For years now, Jennifer Aniston has been cast in a role that she’s found very hard to shake off: that of the “wronged woman.” And not only did she have to endure her husband Brad Pitt leaving her for Angelina Jolie in 2005, but she then had to put up with endless questions from the press about the situation. Now, though, an old interview with Aniston has resurfaced, and it reveals just how she found peace and contentment during such a stressful time in her life.
Jennifer Aniston first met Brad Pitt in 1998, reportedly because her agent had arranged for her to have a blind date with him. And on the surface, at least, the pair appeared to be a good match; both were young, good-looking and famous, after all. For a while, too, Aniston and Pitt appeared to be loved-up – they even made it to the altar in July 2000.
The Aniston-Pitt wedding was in fact a high-profile, million-dollar affair. Cameron Diaz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek and many other A-listers attended, along with most of Aniston’s Friends co-stars – only Matt LeBlanc couldn’t make it. These starry guests and more were entertained with a gospel choir, a Melissa Etheridge performance and a fireworks display.
The bride and groom themselves, meanwhile, had written their own vows and ended them in unison with “All the world may know my love for you.” And, for a period, perhaps that was the case. Just five years after tying the knot, the pair announced that they would be getting divorced.
Rumor had it that Brad Pitt had been cheating on Aniston with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star, the beautiful Angelina Jolie. And although exact details of the liaison were a closely guarded secret, it ultimately became known that, yes, Pitt and Jolie were in love. In January 2005, then, Aniston and Pitt released a statement announcing their separation.
The message read, “We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate.” It continued, “For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration.” Many have suspected, however, that Jolie did play a part in the split.
Then, in March 2015 Aniston filed for divorce, after which Pitt began appearing in public with Jolie and her family. And although the new couple opted not to pose next to each other at the Mr. & Mrs. Smith red carpet premiere, eagle-eyed watchers observed that the two still shared secret smiles together during the event.
In fact, Pitt began spending more and more time with Jolie; in July 2015 he even joined her in adopting a child, Zahara. But even though the pair were seemingly doing their best to keep their relationship under the radar, they got their fair share of media attention. The press began to wonder how Aniston was doing, too, but she made no grand claims of revenge or disgust. Instead, she chose to just keep quiet about the whole affair.
In September 2005, though, Aniston broke her silence in an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But if anybody had expected a tirade of rage from the Friends star, they would have been disappointed. Indeed, Aniston was calm, collected and graceful during the appearance. In particular, she said that she was doing well and that she had in fact found a kind of inner peace.
Yoga, Aniston added, had helped her immensely, and she would go on to describe a recent session that she had had with a friend. The actress explained, “We finished, and we were sitting there stretching. And I looked over at her and said, ‘You know what? I have to say I have a feeling I don’t know if I’ve ever felt before – I don’t want to be anywhere other than where I am right now sitting across from you.’”
Aniston continued, “And that means, you know, I’m not sitting somewhere dwelling on the past or obsessing about something in the future… it was a feeling of total peace. I love that.” That admission, however, led Winfrey to ask, “How did you get there? You had to shed some tears.” The actress responded, “Oh, sure. Me not shed a tear? Come on. I shed some tears, but… it’s sort of [about] living in the moment, in the now.”
And in the interview, Aniston also spoke about her determination to find peace of mind after the split and the media circus. She continued, “You can read [self-help books] and you can sort of intellectualize them, but the truth is you sit there going, ‘How do I do that?’ and you’re frustrated and you get down on yourself because you’re not there yet.” The Friends star added, “And then you just realise one day that it’s happened… you’re sitting there with your friend doing yoga and you go, ‘Oh, I get it.’”
Aniston also addressed a rumor that had been circulating for some time: that she didn’t want children, so Pitt had left her for a woman who did. That speculation was far from the truth, it turned out. “Do I want babies?” the actress said. “Yes, I do. I always have.” In addition, she revealed, she was ready to begin dating again.
And Aniston went on to date Vince Vaughn, her co-star from the ironically-named film The Break-Up. But although the pair kept their relationship as much under the radar as they could, it didn’t last in the end. They split up in December 2006 but remained friends.
After that, Aniston began an on-off relationship with musician John Mayer before finally ending things with him in March 2009. A couple of years after that, though, she would meet the man with whom she would settle down. He would be Justin Theroux, an actor and screenwriter, and he and Aniston duly announced their engagement in August 2012.
Aniston and Theroux married in August 2015, and they seemed very happy together at all their public appearances. But the question of children was once again hanging over Aniston’s head. After the marriage, people expected a pregnancy announcement to be forthcoming, but it wasn’t. And the constant speculation was frustrating for Aniston.
In 2015 the star told The Hollywood Reporter, for example, “[Having children is] a topic that’s so exhausted… Who knows if it’s going to happen?” Then, in July 2016 she penned an article for The Huffington Post about her anger surrounding the issue. “We [women] are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child,” she wrote.
And for a woman who for years had been judged on either who she was dating, who she had divorced or whether she was pregnant, that was a powerful statement. Unfortunately, though, just a few months after the Huffington Post article, Aniston was once again dragged into speculation about her former love triangle. Why? Well, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were getting a divorce.
With news of Pitt and Jolie’s split, moreover, the rumor mill went into overdrive. Was Pitt sending text messages to Aniston? Was he angling to get back together with her? But Aniston’s friend Chelsea Handler denied all of it on her behalf. “I don’t think Jen cares about what’s going on, and it’s crazy that people think she does,” the comedian told The Mail on Sunday in 2017.
Aniston’s journey into inner peace, then, seems to have worked out incredibly well for her. Indeed, although she’s faced plenty of hurdles since her divorce from Brad Pitt, she’s arguably dealt with them all professionally and calmly. And, apparently, yoga’s been a great boon. “She loves practicing yoga and how she feels when she does it,” her friend and instructor Mandy Ingber told the website Healthista in 2017. More power to her, then.