Pattinson started his career as a model at the age of 12. In 2013, Dior Homme signed him as the face of their Fragrances. In 2016, he also became the first brand ambassador of their Menswear collection.
Pattinson composes and plays his own music. He sang songs for the Twilight film series and the 2008 independent comedy-drama film How to Be. He is a supporter of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT), Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT), and the GO Campaign, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds to help orphans and vulnerable children throughout the world. He became ambassador of the latter in 2015 to help raise international awareness of it. He is also a member of International Medical Corps and has promoted and shared details about cancer through PSAs to raise awareness about the disease.
Pattinson was born in London. His father, Richard, imported vintage cars from the United States, and his mother, Clare (née Charlton), worked for a modelling agency. Pattinson has two elder sisters, Victoria and singer Elizabeth "Lizzy" Pattinson. Growing up in Barnes, London, he attended Tower House School until he was 12, and then The Harrodian School. He became involved in amateur theatre at the Barnes Theatre Company. He auditioned and was cast in a small role in Guys and Dolls. He next auditioned for Thornton Wilder's Our Town, and was cast as George Gibbs. He also appeared in Anything Goes and Macbeth. He caught the attention of an acting agent in a production of Tess of the d'Urbervilles and began looking for professional roles.
Pattinson had supporting roles in the German made-for-television film Ring of the Nibelungs in 2004 and in director Mira Nair's costume drama Vanity Fair, although his scenes in the latter were deleted and only appear on the DVD version. In May 2005, he was scheduled to appear in the UK premiere of The Woman Before at the Royal Court Theatre, but was fired shortly before the opening night and was replaced by Tom Riley. Later that year he played Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. For this role he was named that year's "British Star of Tomorrow" by The Times and had more than once been hailed as "the next Jude Law".
In 2006, Pattinson appeared in The Haunted Airman a psychological thriller, aired on BBC Four on 31 October, and he earned favourable reviews. The Stage praised his performance by saying that "(he) played the airman of the title with a perfect combination of youthful terror and world weary cynicism." On 19 February 2007, he appeared in a supporting role in a one-off television drama based on the best-selling novel by Kate Long, The Bad Mother's Handbook.
In 2008, Pattinson landed the role of Edward Cullen in the film Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer's best-selling novel of the same name. According to TV Guide, Pattinson was initially apprehensive about auditioning for the role of Edward Cullen, fearful that he would not be able to live up to the "perfection" expected from the character. The film was released on 21 November 2008 and turned Pattinson into a movie star overnight. Although the film received mixed reviews, critics praised his and co-star Kristen Stewart's chemistry in the film. The New York Times called Pattinson a "capable and exotically beautiful" actor and Roger Ebert said he was "well-chosen" for the role.
His other release of 2008, How to Be, was a low-budget comedy drama film written and directed by Oliver Irving. It screened at number of film festivals, earned mixed reviews from critics. Pattinson then starred as Salvador Dalí in the film Little Ashes, a Spanish-British drama directed by Paul Morrison. He also starred in a short film The Summer House directed by Daisy Gili. This short film later re-released as a part of an anthology film titled Love & Distrust, comprising five short films following eight individuals from diverse backgrounds on their quest for true contentment.
He reprised his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight sequel The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which was released on 20 November 2009. The film earned a record-breaking $142,839,137 opening weekend and an overall run of $709,827,462 worldwide. Though the film received negative reviews, film critic Michael Phillips from the Chicago Tribune said that Pattinson was still "interesting to watch" despite the bad makeup. Bill GoodyKoontz from the Arizona Republic said that "Pattinson's actually not in the film that much, but he does his best when he's around" and Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post noted that his acting was "uniformly strong".
In 2009, Pattinson presented at the 81st Academy Awards. On 10 November 2009, Revolver Entertainment released the DVD Robsessed, a documentary which details Pattinson's life and popularity. His next film The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was released on 30 June 2010, earning $698,491,347 worldwide. The film received mixed reviews, Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised Pattinson's performance, stating that "(he) makes you forget the white makeup and weird eye contact lenses – to focus on a character torn between his love for the human Bella (Stewart) and the knowledge that she'll have to let go of her beating heart if she's to stay with him forever." Will Lawrence of Empire Online praised the performance of three leads of the film by saying that "All three corners of the love triangle look sharper than before: the most accomplished actor, Stewart, still lip-biting, Lautner still pec-flexing, and Pattinson not fully shaking that fiery-eyed pout. But all have grown into their roles, cutting loose in a film that (thankfully) sidesteps the melodrama of its prequels."
