Kristen Stewart Cheating Scandal: ‘This Could Be Her Angelina Moment,’ Says Pop Culture Expert

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When Kristen Stewart admitted to an affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, she foiled the on-and-off-screen fairytale romance with Twilight costar Robert Pattinson.

While her reeling relationship still hangs in the balance, Stewart’s dalliance with the much-older married man broke hearts all across Twi-hard nation — and they may never mend.

“I think that her fans are going to be upset [and] hurt by this, and will penalize her,” Jo Piazza, author of Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money, told Celebuzz. “At the very start of her career, Kristen and Rob became a franchise. Since America fell in love with Kristen for the first time, she’s been with Rob. And because of that packaged deal, her brand could get hurt by this.”

Could Stewart’s reputation be ruined?

Since landing the coveted role of Bella in Summit Entertainment’s blockbuster Twilight Saga franchise, Stewart has built a die-hard fan base worldwide, one primarily comprised of “younger women and a lot of moms,” according to Piazza. “Those are the kinds of people who will be offended by what she did, and they will take that out on someone at the box office.”

Within the world of Hollywood, however, infidelity is not a deal-breaker.

“People in the industry won’t care,” Piazza said. “The main effect it will have on [Stewart] in the industry is that it won’t be going to cast her as a good girl anymore. That door is closed to her for sure now.”

But when one door closes, another opens. Still early in her career, Stewart could spin this scandal to reinvent her image.

“This could be her Angelina moment,” Piazza said. “Angelina was always edgy, but after she stole Brad she was going to be the bad girl forever more. We already have started to see Kristen go toward darker role. This could be Kristen’s rebranding of herself as that edgier actress, as that bad girl.”

Down the line, that public persona could reap rewards.

“Being America’s sweetheart doesn’t last so long,” said Piazza, noting that romcom queen Jennifer Aniston “hasn’t made a good or lucrative movie in years.”

Why is that? “Because there’s more money in movies being the bad girl,” Piazza added.

Not that Stewart is struggling. The young actress topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid actresses in Hollywood this year, taking home $34.5 million between May 2011 and May 2012.

As for Pattinson, the actor may profit from being painted a victim throughout this headline-hitting controversy. “Pattinson is getting out of this looking awesome,” said Piazza. “He’s going to bounce back. He’s going to do great.”

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