Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, possibly the most memorable example of the classic Friday dump. They announced their separation on Friday, January 7, 2005, late in the afternoon, when everyone had packed up to go home. Friday at 6pm is a lot less loud than, say, a Wednesday at 10 in the morning.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner played the classic move last week too, just before Easter weekend, revealing that they’d filed for divorce in pro per, both their documents essentially saying the same thing. We’ll get to the specifics of that in a minute. Let’s start with the timing first, burying it just as everyone checked out for the holiday, and helped by Donald Trump’s Mother Of All Bombs too. Which means it was a pretty soft landing. And soft also, obviously, because they’ve officially (and unofficially) been apart for almost two years. Compared to when they initially revealed that they’d broken up, this divorce filing (on the surface) is dramatically less dramatic.
I appreciate the religious tone to the timing too. Easter is a death and a rebirth. A phoenix rising from the ashes, if you will. As Jennifer asked in her Vanity Fair profile last year, “Am I the ashes in this scenario? I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes.”
OK. But who IS the ashes then?
Ben Affleck just got out of rehab. Since then he’s been spending more time with his kids…and more time making good decisions? It certainly could be that she wanted to see him stabilised and clear and clean before taking the next step to formally dissolve their marriage, for the sake of their children and the next phase of their relationship. But, as TMZ reported late last night, “they made a real attempt during their separation to work things out rather than just end things”. So it’s not impossible that reconciliation was always a possibility. But then the next question is: what ultimately made reconciliation impossible?
Well, TMZ also mentions that “Ben's now dating someone, though ‘not seriously’”. And here’s what’s interesting about that. As a gossip reporter, if your source tells you that someone is dating someone, you HAVE to ask… WHO? TMZ should know who. They’re just not telling us yet, either at the request of the source or to hold back another exclusive. As we saw from the Orlando Bloom story earlier, people are using the word “dating” these days as a euphemism for “straight f-cking”. And given that TMZ’s reporting heavily favours men, I wonder if their use of the word “dating” as it applies to Ben’s current status actually just means that he’s getting some strange and they don’t want to tarnish his reputation even more by telling us that Ben’s dick is back in action and his dick always looks bad next to his estranged wife, America’s Sweetheart. Which is why Jennifer Garner’s like…I’m out, but I’ll do you a solid and present a united front with you, so that people will think we’re amicably divorcing in private. In return though, as we negotiate the terms of our divorce, privately, and since we don’t have a pre-nup, well, you better be prepared to pay.
Ben and Jennifer are working with Laura Wasser. By now, we should all be familiar with TMZ’s connection to Laura Wasser. According to TMZ:
We're told Ben and Jen never discussed dividing assets because they were ambivalent about the divorce, so now they have to deal with a fortune in assets. As we reported, there is no prenup, so everything goes into one pot ... property, art and other items must be valued, sold or split.
It will take a minimum of 6 months before the divorce is final, and sources say because of the amount of property, it will probably take longer.
No prenup. One pot. A fortune in assets. And few people in Hollywood have as much sh-t on Ben Affleck as Jennifer Garner.
Here are Ben and Jen at church together on Sunday in LA.