Pattinson executively produced and starred in the film Remember Me, which was released on 12 March 2010. Though the film received mixed reviews, some critics praised his performance. Jake Coyle of The Associated Press said that "The young actor has an unmistakable screen presence. However in Remember Me, he pours it on thickly and self-consciously. With low eyes, sleeves rolled up just so and cigarette drooping artfully from his mouth, Tyler (like Edward Cullen) is a reluctant romantic." Ian Nathan of Empire Online stated that "this is the best thing he's done." and Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised his and co-star Emilie de Ravin's chemistry in the film, stating the "scenes between Pattinson and de Ravin exude genuine charm."
In 2011, he starred as Jacob Jankowski in Water for Elephants, a film adaptation of the Sara Gruen novel of the same name. The film received mixed reviews, but Pattinson's performance was praised. Film critic Richard Corliss from Time praised Pattinson for being "shy and watchful" and said that he "radiates a slow magnetism that locks the viewer's eyes on him", ultimately calling him "star quality". Mick LaSalle from the San Francisco Chronicle stated that Pattinson succeeded at holding his own at the center of a major feature and was "endlessly watchable". Peter Travers of the Rolling Stone said he "smolders" in the film and Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said that "Pattinson is entirely convincing as Jacob".
Pattinson reappeared as Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, which was released on 18 November 2011 and earned $705,058,657 at the box office. The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 24% of critics (of the 188 counted reviews) gave the film a positive review, and the site's consensus reads, "Slow, joyless, and loaded with unintentionally humorous moments, Breaking Dawn Part 1 may satisfy the Twilight faithful, but it's strictly for fans of the franchise." He played Georges Duroy in a film adaptation of the 1885 novel Bel Ami, and the film had a world premiere at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. It was released on 12 February 2012.
Pattinson starred in the film adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis, directed by David Cronenberg. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Though the film was well received, Pattinson's performance was praised. Justin Chang of Variety wrote, "An eerily precise match of filmmaker and material, Cosmopolis probes the soullessness of the 1% with the cinematic equivalent of latex gloves. ... Pattinson's excellent performance reps an indispensable asset." Robbie Collin of The Telegraph stated that it is a sensational performance from Robert Pattinson, "yes, that Robert Pattinson – as Packer. Pattinson plays him like a human caldera; stony on the surface, with volcanic chambers of nervous energy and self-loathing churning deep below." And Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated, "Pattinson, pale and predatory even without his pasty-white vampire makeup, delivers his frigid pensées with rhythmic confidence."
Pattinson one last time appeared as Edward Cullen in the final instalment of Twilight saga, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 which was released on 16 November 2012, and has grossed over $829 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of the Twilight series. At Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a 48% rotten rating, based on 174 reviews with the consensus stating: "It is the most enjoyable chapter in The Twilight Saga, but that's not enough to make Breaking Dawn Part 2 worth watching for filmgoers who don't already count themselves among the franchise converts."
In late 2013, he appeared in a black and white short film with model Camille Rowe, as the new face of Dior Homme Fragrances.
In May 2014, two of Pattinson's films had their premieres at 2014 Cannes Film Festival. First, Pattinson starred in David Michod's futuristic western The Rover, alongside Guy Pearce and Scoot McNairy. The film had its premiere out of competition at the festival. For his performance of a naïve simpleton member of the criminal gang, Pattinson received rave reviews. Scott Foundas of Variety said that "Pattinson who turns out to be the film's greatest surprise, sporting a convincing Southern accent and bringing an understated dignity to a role that might easily have been milked for cheap sentimental effects." He further added that "(it is) a career re-defining performance for Pattinson that reveals untold depths of sensitivity and feeling." Todd McCarthy, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that "Pattinson delivers a performance that, despite the character’s own limitations, becomes more interesting as the film moves along." Jessica Kiang in her review for The Playlist, noted that "(Pattinson) turns in a performance that manages to be more affecting than affected."
