Aug. 15, 2012 at 1:33 PM ET
One of the perks of being a “normal” person is when your life is in turmoil, you don’t have to appear on national television shows. But when you are say, Robert Pattinson, and your longtime girlfriend and "Twilight" co-star Kristen Stewart was photographed during a "momentary indiscretion" with her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director, this is not the case. Celebs will sooner or later find themselves on TV -- not necessarily to address their private troubles, but to promote their work.
It was only about three weeks ago that Stewart issued a public apology for "the hurt and embarrassment" her actions caused, and on Monday, Pattinson was front and center, hitting the publicity circuit to plug his latest film, "Cosmopolis." His first stop? Sharing "The Daily Show" stage with Jon Stewart and a very large elephant in the room.
"What have you been up to?" was the comedian's ice breaker before bringing out some ice cream and claiming to his guest, "We're just a couple of gals talking."
That move by Jon Stewart and the actor's reaction illustrates one way to avoid the one subject fans are dying to get the details about, but the star may be unwilling to share. Avoidance is practically a lost art nowadays, but as Pattinson has revealed during his post-scandal public appearances, there are three steps celebrities can follow during live interviews to try to refocus the chat.
First of all, have a prop! One that melts in real time helps too. Nothing makes viewers forget any burning questions about a celebrity's love life (or other juicy scandals that are making headlines) like wondering if the stars on TV are about to drip ice cream all over their clothes.
Jon Stewart pressed on though, asking Pattinson, "Are you all right?" To which Pattinson answered, "My biggest problem in my life is I'm cheap. And I didn't hire a publicist ..."
The actor's response leads to the second point: Just avoid the question entirely. Whether you have a publicist or not is irrelevant for 99 percent of the people paying attention to the interview. What we want to know, Rob, is if you're crying yourself to sleep at night.
Pattinson did his next interview on Wednesday on "Good Morning America," where the prop trick was recycled, but with a box of cereal, which is far less terrifying/distracting than a melting pint of ice cream. Host George Stephanopolis asked at the top of the interview, "Everybody wants to know how you are doing and what do you want your fans to know about your personal life?"
After some stammering about the calorie content of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (a failed attempt at tactic No. 2) and declaring everything to come out of his mouth "irrelevant" (a failed attempt at tactic No. 1), Pattinson said, "You get into it to do movies. I've never been in it to try to sell my personal life."
Which brings us to avoidance tactic No. 3: Remind the fans it's about the movies (or music, or whatever the celeb is out to promote). And truthfully, it should be. But realistically, and with the increased presence of celebrity Twitter accounts, the movies can become an afterthought. What happens when the director calls "Action!" should be front and center, but the personal lives of the people fans put on pedestals are just too interesting.
"Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2" director Bill Condon wants to drive the it's-about-the-movies point home.
"The fact is, these are actors playing parts, and maybe it’s not such a bad thing that people be reminded of that,” Condon told Entertainment Weekly about how the affair might impact the "Twilight" franchise. "Above all (Pattinson and Stewart) have always shown great respect for the fans who made these movies such a success. Now it’s time that some of that respect be returned to them."
And with that, best of luck to Pattinson and Stewart. At least they are not trashing dressing rooms or going on truth tours, like some of their fellow celebs in similar situations have done. With the classiest avoidance tactics possible and the lost art of keeping your personal life as personal as possible, maybe by the time the final "Twilight" film hits theaters in November, much of this will be forgotten.