Another celebrity split has rocked Hollywood. While Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux’s separation, announced Thursday, may have been expected from industry insiders and those closest to them, it sent shockwaves through the rest of the world, from their biggest fans to Brangelina watchers alike.
When news like this comes — especially so soon after Valentine’s Day, when our collective guard is down and we’re awash in an emotional security blanket of Instagram tributes and day-old chocolate — most people enter into the five stages of grief. The first, of course, is denial, and as such it’s natural to be presented with endless questions.
That’s what we’re here for.
How could this be happening?
That’s an existential issue we have yet to process, so we’re going to have to work through this together.
Okay, well how long have they been together?
Aniston and Theroux have technically only been married two-and-a-half years but they’ve been in a relationship for seven. The two actors first met on the set of Tropic Thunder — he wrote and produced the film — but didn’t start dating until three years later. They got engaged in 2012 after Justin proposed to Jen on his birthday.
So when did they get married?
After letting their friends, family members, and the public at large sweat it out for a good long time, they finally got hitched in what is still known to this day as one of Hollywood’s best surprise weddings. In August 2015, the couple planned what their friends thought was a birthday party for Justin — but was, in reality, a wedding ceremony in their backyard. Star-studded doesn’t even begin to describe the soirée: Guests included Chelsea Handler, Jason Bateman, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Sandra Bullock, and of course Aniston’s Friends BFFs Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow.
Didn’t it seem like they were happy?
Yes! As far as celebrity marriages go theirs was an almost remarkably rumor-free one. They vacationed in Mexico (Cabo, duh), they hit the town in Los Angeles and New York City, they supported each other at premieres and other work functions. Sure, there was a little bit of gossip when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie broke up, but that’s to be expected (or so we thought). In fact, Aniston just gave Architectural Digest a tour of their Bel Air home, which made their life seem like a literal fairy tale.
“There was a time when I thought there was something romantic about picking up and trotting off somewhere different every three months. Now I’m becoming more particular about the projects I take,” she told the magazine. “I look around at my husband and my dogs and our home, and there’s nowhere else I want to be.”
So then what’s the deal with this divorce?
Technically it’s not a divorce — yet. Today they just announced their separation.
Fine, so what’s the deal with this separation?
Officially: They grew apart. Aniston and Theroux released a joint statement after the news broke via the Associated Press in which they revealed they split late last year and offered a (very guarded) explanation.
“We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship,” they wrote. “Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist the opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly. Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else’s fictionalized narrative. Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another.”
Well, this is awkward…can you speculate anyway?
Um…no. But it is worth pointing out that the last time they stepped out together in public was way back in July 2017, at mutual friend Jason Bateman’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony. And this past weekend, Aniston celebrated her 49th birthday in Malibu with friends including Courteney Cox and Kathryn Hahn, while Theroux was photographed walking his dog in New York.
What are we all supposed to do now?
Besides questioning the meaning of love? That’s up to you. But definitely don’t feel bad for either of their careers: She’s about to star opposite Reese Witherspoon in a hotly-anticipated Apple series, and he has several films due out this year, including this month’s Mute on Netflix.