I’ve read a lot of Jennifer Aniston interviews over the years, probably we all have. And for a while there, because she’s been doing this a long time, there wasn’t much of a difference between one InStyle profile to the next ELLE feature to another one in Harper’s Bazaar. It was familiarity and sameness… by design. And I say that because in her new Allure cover story, she’s decided NOT to lean into her previous talking points and she’s coming in with fresh revelations. This is the big headline that’s now being picked up: Jennifer Aniston tried for a long time to have children.
Again, Jennifer Aniston is not unaware of her fame. One of the reasons she’s sharing this personal detail is because she’s making a statement about fame, and how famous people are treated. She’s sharing the story because she’s criticising tabloid culture for how her split from Brad Pitt was covered and consumed. And she’s doing it now because “now, I don’t fucking care”.
“All the years and years and years of speculation... It was really hard. I was going through IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it. I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me, ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favor.’ You just don’t think it. So here I am today. The ship has sailed.”
We sit quietly for a minute, maybe sad for all the ships that have ever sailed. I almost want to apologize to Aniston for being a journalist. This doesn’t feel like any of my business.
“I have zero regrets,” she says. “I actually feel a little relief now because there is no more, ‘Can I? Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.’ I don’t have to think about that anymore.”
Back then — and for years — there were headlines swirling through pop culture that Aniston wouldn’t have kids. That she wasn’t interested or she just wanted to be a star or whatever idea was selling that week.
Adding to the personal pain of what she went through was the “narrative that I was just selfish,” she says. “I just cared about my career. And God forbid a woman is successful and doesn’t have a child. And the reason my husband left me, why we broke up and ended our marriage, was because I wouldn’t give him a kid. It was absolute lies. I don’t have anything to hide at this point.
Here at LaineyGossip, back when the Brad-Jen-Angelina was the biggest preoccupation in celebrity gossip, I participated in this kind of harmful coverage. It was the days of the internet Wild West and there were many things I thought and wrote that I’m ashamed of now. This is why I was called out a couple of years ago for old posts that were misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and racist. This is why there’s a disclaimer on this website for posts from those days. So for sure, some of the sh-t I said about Jennifer Aniston in that era? It was mean. It did nothing to advance the conversation for women and the choices that should be available to us.
For Jennifer, as she says, she’s moved past that period, she’s in her 50s now, firmly in her No F-cks to Give time having spent time working through her own sh-t about her family and her relationships.
“I feel like I’m coming through a period that was challenging and coming back into the light,” she says. “I have had to do personal work that was long overdue, parts of me that hadn’t healed from the time I was a little kid. I’m a very independent person. Intimacy has always been a little here,” she extends her hand an arm’s length in front of her. “I’ve realized you will always be working on stuff. I am a constant work in progress. Thank God. How uninteresting would life be if we all achieved enlightenment and that was it?”
For her, the struggles she had in her 30s and 40s have brought her to this decade, and it’s her best decade so far:
“I feel the best in who I am today, better than I ever did in my 20s or 30s even, or my mid-40s. We needed to stop saying bad sh-t to ourselves,” says Aniston, scolding her future self: “You’re going to be 65 one day and think, I looked f-cking great at 53.”
She does look f-cking great, period. I love these extensions on her, a throwback to her character in Rock Star back in 2001.
This the Jennifer Aniston that’s been emerging for some time now. I touched on this a couple of years ago when she was promoting Dumplin’ and through the initial promotion for The Morning Show – how much I enjoyed seeing Jen step into her boss phase. She is more publicly political than she’s ever been; she has used her voice and her platform to support Black Lives Matter and reproductive rights, knowing, I’m sure, that so much of her MiniVan Majority base might not respond well to it.
This is the no f-cks to give Jen Aniston who is relevant still today, all these years later. The one who doesn’t f-cking care anymore and figured out that in doing so, she’s gotten better at her job, giving the best performances of her career to date.
So I wonder if there are any more revelations coming in the future as we get closer to the release of season three of The Morning Show and the other projects she has in production, including two films, one of them being Murder Mystery 2 with Adam Sandler. As she has said, she is coming through a period of personal growth and in that growth she’s telling everyone about her IVF experience and having to move past the hope of becoming a parent. But that was a complicated time for everyone. People were taking sides, Team Aniston vs Team Jolie. No matter what side you were on, it meant that the woman whose side you weren’t on was being treated unfairly. And if we’re talking about harmful narratives, that’s certainly one that has persisted. There are those who are very much not about Jen Aniston because they’re down with Angelina and there are those who are very much against Angelina Jolie because they support Jen.
In her next no f-cks to give interview, then, will Jen actually pull a Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber and shut down once and for all the perceived beef between her and Angelina?