Next, he reunited with Cronenberg in Maps to the Stars, a satirical drama described as a darkly comic look at Hollywood excess. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. In the film, he played the role of Jerome Fontana, a limo driver and struggling actor, who wants to be a successful screenwriter. Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph summed up his performance as "winningly played."
In 2015, two of his films were premiered at 65th Berlin International Film Festival in February. First he appeared in Werner Herzog's adaptation of Gertrude Bell's biopic film Queen of the Desert alongside Nicole Kidman and James Franco. Pattinson appeared as T. E. Lawrence aka Lawrence Of Arabia in the film, which Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent described as "comic and a very long way removed from Peter O'Toole. He plays Lawrence Of Arabia as a sharp-tongued, sardonic figure who can see through the pretensions of his bosses and colleagues." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter called his role "brief but significant" and concluded that "the easy camaraderie in his scenes with Kidman is appealing." Sam Adams of Indiewire said that, "Robert Pattinson gets relatively high marks for his brief turn as the bonafide T.E. Lawrence."
Next he starred in Anton Corbijn's Life as Life Magazine photographer Dennis Stock; the film deals with the friendship between actor James Dean and Stock. Critical reception for the film was mixed but Pattinson received appreciation for his portrayal of a photographer. Guy Lodge of Variety called his performance a "sly turn", Little White Lies said that "Pattinson's performance is as crisp as the white shirt and black suits his character always wears. This is a camouflage for his own problems that slowly unfurl, adding colour and improving the film." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter noted that Pattinson "gives arguably the most fully rounded performance."
In late 2015, Pattinson appeared in Brady Corbet's directorial debut film The Childhood of a Leader, alongside Bérénice Bejo and Stacy Martin. In the film, he played the dual roles, first a brief but crucial role of Charles Marker, a reporter in Germany during World War I and latter as an adult version of the leader. He received praise for his performance, which Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called "elegant" and Lee Marshall of Screen International described as "excellent".
In 2016, Pattinson appeared in Paramount Pictures and Plan B Entertainment's adaptation of The Lost City of Z, directed by James Gray. Premiered at New York Film Festival, the film stars Pattinson as British explorer Corporal Henry Costin. Pattinson grew a heavy beard and lost 35 pounds of weight for the film. Earning critical praise for his role, Matt Neg of NBP described him as "one of the better actors working today", Keith Uhlich in his review for Brooklyn Magazine called him "subtle scene-stealer", and Linda Marric writing for Heyuguys find his performance "an impressively subtle, yet brilliant."
Pattinson next appeared in Safdie Brothers neo-grindhouse thriller Good Time as a bank robber Connie Nikas, which he described as "really hardcore kind of Queens, New York, mentally damaged psychopath, bank robbery movie." The film premiered in competition at 2017 Cannes Film Festival and he received unanimous praise from critics for his performance, which Guy Lodge of Variety described it as his "career-peak", Eric Kohn of Indiewire called it "his Career-Best" and David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter drew comparisons with Al Pacino's Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon and ultimately noted it as "his most commanding performance to date."
In August 2017, during the promotions for Good Time, Pattinson wrote and starred in a short film for GQ, which described by the magazine as "Robert Pattinson Battles Fame and Fear to Get a New York Street Dog" and titled Fear & Shame. Shot on the streets of New York, the film narrates Pattinson's journey to buy a hot dog while avoiding media and fans in the hustle of the city. The A.V. Club called it "bizarre and delightful". While IndieWire said that "he's got bright" and "shimmering future".
As of August 2017, Pattinson has several projects in various stages of production. He has completed David Zellner's western-comedy Damsel, in which he re-united with his Maps to the Stars co-star Mia Wasikowska and has started filming for Claire Denis's science fiction film High Life in which he appears as an astronaut. In addition, he will star in Antonio Campos's drama film The Devil All The Time, and will also star in Joanna Hogg's two-part romantic mystery films titled The Souvenir.
Pattinson began modelling at the age of 12, but his workload began to decrease four years later. In December 2008, he blamed the lack of modelling work on his masculine appearance: "When I first started I was quite tall and looked like a girl, so I got lots of jobs, because it was during that period where the androgynous look was cool. Then, I guess, I became too much of a guy, so I never got any more jobs. I had the most unsuccessful modelling career." Pattinson appeared in the advertising campaign for Hackett's autumn 2007 collection.
