Liberty Ross didn’t see it coming. But when she found out that her husband had cheated on her with a girl 11 years her junior, the only word that came to mind was: “Wow.”
And it wasn’t just any girl: it was Kristen Stewart, the perpetually grumpy 22-year-old made famous by the Twilight franchise. But Ross had never seen those movies. She admired Stewart’s acting in the 2007 film Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn—and had fervently endorsed Stewart for the title role in her director spouse Rupert Sanders’s first film, Snow White and the Huntsman. “She’s got something very transfixing about her,” Ross said of the young actress at the film’s May premiere.
Little did Ross know of Stewart’s affair with Sanders. When the news broke on Tuesday night, Ross sent out the one-word “Wow” tweet, followed by a retweet of a Marilyn Monroe quote: “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” (She deleted her Twitter account shortly thereafter.) According to HollywoodLife.com, Ross’s Instagram account appeared to post a photo this morning depicting Snow White drinking and crying, with the caption “Not so pretty or so pure after all…”
The English Ross and Sanders, 41, have two children together, Skyla, 7, and Tennyson, 5, known as “Sonny.” They live in the Hollywood Hills and have a weekend beach house in Malibu. (Her brother Atticus won an Academy Award for scoring The Social Network alongside Trent Reznor in 2010, and worked on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.) Ross has had a successful career as a model, first in London, where she was first photographed by Mario Testino at age 19, and quickly went on to grace the cover of British Vogue and appear in a Burberry campaign. Rupert Sanders was then a friend of her older brother, who had told him his sister was “out of bounds” until she turned 18. (They married when she was 24.) “I appreciate so many things about him,” she told Genlux magazine of Sanders last year. “Mostly his ability to inspire and encourage.”
Things didn’t seem so encouraging for Ross by the time Sanders and Stewart, who is in a long-term relationship with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, issued separate public apologies Wednesday for their indiscretion. “I am utterly distraught about the pain I have caused my family,” Sanders told People. “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.”
Even though they portrayed mother and daughter in Snow White, there’s an eerie similarity between Stewart and Ross offscreen, too. Like the young actress, Ross fills her wardrobe with dark, punkish clothes. She wears cutoff jean shorts with a black leather Balenciaga motorcycle jacket and beat-up Converse sneakers, which have become Stewart’s trademark. Ross often prefers to go bra-less under sheer dresses and shirts, has DJed an event at Dior’s London store, listens to Nine Inch Nails, and is close friends with the distinctively badass designer Jeremy Scott (famous for his assless chaps).
Though Stewart is 11 years younger, Ross doesn’t seem like she will fall victim to the Hollywood stereotype of agelessness. In 2009, she told The Daily Mail. that she would never get plastic surgery to look younger. “We’re moving into a scary time where looking perfect is becoming normal but where do you draw the line?” she said “I think Botox is nuts—it’s nice to have expression in your face.”
For now, she hasn’t spoken publicly about the scandal. It appears Sanders hopes his family will stay together in spite of his infidelity. But if an interview Ross gave to Genlux last year sheds clues on the situation, she’s a fan of moving on. “I love to make change,” she said. “Change is important in life. Life is what you make of it.”