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On May 4, the Mele family of Naperville, IL. -- diehard Twilight fans who dress up like the films' characters -- had a surprise home visit from Robert Pattinson. The hunk's once-in-a-lifetime drop-by was coordinated and taped for the May 13 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Mom Maria Mele explains exclusively to UsMagazine.com that she reached out to Oprah producers two weeks ago; she hoped to attend the Chicago-studio taping of an episode where Pattinson and Eclipse costars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner were slated to appear.
Claiming the studio audience was full, producers told Maria that her family might be featured in a Skype interview with Oprah Winfrey about their extreme Twilight fandom. Mele -- who once traveled with her daughter to NYC to "stalk" Pattinson during a promotional tour for his flick Remember Me -- quickly coordinated a photo shoot to send to producers.
"As crazy as we are, we all dressed up like the Cullens," she recounts of the saga's vampire clan. "My son looks exactly like [Pattinson's character] Edward, his girlfriend looks like [Stewart's heroine] Bella, my daughter looks like Rosalie [played by Nikki Reed]. So, we took some really great mock Twilight pictures outside in our front yard. They were posing in the tree, looking like vampires."
Instantly convinced, producers told Mele the Skype interview was a go. When a camera crew showed up the night of May 4 outside the family's front door, Mele knew something beyond a live video chat was up.
"We answered the door, and it was Robert! He was just amazing, just like we imagined him to be," she gushed.
After Pattinson came inside, the family took a while to compose themselves.
"He wasn't here for very long, maybe ten minutes," Mele explains. "We were screaming for the first five! We were all going nuts. "
Notoriously shy Pattinson (who turned 24 on Thursday) didn't balk at their enthusiasm, Mele says.
"He hugged every one of us. I told him about me and my daughter coming to see us in New York. He was like 'Oh, I think I remember you!' I was like, 'That's pretty funny -- no you don't!' He has a great sense of humor."
How did the British star look? "Honestly, I was in so much shock that I couldn't concentrate on anything -- I was way too excited. His hair was messy and perfect. He's very thin."
"I couldn't believe how tall he was!" she adds. For a group photo, "he stood up and squatted so he'd be sort of our height." (See the exclusive snapshot at right).
The actor left another kind of impression in the family's abode. "Rob had a mud mark on his shoe when he walked in, and we had just had our carpet cleaned. I told my husband, 'You are never washing that footprint!' It was hilarious."
Watching the segment on the show (the Mele family also scored tickets to the live taping in Chicago), Maria was heartened by Pattinson's comments as he left their house. "He said 'Oh, I really want to stay here and hang out with them...He actually liked us!"