Want proof that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are skilled actors indeed? Just last weekend, over New Year’s, they spent a much-photographed holiday weekend on the Caribbean island of Anguilla (with fellow Friends alum Courteney Cox and her husband, David Arquette), looking like the loving couple they’ve claimed to be despite months of rumors of discord. Aniston was even wearing her wedding ring again. But it turns out that the rumors of an imminent Pitt split were true. On Friday, People reported that the couple had issued a statement announcing their separation after seven years as a couple and four and a half years of marriage.
”We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate,” the joint statement read. ”For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration. We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another. We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months.”
Speculation ran rampant over the weekend as to the reason for the split of the golden Hollywood power couple, who married in 2000. The most prevalent theory was that Pitt, 41, remains eager to become a dad, while Aniston, 35, still wants to put off motherhood because of her blossoming film career. (Pitt famously grumbled a couple years back when the surprise renewal of Friends for a 10th season meant the couple’s baby-making plans would be put on hold for another year.) Another theory was that Pitt had had an affair with Angelina Jolie on the set of their upcoming spy thriller Mr. and Mrs. Smith, though both denied a liaison. In the new issue of People, rushed to the newsstands four days early, a source close to the film tells the magazine that, while Pitt never cheated on Aniston with Jolie, he was indeed drawn to his costar — because of her little boy, Maddox, and her goodwill ambassador work for the United Nations.
People also reports that the separation may not be permanent — no one has said the D-word yet — but the couple’s one joint project is probably doomed. That’s Plan B, the movie production company they co-own, which is behind this summer’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That company’s future was already jeopardized last week by the news that the couple’s business partner and personal manager, Brad Grey, was leaving Plan B to become the studio chief at Paramount Pictures in March.