There’s a lot to discuss here so we’ll break it out over a few different posts, starting now with the news itself: late yesterday, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced that they have separated. Here’s the statement in full:
"In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation. This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship. Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an 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 fictional narrative. Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another."
We’ll get to that statement later. For now, let’s focus on the why. They’re calling themselves best friends and that they intend to continue their “cherished friendship”. So the message here is that this is a conscious uncoupling. Gwyneth Paltrow can again take credit for being somewhere before Jennifer Aniston. Distance is the presumed factor that led to the conscious uncoupling. Jennifer prefers Los Angeles. Justin is in New York a lot and he’s been travelling for work. People grow apart all the time, celebrity and civilian.
Distance can f-ck up even the most well-matched couples. Were Jen and Justin well-matched? Well, in one sense, they were. She found in Justin someone who was willing to take on her fame and play the fame game with her. Remember when they got engaged? That first photo of them after it was confirmed that they were engaged, with a perfect shot of her ring?
This picture was taken in Sante Fe, New Mexico, not exactly where paps are plentiful. And yet somehow they managed to find one of the most famous celebrities in the world who often flies private and moves around with a security detail. The agency that licenced the photo, by the way, is Getty. Getty is not a paparazzi agency. So we’re talking about coordination here. Media strategy. Playing the fame game. Justin was part of it and willing. After Vince Vaughn and John Mayer, finally Jen had someone by her side who wanted to participate. That’s one of the things they had in common then.
What they may not have in common is lifestyle. Jen is easy, breezy California. Justin’s all leather jackets, motorcycles, and an arty New York lofts and comedy nerds. I don’t think I have go into too much more detail here. You get it. They’re different. It’s as simple as how they would answer the question, “How would you describe your perfect Friday night”. Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux aren’t giving the same response. Which is OK. Relationships can work on other nights, not just Friday nights. But. When there’s distance involved, when you’re not seeing each other for many, many, many nights in a row, that’s when it can become an issue, the nights you do get to spend together.
So, yeah, I can buy it. I can buy that there’s nothing more dramatic here than two people who grew apart and no longer want to keep trying to pull back together. What I don’t buy, though, is the rollout.