After their smoldering chemistry in the Twilight films, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson confounded their fans and bewildered prying reporters by keeping their real-life relationship cloaked in secrecy for as long as possible.
So it was Stewart's gut-wrenching apology to Pattinson, punctuated by her double "I love him, I love him," that shocked in its bare expression of emotion nearly as much as her admission of a fling with Rupert Sanders, the married director of Snow White and the Huntsman.
So how did Stewart, 22, get from private love to public pain? And were there any signs along the way? Here's a timeline of the key events leading up to the cheating scandal:
November 2009 – Cuddly but Coy
Forget the old excuse they were only together for the movie – promotion of the Twilight sequel New Moon was already done, and still Stewart and Pattinson were spotted in New York joined at the hip, then the lips.
While their castmates partied at the premiere, the pair sneaked off to hotspots like the Soho House and then Avenue before they were seen making out like high schoolers (despite the best efforts of their bodyguards to block curious eyes.)
Less than two months later, they quietly welcomed 2010 together at the seaside resort of the Isle of Wight, 80 miles south of Pattinson's family home in west London.
May 2010 – A Big Fat No Comment
April 2011 – A Captured Kiss
May 2012 – Award-Caliber Romance
June/July 2012 – No Outward Signs of Trouble
Scandal never seemed farther away. Attending a wedding for a New Jersey couple in late June, Stewart and Pattinson "stuck to each other's side all night," an attendee tells PEOPLE, as they partied with Zac Efron, Andrew Garfield and Will Koppleman.
A couple of weeks later, they turned up at Comic-Con on July 12 to promote Breaking Dawn: Part 2, where Pattinson got silly talking about 50 Shades of Grey, saying, "I would just sit there and lick the pages." When Stewart was asked if she'd read the erotic novel in a book club with Pattinson and costar Taylor Lautner, she said simply, "That would be disgusting."
The following Thursday, July 19, they held hands as they walked to their car after a date night at Hollywood music venue Hotel Café, then on Sunday, July 22, both collected their surfboard prizes at the Teen Choice Awards.
July 2012 – A Revealing Interview
July 24 – A Shocking Revelation
July 25 – Admissions and Apologies
The next morning, Stewart issues a statement to PEOPLE apologizing for the "hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected." She said her "momentary indiscretion" had "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."
At about the same time, Sanders releases his own statement to PEOPLE, apologizing to his wife and children. "I am utterly distraught about the pain I have caused my family," he said. "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."
July 26 – Pattinson Packs His Bags