada, his family made the trip over to see him and enjoyed a special celebratory meal out with him and his cast mates. His family mean the world to him and he always tries to make spending Christmas with them a priority.
Richard and Clare raised Rob and his sisters in a semi-detached five-bedroomed Victorian house in Barnes, south-west London. Barnes is an affluent Thames-side village, with a cricket green, rugby club, bookshop, delis, boutiques and restaurants. It is also the location of one of the most famous music studios in London – The Olympic Sound Studios. Famous bands like the Rolling Stones, Oasis and The Arctic Monkeys have all recorded tracks there.
Rob's parents might have been wealthy but they didn't want Rob and his sisters to grow up spoilt. Even now, they expect him to be humble and find it strange when they visit him on the sets of his movies and his assistants ask him if he would like something to eat or drink. They think he should get things for himself, rather than relying on others.
Richard and Clare are retired now but when Rob was growing up they both worked. His dad was a taxi driver and sold vintage cars and his mum was a booker at a modelling agency. She encouraged Rob to become a model when he was in his young teens but once he reached puberty, the work dried up. Rob jokes now that he stopped being in demand when he 'stopped looking like a girl.'
He told Look magazine: 'I never did any sport, so I was always the kind of gangly guy.'
Lizzy and Victoria loved having a young brother to play with and when he was really young, they would dress him up and call him 'Claudia'. They were overprotective of him when he was growing up and are still quite wary of new people who join his friendship group.
All the Pattinson children have taken creative career paths – Lizzy is a singer-songwriter and Victoria works in advertising/marketing. Victoria helps brands develop creative ideas and works on their social media and PR strategies. They are both based in London.
Lizzy is becoming more famous in her own right after appearing on the British version of The X Factor in 2014. She reached the Judges Houses' round and was almost picked by Simon Cowell to appear on the live shows. Although narrowly missing out was a big blow she vowed to continue singing and could very well apply for The X Factor again in the future.
Lizzy has always been a keen dancer and has a Grade 8 in ballet. When she was at college she did gigs in pubs and clubs in London. After she finished her A-levels she was approached and asked if she would like to join the electronic dance music group Aurora. Lizzy jumped at the chance and was thrilled when their two singles, 'Dreaming' and 'The Day It Rained Forever', made the Top Twenty charts in the UK. They toured all around the UK, Europe and North America and even managed to land No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Charts after collaborating with Milk & Sugar on their track 'Let The Sunshine In'. It was a wonderful opportunity and made Lizzy feel like becoming a singer professionally was a real possibility.
Lizzy and Victoria look very similar and it can be hard to distinguish between the two. When Rob first became famous the paparazzi would sometimes photograph them leaving places with him and the next day their faces would be plastered all over Internet sites, with bloggers claiming to have found Rob's secret girlfriend.
Rob and his sisters are very well spoken and this is not by accident. Rob confessed to The Inquirer: 'My parents were just very aware of how you're treated differently in the world if you speak articulately, so it was just the way I was brought up.'
Rob is a huge dog lover and he has always been fascinated by them. He admitted to Gala.de that if he had to choose one animal to be, he would pick a dog. He said: 'You sleep, sit around, get stroked, eat and get walked from time to time. That's great. There is a deep connection between me and dogs.'
While growing up, his West Highland Terrier Patty was the member of his family he was closest to. When myfoxphilly.com asked him about his love life in 2008, Rob joked: 'My dog is the only lady friend in my life. I have a really girly dog, but she hasn't got a girly attitude. My dog is a little bit like Beyoncé – it has a Beyoncé walk, which is strange for a little terrier.'
He was absolutely devastated in 2009 when Patty passed away and admitted to Parade a year later: 'I keep talking about my dog all the time. It was an incredible dog, and I said in an interview recently she was the most important person in my life.
'My family went crazy with me for saying that. But, however ridiculous it may seem to some people, my relationship with my dog was a defining moment. Having the dog die was, literally, like the worst day of my life. It was like losing a family member.'
Rob spent a lot of time with Patty when he was growing up because he didn't have lots of friends. He was pretty introverted and liked spending time on his own. He had a really happy childhood in Barnes, but admitted to Empire: 'I didn't have very many toys – I just used to play with a pack of cards all the time. I'd pretend the cards were other things. I liked any toy that didn't involve playing with other children.'
