Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux were in Cabo for New Year’s with Jason Bateman and Amanda Anka. In their separation statement they say that they made the decision to separate at the end of 2017. There had been rumours around that time that they were heading for a divorce. This is not unusual. Over the last 20 years, Jennifer Aniston has been pregnant at least 18 times and sometimes either getting married while pregnant or getting a divorce while pregnant. 

A few weeks later, and just two weeks ago, Jennifer covered Architectural Digest, taking the magazine inside the design of their Hollywood home. I wrote about this on February 8 and the point of that post was to figure out the motivation behind the story. Because she’s not promoting a movie, or a show, or even the launch of a new flavour of water or hair product. This is what I said at the time: 

What is the goal of this feature though? Sometimes you see a celebrity put up their home in Architectural Digest and it portends a sale. They’re looking to offload the property and this is a way to drive up interest and, most importantly, the asking price. Sometimes it doesn’t portend a sale but it does precede a breakup. For the record, I haven’t heard of anything smutty going down in Jennifer Aniston’s marriage and Justin Theroux actually appears in one of the photos in this AD spread – he’s pictured, all motorcycled, leaving the front door.  



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The symbolism of that though…RIGHT?!

But. Wait. 

Jennifer’s birthday was on Sunday, February 11. That same day PEOPLE published an article “inside her married life with Justin Theroux” with sources saying that while they do spend a lot of time apart, it works for their relationship and that things between them were solid. 

“This has not hurt their marriage at all, it seems to help,” an entertainment source previously told PEOPLE. “They love and respect each other and do spend a lot of time apart. For them, it is a healthy part of their romance.”

Added the first source: “By not spending every minute together, it’s like their honeymoon is lasting longer.”

The next day, Monday, Jen hung out with friends at Courteney Cox’s to celebrate her birthday. By Thursday, the divorce statement comes out – not on a Friday, but on a THURSDAY.

Here’s why that matters: it’s a long weekend in the US, Monday is a holiday. The usual celebrity move, when you want to bury a story, or when you don’t want too much focus, which is WHAT THEY SAY THEY WANT in their statement, is to drop the news on Friday, at the end of the day, when people have gone home, when news outlets are slowing down. 

They could have waited 24 hours, they could have held the statement off until today, at 5pm. Instead they did it on Thursday afternoon, and now today the headlines are all about them. 

Why take that approach if you’re going to scold the “gossip industry” in your press release? You just gave every news show, every entertainment show, every gossip blog a full day to go hard on your separation. I’m going hard and I can tell you had this happened today, on the Lunar New Year, at 5pm, when I have dinner plans and party to go to, I would not have done sh-t about this story until Monday. And it’s not like she doesn’t know this. When Jen and Brad Pitt announced their divorce on January 7, 2005, that was a Friday. And it was the end of a Friday. It was intentional. That’s the play. So…what was the intention here?

How did we go from PEOPLE saying they were solid four days ago to a separation announcement with ample advance notice so as to become THE celebrity story of the week, the weekend, and not to mention giving the magazines ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD to put them on the cover next week!?! All the time in the world! 

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux just made it so that every tabloid, one of the pillars of what she calls the “gossip industry”, could rearrange their upcoming issues to accommodate her divorce on the front page. Don’t tell me that she and Stephen Huvane, her longtime publicist, both veterans of the fame game, don’t know how this works. 

So now we’re speculating. Which is exactly what they were pre-criticising in the separation statement. We’re speculating though because when you dig a little deeper into this rollout, considering the timing of the Architectural Digest spread and the PEOPLE report and when they dropped their announcement, I’m wondering if the timeline was sped up. And if it was sped up… WHY.

More in the next post.