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.