Kristen Stewart Smiles on First Red Carpet Post Scandal

Actress Kristen Stewart attends the "On The Road" premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Kristen Stewart has some powerful friends in her corner: Her fans!

On what had to have been one of the most nerve-wracking nights of her career, the 22-year-old actress returned to the red carpet for the very first time since her shocking cheating scandal rocked headlines worldwide in late July.

Promoting her new film On the Road, a tightly smiling Stewart faced a sea of reporters and hundreds of popping flashbulbs -- but fans eased her return, holding up handwritten signs of support.

"Talent, Beauty, Strength and Courage -- We stand by Kristen always," read one sign. Said another: "We are always with you Kristen Stewart."

The star -- caught making out with Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders July 17 -- wore a long-sleeved black lace dress by Zuhair Murad featuring colorful hand-beaded floral embroidery; she wore her hair pulled back in a high pouf. Walking down the red carpet, Stewart posed for photos and obliged fans with autographs and even hugs. She and her On the Road costar Garrett Hedlund -- showing off a fun, easy rapport -- granted several joint interviews with reporters.

Stewart was in way-more-casual mode prepping for her flight to Toronto on Wednesday; she was spotted in Los Angeles wearing Robert Pattinson's "Irie" t-shirt.

A source recently told Us that despite Pattinson shock and hurt over his longtime girlfriend's betrayal, "Their mutual friends think they will get back together . . . This truly isn't the end of them."

Pattinson, 26, is expected to appear at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.