With their characters entangled in such a deep, passionate love affair, it’s only natural that fans would project the same emotions onto Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, and no one understands that better than the actors themselves.

“I completely understand why they want us to be together and all of that,” says Stewart, referencing the endless tabloid stories about their supposed real-life romance. “I just have to not think about it.”

For Pattinson, it’s much easier to keep from blurring the lines between work and real life. “You’ve always got to remember that you’re being paid,” he says.

As successful as the book series was, the intense amount of fame and public scrutiny that came after the release of Twilight ? and hasn’t let up since ? caught Stewart and Pattinson more than a little off-guard.

But even though he’s been in the tabloids on a weekly basis, Pattinson hasn’t really registered the change in his public profile.

“I’ve been on set since Jan. 14. I’ve only had, like, three days off,” he says. “I still don’t know how my life as really changed. I still feel pretty much exactly the same.”

But Pattinson admits some of the more outrageous coverage of him has made its way onto his radar.

“Some magazine had on the cover that I was pregnant,” he remembers with a laugh.

“But without a hint of irony or anything. I didn’t really know what to make of that. I don’t even know if that qualifies as libelous because they can say, ‘Well it’s obviously fiction.’”

For Stewart, ignoring such stories was never a problem.

“The whole tabloid stuff is so obviously false to me, even before I became a part of it,” she says.

“It’s like a ridiculous show, a soap opera. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t take it personally.”
Or course, along with the more outrageous stories come more outrageous reactions from their diehard fans ? some of whom don’t fit neatly into the expected age brackets, Pattinson has found. “There’s a woman who came up to me the other day, who must’ve been in her 90s,” he says.

“It’s very unusual. And the older fans say exactly the same things as 12-year-old girls.”

For Stewart and Pattinson, the biggest changes in dynamic for New Moon was the development of Jacob, played by Taylor Lautner, who grows into quite the eye-catching corner of the series’ central love triangle. And while Lautner underwent plenty of scrutiny himself as he proved he could bulk up for the role, his co-stars were never worried. “I always knew Taylor could do that,” Stewart insists. “Even seeing him walk around on set was a different experience. He’s become a different person. He’s just grown up.”

“I didn’t see Taylor until just a little bit before we started shooting,” Pattinson remembers of his co-star’s transformation. “So when he came back, I had the same reaction as everyone else, like, ‘Jesus. Now I have to go to the gym.’”

• Twilight opens Friday