Jennifer Aniston wanted to trust Brad Pitt more than anything. She wasn't naive but she was hopeful that he hadn't been unfaithful to her.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 18, 2020. It has since been updated.
Not all marriages are destined to last forever and not all men can be the best partners to strong women. Some men remain oblivious to how much they are hurting their partners and repeatedly do so. Such men break the illusion for many women that there can be only one true love in one lifetime. The pain from those relationships becomes guiding lights towards a better and happier life in the future.
Jennifer Aniston had been gearing up to start a family with Brad Pitt after her TV show FRIENDS ended in May 2004 but instead, she found herself alone in a rented Malibu home. In January 2005, Pitt and she announced to the world that they were divorcing. Matt Damon had once described them as the couple you want to be, as per People.
"We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate," they wrote in a statement. "For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration. We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another."
At the time, there was speculation that Pitt had an affair with Angelina Jolie while shooting Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The duo went on to get married, have kids - one of the things Aniston was accused of not willing to do - and later divorce as well. But, around the time when things between Jolie and Pitt were fresh, multiple stories haunted Aniston.
During her first interview since the divorce, she bared her soul completely. "It was extremely hurtful to Jen that he was seen with another woman so quickly after they were separated," said Andrea Bendewald, an actress who was one of the closest friends of The Break-Up actress since they were teenagers, to Vanity Fair.
Aniston, who spoke to Vanity Fair in September 2005, said, "We exited this relationship as beautifully as we entered it." While she was not naive, she chose to believe him even though there were rumors that Jolie was pregnant even before their divorce was finalized. When she was asked about the cheating claims, she said, "I choose to believe my husband. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything, but I would much rather choose to believe him."
For those who thought that she was too innocent, someone close to the couple tried to explain what it was like. "She wasn’t naive," said Kristin Hahn, an executive at Pitts’ production company, Plan B. "She’s not suggesting she didn’t know there was an enchantment, and a friendship. But Brad was saying, ‘This is not about another woman.'"
She mentioned him as her "husband" even though they had separated at that point and he was already being photographed with Jolie and her son Maddox. While the Fight Club actor was insensitive and splashing his life all across magazines, Aniston was blaming herself for their crumpled up fairytale.
"I have to think there’s some reason I have called this into my life," she said. "I have to believe that—otherwise it’s just cruel," she said. However, she was also realistic about what she was going through. "Am I lonely? Yes. Am I upset? Yes. Am I confused? Yes. Do I have my days when I’ve thrown a little pity party for myself? Absolutely. But I’m also doing really well,” she says. “I’ve got an unbelievable support team, and I’m a tough cookie," she said.
And, even though she chose to believe Pitt back then, his first biological child with Jolie was born on May 27, 2006, proving that Jolie was indeed pregnant before Pitt and Aniston were divorced (the divorce was finalized in October 2005).
Many years have passed since then, Aniston and Pitt are both divorced again and seem to have renewed their friendship. "I love Brad; I really love him. I will love him for the rest of my life. He’s a fantastic man. I don’t regret any of it, and I’m not going to beat myself up about it," she had said in 2005.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photos by Kevin Winter