Kristen Stewart has discussed the immense pressure she felt coming out as queer at a time where she was one of the world's most famous women.
The 30-year-old actress, who rocketed to fame in 2008 thanks to the wildly popular Twilight movies – which just hit streaming on Binge – sat down for an interview for InStyle where she candidly talked about the difficulties she faced being open about her sexuality in the public eye.
"The first time I ever dated a girl, I was immediately being asked if I was a lesbian," Stewart said.
"And it's like, 'God, I'm 21 years old.' I felt like maybe there were things that have hurt people I've been with. Not because I felt ashamed of being openly gay but because I didn't like giving myself to the public, in a way.
"It felt like such thievery. This was a period of time when I was sort of cagey."
The director of Stewart's upcoming film Happiest Season, Clea DuVall, conducted the interview with Stewart, who added she was drawn to the storyline about a woman bringing her girlfriend home for Christmas despite not having come out to her family yet.
Stewart cited her own experiences in straight relationships as a reason why she found it hard to share personal details about her sexuality.
The star shared an extremely high-profile relationship with her Twilight onscreen love interest, Robert Pattinson. The pair dated for four years from 2009 and did everything possible to keep it private.
Neither of them ever spoke about their relationship or even confirmed it until July 2012, when Stewart officially acknowledged their union just months before the release of the final film, Breaking Dawn Part 2, due to the fact she had been caught on camera having an affair with her married Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders.
"Even in my previous relationships, which were straight, we did everything we could to not be photographed doing things – things that would become not ours," Stewart added to InStyle.
"So I think the added pressure of representing a group of people, of representing queerness, wasn't something I understood then.
"Only now can I see it. Retrospectively, I can tell you I have experience with this story (Happiest Season). But back then I would have been like, 'No, I'm fine. My parents are fine with it. Everything's fine.'
"That's bullsh*t. It's been hard. It's been weird. It's that way for everyone."
Last year when promoting her movie Seberg, Stewart revealed to Harper's Bazaar she was advised by a movie boss not to hold her girlfriend's hand in public.
"I have fully been told, 'If you just like do yourself a favour, and don't go out holding your girlfriend's hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie'," the Seberg actress shared in the October issue of Harper's Bazaar UK.
"I don't want to work with people like that," she said.
Stewart is currently dating screenwriter Dylan Meyer.