‘I’m lonely, upset, confused’: Revisiting Jennifer Aniston’s explosive first interview post Brad Pitt split

In 2005, Jennifer Aniston sat for her first in-depth interview after splitting from husband Brad Pitt. Here are excerpts.
Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt reunited at the 2019 SAG awards.
Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt reunited at the 2019 SAG awards.
Updated on May 26, 2020 01:12 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By

Moments after letting journalist Leslie Bennetts into her home for what would be Jennifer Aniston’s first interview after her public split from husband Brad Pitt, the actor cried. In 2005, Aniston sat down with Vanity Fair and candidly discussed her separation, and the effect it had on her.

Asked about Pitt’s instant public displays of affection for his Mr & Mrs Smith co-star Angelina Jolie -- the two made no effort to hide their globetrotting holidays together -- Aniston admitted, “The world was shocked, and I was shocked.” She did, however, refuse to believe that Pitt cheated on her with Jolie, as had been widely speculated at the time. “What we said was true,” she said, and added, “as far as I knew.” 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.”

“There are many stages of grief,” she said. “It’s sad, something coming to an end. It cracks you open, in a way—cracks you open to feeling. When you try to avoid the pain, it creates greater pain. I’m a human being, having a human experience in front of the world. I wish it weren’t in front of the world. I try really hard to rise above it.”

Having to learn to live alone was difficult, Aniston admitted. “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 said. “I’ve got an unbelievable support team, and I’m a tough cookie.… I believe in therapy; I think it’s an incredible tool in educating the self on the self. I feel very strong. I’m really proud of how I’ve conducted myself.”

Also read: A recap of Jennifer Aniston’s rekindled friendship with Brad Pitt

Through it all, Aniston rejected the idea that Pitt had left her for ‘another woman’. “I don’t feel like a victim,” she said. “I’ve worked with this therapist for a long time, and her major focus is that you get one day of being a victim—and that’s it. Then we take responsibility for our own input. To live in a victim place is pointing a finger at someone else, as if you have no control. Relationships are two people; everyone is accountable. A lot goes into a relationship coming together, and a lot goes into a relationship falling apart. She’d say, ‘Even if it’s 98 percent the other person’s fault, it’s 2 percent yours, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.’ You can only clean up your side of the street.”

Following the split, Pitt and Jolie appeared in a 60-page photo spread for W magazine titled Domestic Bliss. Aniston didn’t know that Pitt conceptualised the feature and also earned a profit from it. “Is it odd timing? Yeah. But it’s not my life,” she said. “He makes his choices. He can do—whatever. We’re divorced, and you can see why.” She added, “I can also imagine Brad having absolutely no clue why people would be appalled by it. Brad is not mean-spirited; he would never intentionally try to rub something in my face. In hindsight, I can see him going, ‘Oh—I can see that that was inconsiderate.’ But I know Brad. Brad would say, ‘That’s art!’”

And then Aniston delivered the byte that would be replicated for years. “There’s a sensitivity chip that’s missing,” she said.

Also read: Jennifer Aniston reacts to Brad Pitt crying while watching her acceptance speech: ‘No!’

She continued, “I’m not interested in taking public potshots. It’s not my concern anymore. What happened to him after the separation—it’s his life now. I’ve made a conscious effort not to add to the toxicity of this situation. I haven’t retaliated. I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t have a halo that I’m polishing here; everyone has their personal thoughts. But I would much rather everyone move on. I am not defined by this relationship. I am not defined by the part they’re making me play in the triangle. It’s maddening to me...”

She concluded, “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. We spent seven very intense years together; we taught each other a lot—about healing, and about fun. We helped each other through a lot, and I really value that. It was a beautiful, complicated relationship. The sad thing, for me, is the way it’s been reduced to a Hollywood cliché—or maybe it’s just a human cliché. I have a lot of compassion for everyone going through this.”

Also read: ‘Jennifer Aniston should be killed’, wrote Harvey Weinstein in email when asked if he’d harassed her

Aniston recalled that on the one occasion she met Jolie, she told her that Pitt was very excited to work with her and that she hoped that they have a good time. She did, however, express hope that “someday we can be friends again.”

Pitt and Aniston were married from 2000 to 2005. He tied the knot with Jolie in 2014, and their divorce was finalised in 2019. Aniston and Pitt reunited at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards, where they were seen embracing and supporting each other, much to the delight of their fans.

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