In November 2010, Pattinson was approached by Burberry to be the face of the their brand with £1m deal, which he turned down.
In June 2013, Pattinson was announced as the new face of Dior Homme fragrance and featured in the advertising campaign titled 1000 LIVES, directed by Romain Gavras and photographed by Nan Goldin. This campaign has also featured the track Whole Lotta Love by English rock band Led Zeppelin. Goldin, later released a book titled Robert Pattinson: 1000 Lives, collection of Pattinson's images from the campaign.
In January 2016, he appeared in another campaign for Dior Homme shot by German photographer and director Peter Lindbergh. Next month, he was announced as the first ambassador of Dior Homme Menswear and appeared in brand's 2016 fall collection campaign shot by Karl Lagerfeld. In 2017, he continued his association with Dior and appear in both their fragrance and Menswear 2017 summer collection campaigns.
Pattinson plays the guitar and piano, and composes his own music. He appears as the singer of two songs on the Twilight soundtrack: "Never Think", which he co-wrote with Sam Bradley, and "Let Me Sign", which was written by Marcus Foster and Bobby Long. Pattinson also played the guitar on the Death Grips song "Birds", which was released in November 2013 on their album Government Plates.
The songs were included in the film after director Catherine Hardwicke added Pattinson's recordings into an early cut without his knowledge, and he agreed that "one of them specifically, it really made the scene better. It was like it was supposed to be there." The soundtrack for the film How to Be features three original songs performed by Pattinson and written by composer Joe Hastings. Pattinson has said, "I've never really recorded anything – I just played in pubs and stuff", and when asked about a professional music career, he said, "Music is my back-up plan if acting fails." In 2010, Pattinson was awarded the "Hollywood's Most Influential Top Unexpected Musicians" award.
In March 2017 interview Pattinson confirmed about contributing to the music of his upcoming film Damsel. Talking about it, he said that "I don’t play that much any more, though I am doing music for [‘Damsel’]. I used to differentiate between music and acting but the more I don’t play music, the more I push that area of my brain into acting. I improvise like I would when I play music."
Pattinson supports and promotes the ECPAT UK's campaign Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People to stop human trafficking. At 2009 Cannes Film Festival amfAR event, he raised $56,000 for the cause. In June 2010, he donated his own artwork to PACT which auctioned on eBay, to help the organization working for missing children. He also donated a sketch, drawn by himself, called Unfinished City which auctioned at $6,400. The money from the auction went to an Arizona-based homeless center Ozanam Manor.
In January 2010, he participated in charity telethon Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief. In March 2010, he signed off guitar, the money raised from the auction went to Midnight Mission. He raised $80,000 for the GO Campaign by donating a meet and greet with himself on the set of Breaking Dawn and later again by auctioning the private screening of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.
In August 2011, he helped to raise awareness towards the cancer by highlighting The Cancer Bites campaign in his acceptance speech at 2011 Teen Choice Awards, he shared the details about the campaign which is working for the people suffering from cancer. In August 2013, he visited Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and participated in arts and crafts with the patients.
In September 2013, he joined International Medical Corps and become one of their first responders, to help raise awareness before the disaster strikes by strengthen of communities. He participated in a charitable auction Go Go Gala, organized by GO Campaign and bought a cello made out of recycled material, at $5,600 on 15 November 2013.
In March 2014, he donated autographed items for auction to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. In May 2014, he donated his bike for an Auction to Benefit the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), who provide primary healthcare services to the people living in the outback. He participated in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, promoting the awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In November 2014, he participated in GO Campaign's annual charity function. In October 2015, he joined Global Goals Campaign, which aims to end poverty by 2030.
In 2015, Pattinson became the first ambassador of GO Campaign, he said that, "I’ve eagerly followed the growing impact GO Campaign has had over the years, on so many children and youth, and I love how tangible and transparent it is. They partner with some remarkable grassroots local heroes who are doing fantastic work but who lack the needed resources, and in places where a little bit of money can go a long way. I’ve been a donor and a supporter, and now I look forward to joining their efforts, so together we can give opportunity to even more kids and young adults across the globe."
