She also stars in Rodrigo Garcia's thriller "Passengers," which also opens in October, and alongside Kate Hudson in "Bride Wars," scheduled for a January release.
"I think she has handled this pitch perfect," said Howard Bragman, a longtime Hollywood PR exec and crisis manager and author of the upcoming book "Where's My Fifteen Minutes."
"I just think that she distanced herself from the boyfriend before this broke. That's No. 1," Bragman told ABCNews.com. "She has not commented on this and has aggressively refused to do so. And she's done what she does best, which is act. They did go out. There are plenty of photos to prove that. But this is not what defines her."
Hathaway met Follieri through a friend in 2004. "It was totally love at first sight," she said in an interview. "He was soooo good-looking. ... He looks like a god."
Follieri, who moved to New York from Italy in 2003, when he was 25, impressed Hathaway with connections to the Pope and the Vatican; trips for the couple to the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and St. Tropez; and his foundation to help poor children in developing countries.
But there were signs of trouble. In 2007, Burkle sued Follieri for misappropriating more than $1.3 million from their real estate venture to finance personal expenses, such as private jets and a Manhattan penthouse. Follieri later settled the case out of court.
In April he turned himself in to New York City police and was charged with a misdemeanor after he bounced a check for $215,000. Follieri later came up with the funds to make good on the check.
Hathaway stepped in to help, paying the $37,000-a-month rent for the lush duplex apartment the couple shared, according to Vanity Fair.
But her father was apparently concerned enough about her relationship that, according to Vanity Fair, he asked a private investigator friend to look into Follieri back in 2005.
Just prior to his arrest, the New York State attorney general began investigating his charity, The Follieri Foundation, and the couple was reportedly fighting. According to Vanity Fair, Hathaway, on her promotional tour for "Get Smart," tried to pull the plug on the relationship in Paris but met with Follieri one more time in New York before their final phone call the day he was arrested.
Bragman, the PR specialist, said that it's fortunate for Hathaway that Follieri took a plea, because his name will be out of the headlines for a while.
"All the buzz about her performance in the Demme film is going to overshadow any relationship with this guy," Bragman said. "Are any of us to be held responsible for all the people we dated? No. I think people are empathetic."