His parents wanted him to have the best start in life so enrolling him in good schools was a priority. Rob's first school was Tower House Preparatory and to send a child there today would cost around £11,000 a year. It's an independent boys-only establishment for pupils aged four to thirteen in East Sheen, south-west London. The Good Schools Guide 2014 praises its old-fashioned qualities: 'Little boys, tongues out in concentration, painstakingly perfecting their Ps and Qs, is a heart-warming sight.'
Rob revealed in an interview with The Sunday Times: 'I wasn't with the cool gang, or the uncool ones. I was transitional, in between. I was never a leader, and the idea of my ever being made head boy would have been a complete joke. I wasn't involved in much at school and I was never picked for any of the teams. I wasn't at all focused at school and I didn't achieve much.'
In fact Rob and his sisters were encouraged by their parents to get small jobs as soon as they were old enough so they could understand the meaning of money. Richard and Clare didn't want them to grow up spoilt. Rob became a bit of a dog walker for a friend of his mother's and his sister Lizzy got herself a Saturday job at the local library. After he turned ten, Rob become a paper boy and started delivering newspapers around Barnes. He was paid around £10 a week, which was a lot of money for boy of his age.
When Rob was twelve he left the Tower House Preparatory. He hasn't ever revealed in interviews exactly why he left, perhaps his grades weren't good enough.
Richard and Clare decided to move Rob to the Harrodian School, which was less pressured. It was only founded in 1993, but children still had to have an interview and pass entrance exams to gain a place there.
Rob found having girls in his classes a novelty to begin with as his last school had been all boys. As time went by he found being with girls on a daily basis had a big impact on his daily life and he had his first kiss when he was twelve. He told Newsround: 'I became cool and discovered hair gel.'
When he was fourteen, Rob and two of his friends decided to form a rap group. He confessed to The New York Times: '[It was] pretty hardcore for three private-school kids from suburban London.' They used to have practice sessions at Rob's house but they didn't get much privacy. 'And my mum's like, cramping our style, popping her head in to ask, "You boys want a sandwich?"'
It wasn't just rap that Rob was interested in, he was passionate about all different types of music. He figured that he'd end up an old man in a bar, playing the piano and supping whisky every night as he played his favourite pieces. He felt so alive when he was playing the piano and couldn't see himself ever tiring of it.
Rob was very untidy, both at home and at school. So much so his mum used to despair. In one school newsletter he was described as the 'runaway winner of last term's Form Three untidy desk award'. He much preferred playing computer games or watching Doctor Who, Sharky & George or Hammertime on his TV than tidying his room.CHAPTER 2
TRYING TO FIND HIS JULIET
Rob was quite a shy teenager and he found it difficult to approach girls he was attracted to. He used to try to make them laugh by using chat-up lines, his favourite being, 'Will you marry me? I don't want to mess around!' He would also sit next to girls he fancied and tell them, 'I just got out of prison' just to see the look of terror in their eyes. His awkwardness made him appreciate when a girl approached him instead, as it meant he didn't have to worry about being rejected.
And back then Rob liked girls who were a bit crazy and enjoying chasing young women who played hard to get, but this meant that he struggled to find any who wanted a lasting relationship with him. The girls that he did briefly date had to make do with cheap dates, as his modelling and paper-round money didn't stretch far. He just about managed to scrape enough cash to take one girl to Cornwall for the weekend, but that was only after he got the train tickets for free and in the event they had to stay somewhere cheap and nasty.
Cinema dates were a big no-no for Rob because he tended to overanalyse films and point out their flaws, which wasn't exactly what his dates wanted. He took one girl to the zoo but couldn't afford the entrance fee so they had to run around the outside fence instead. It started to rain, but Rob thought it was romantic.
Rob has never wanted to conform and when it came to deciding what he wanted to do when he left school he knew he didn't want a boring job. He dreamed about being a political speech-writer but changed his mind when he realised what it would involve. He told the Los Angeles Times: 'I just liked the whole idea of it. I wanted to be involved with politics, that's what my whole plan was. I was going to go to university and then I just thought, "Ah, I can't be bothered to do anything!" [laughs]. I don't want to do any more homework!'
Rather than think about his long-term future Rob just wanted a girlfriend. He found not being able to get female attention at school quite frustrating at times, admitting to Glamour Spanish magazine: 'The ones I liked hated me and the ones that liked me were not my type. But that's something that I still go through – I like girls that I shouldn't like. But I'm learning and now I take my time before I let the girl know.'
