"People started really caring about the details of my life when I was pretty young," Stewart reminded ET while promoting her new film, Personal Shopper. "And since then, the media and our interaction with celebrity has changed enormously, even in that short time period. So I kind of have navigated it naturally and adapted."
The actress was just 18 when the first Twilight movie premiered, and she still remembers the learning process she had to go through in handling the press and seeing herself in magazines.
"There was certain self-protection that I think was really natural in response to something that's just all about the money," she explained. "If you look through it, it's like, 'Cool! So people want to take pictures of me and then lie about whatever.' Whatever sells. It's like, I'm not going to help you sell me? Why would I do that?"
It became clear to Stewart that it was important to find a balance in terms of what she would make public versus what should remain private.
"To live naturally and by example is important while not giving everything away or contributing to that sort of industry of it all," she said.
Unlike some stars that insist on avoiding press clips about themselves, Stewart admitted that she does read some of the things that are written about her.
"It's pretty hard to avoid stuff like that," she said. "And I care what people say about me ... my movies. You'll have, like, a really good conversation with someone and then you're like, 'That's what you took away from that?' Like, cool."