Pattinson was named one of the "Sexiest Men Alive" in 2008 and 2009 by People Magazine. In 2009, he was named the "Sexiest Man Alive" by Glamour UK. AskMen named Pattinson as one of the top 49 most influential men of 2009. In 2009, Vanity Fair named Pattinson "the most handsome man in the world" along with Angelina Jolie as the most beautiful woman in the world. Pattinson was named one of Vanity Fair's "Top Hollywood Earners of 2009" with estimated earnings of $18 million in 2009.
In December 2009, Pattinson autographed a guitar to be auctioned off for charity. He also volunteered for the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief in January 2010. GQ and Glamour both named him the "Best Dressed Man" of 2010, with GQ stating, "Extremely elegant and inspiring, the true essence of a contemporary man." In 2010, People listed Pattinson in their "World's Most Beautiful" issue. In 2010, the actor declined a $2 million fashion campaign with Burberry.
Britain's The Sunday Times "Rich List" put him on its "list of young millionaires" in the UK, worth £13 million. Time magazine named him as one of 2010's 100 Most Influential People in The World. In June 2010, Pattinson was named by Forbes magazine the 50th most powerful celebrity in the world with earnings $17 million. On 14 November 2010, Pattinson received two BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards, Best Dressed and Best Actor.
In 2011, Pattinson was 15th on Vanity Fair's "Hollywood Top 40" with earnings of $27.5 million in 2010. GQ once again named Pattinson the "Best Dressed Man" of 2012. In October 2012, Pattinson was named "Sexiest Man Alive" by Glamour UK.
In 2013, Pattinson was 2nd on Glamour UKs "Richest UK Celebs Under 30" with earnings of £45 million. Britain's London Evening Standard named him one of the London's most influential people of 2013 in their The Power 1000. In February 2014, he appeared on the cover of World Film Locations: Toronto, a book about Toronto and the films shot in the city. A play about three mature women obsessed with Pattinson, titled Totally Devoted, debuted at Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh on 13 August 2014. In October 2014, Pattinson was 3rd on Heat magazine's "annual rich list of young British stars" with earnings of $82.89 million. London Evening Standard included him in their list of 2014's London's 1000 most influential people.
Pattinson interviewed actor Jamie Bell for Interview magazine, which was published on 20 July 2015.
In 2008, Pattinson became romantically linked to co-star Kristen Stewart. For a long time, the two did not explicitly confirm a relationship, but paparazzi photographs and eyewitness accounts drove intense media and fan speculation and attention. However, Stewart officially acknowledged her relationship with Pattinson for the first time in July, 2012, when Us Weekly published photos of Stewart showing affection with her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, with what the Huffington Post called an "affair." The day that the photos were released, Stewart issued a public apology to Pattinson at People Magazine, saying, "I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry." After dodging the question repeatedly, Pattinson confirmed in an interview with Esquire UK in July 2014 that he and Stewart had split in 2012. There had been prior speculation that the couple broke up in May 2013, when Pattinson was seen removing personal items from Stewart's home.
In September 2014, Pattinson started dating singer FKA Twigs. As of April 2015, they are engaged.
Pattinson has received Best Actor award at Strasbourg Film Festival for his performance in How to Be (2009). For his work in The Twilight Saga, he has earned two Empire Awards nomination and won eleven MTV Movie Awards, two People's Choice Awards with additional other awards and nominations including winning 2009's Hollywood Film Award for New Hollywood by Hollywood Film Festival.
In 2014, he earned nominations from Australian Academy Awards (AACTA) and Canadian Screen Awards for his performances in The Rover and Maps to the Stars respectively. He won Hollywood Rising Star Award for his performance in film Life from Deauville American Film Festival in 2015.
A wax statue of Pattinson was added to the Madame Tussauds collection in London and New York City in 2010. Pattinson along with his Twilight co-stars, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner put his signature, hand and foot prints in wet concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on 3 November 2011. On 19 February 2014, Timur Kryachko a Russian astronomer named the asteroid he discovered after Pattinson, as 246789 Pattinson.
He was honoured with a tribute at 2017 Deauville American Film Festival on 2 September 2017, with screening of selected films of his during the festival run.