In some respects, if Rob hadn't struggled to get a girlfriend while he was at school he might never have taken up acting. His dad wouldn't have felt the need to suggest he join the local drama club if Rob had had a steady girlfriend. Rob explained to the Daily Mail: 'It's all a bit of a surprise, the acting and fame. I never did acting in school. My dad was in a restaurant and saw a bunch of pretty girls and decided to go up and ask where they had been. They said they went to this drama club, so he said we'd better go down too! It's the only time he's done something like that. We went down there and I began to work backstage. Then one day I was the only one left to play a leading role. That was the first acting I'd done and yet somehow I got an agent.'
The drama club in question was The Barnes Theatre Club. It was a professionally run studio theatre that had been providing the people of Barnes and West Molesey with great plays to go and watch for over thirty years. It was the perfect place for fifteen-year-old Rob to start his acting career and he would go on to make some great friends during his time with the company. He explained to Scholastic Corporation how he made the jump from backstage to a performing role: 'Rusty and Ann, who are the directors, were actors themselves and were very talented. They were a very good group, and for some reason when I finished the backstage thing, I just decided that I should try to act. So I auditioned for Guys and Dolls and got a little tiny part as some Cuban dancer or something, and then in the next play I got the lead part, and then I got my agent. So I owe everything to that little club.'
Once Rob got an agent, the hard work really started. He had to audition for parts and work on becoming a better actor – as well as attending school. His agent started searching for television roles that would suit Rob but in the meantime he auditioned and won a part in a professional production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. It was to be performed at The Old Sorting Office Community Arts Centre in Barnes, only a matter of minutes from his home, so location-wise it couldn't have been closer. He was playing the part of King Malcolm, who succeeds Macbeth to be the King of Scotland. This was to be his first experience of performing to a large audience.
It must have been strange for Rob receiving standing ovations every night and then having to get up early the next day to go to school. Rob's favourite subject at the Harrodian School was English because his teacher really got him interested in writing and didn't mind marking his long, rambling answers that went on for pages and pages. With the school's encouragement, he developed a love of reading and this has continued throughout his adult life. He reads books that would be too heavy for the majority of people and enjoys watching non-mainstream films.
Rob loves reading a mixture of novels, poetry anthologies and memoirs. Here are some of his favourites:
Money by Martin Amis
Ticket to Ride by Dennis Potter
The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen
The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers
My Friend the Mercenary: A Memoir by James Brabazon
The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge
The Art of Struggle by Michel Houellebecq
Life by Keith Richards
Nine Stories by J D Salinger
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
2666: A Novel by Roberto Bolaño
Complete Poems by Charles Baudelaire
Doomed Love (Penguin Great Loves) by Virgil
Collected Short Stories by E M Forster
Independent People by Halldór Laxness
Kill Your Friends by John Niven
While Rob was at school, other subjects aside from English failed to capture his imagination and he struggled to motivate himself in lessons. In Rob's school reports his teachers commented that he didn't try very hard, which was disappointing for his parents. They were paying over £15,000 a year to send him to the school because they wanted him to get a good education and they were worried that he'd walk away with bad grades.
Rob confessed to the Daily Mirror: 'I wasn't very academic. My dad said to me, "Okay, you might as well leave since you're not working very hard." When I told him I wanted to stay on for my A-levels, he said I'd have to pay my own fees, then he'd pay me back if I got good grades.'
Excerpted from Robert Pattinson by Sarah Oliver. Copyright © 2015 Sarah Oliver. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: 1986 – A STAR IS BORN,
CHAPTER 2: TRYING TO FIND HIS JULIET,
CHAPTER 3: STARTING OUT,
CHAPTER 4: HELLO, HARRY,
CHAPTER 5: LONDON CALLING,
CHAPTER 6: ONWARDS AND UPWARDS,
CHAPTER 7: TAKING A CHANCE,
CHAPTER 8: BECOMING EDWARD,
CHAPTER 9: WORLD-FAMOUS,
CHAPTER 10: STAYING TRUE TO HIMSELF,
CHAPTER 11: THE NEXT CHAPTER,
CHAPTER 12: CAN'T STOP,
CHAPTER 13: BACK TO EDWARD,
CHAPTER 14: WORKAHOLIC,
CHAPTER 15: HEARTBROKEN,
CHAPTER 16: PUSHING HIMSELF,
CHAPTER 17: A NEW START,
About the Author,