British model/actress Liberty Ross, 35, is opening up for the very first time about one of the biggest celeb scandals of 2012 -- her husband director Rupert Sanders' affair with Kristen Stewart, who was dating her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson at the time. Both Sanders, 42, and Stewart, 23, issued public apologies last July shortly after Us Weekly published paparazzi photographs of the two kissing.
"I have no words to describe what we went through," Ross tells Vanity Fair in a new interview. " ... It was horrible. It was really the worst, really the worst."
Ross says that Sanders told her about the affair with Stewart 20 hours before the paparazzi photos appeared in Us Weekly, quickly going viral. A friend of her brother Atticus Ross -- an Academy Award–winning composer and frequent Trent Reznor collaborator -- offered her and her two children her home up the coast as a hideout from the paparazzi, where she quickly retreated.
"I was able to be there completely secluded," she reveals. "I just visualized [being] this sort of Masai warrior. I was just going to stand very still and very strong, and just let it all roll past me. I tried to keep as far away from it as I could and to understand that this is my family and it’s the most precious thing to me."
Ross filed for divorce from Sanders in January, citing "irreconcilable differences."
"I'm not a quitter," she stresses. "I've done everything I could to be the perfect wife and mother and really support my husband. But I just didn't have any more to give, you know?"
And she doesn't place all the blame on the Stewart affair for the demise of their marriage.
"I knew that I wasn't feeling 100 percent right. I found myself on a roller coaster, like, I'm going to keep things moving, keep things going. I'm going to keep up this amazing [façade], everyone looking at me and Rupert, thinking, Oh, wow, you guys have it all," she says, recalling their relationship after moving from London to Los Angeles to further his career. "Really, I had times when I felt very lonely, very disconnected from Rupert. We'd lost our real connection."
Ross also says she forgives Sanders.
"We were together for 16 years, and that in itself is really beautiful," she says. "And we've created two exceptional lives together."