Why Did Jennifer Aniston & Brad Pitt Break Up? The Answer May Surprise You
Celebrity relationships and friendships are a rare breed. These famous faces have their lives played out in front of the masses, whether it’s the good, the bad, or the straight-up shady. In Elite Daily’s new series, It’s Complicated, we’re highlighting the biggest celebrity “feuds” that took over Hollywood and dominated our Sunday brunches for weeks on end. We’ll take a deep dive into the lives and social media feeds of our favorite stars and dissect what happened in front of the camera, what went down behind the scenes, and everything you might have missed in between.
Long before celebrity couples like Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West overwhelmed the zeitgeist, there was Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. In the '90s, Aniston was starring in Friends and was "America's Sweetheart," while Pitt was quickly becoming one of the world's biggest movie stars. They were Hollywood's OG "It" couple. For fans, seeing their two favorite celebrities in a relationship was a dream, but that dream ended when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt Pitt broke up in 2005 after five years of marriage.
Nearly 15 years after their split, fans are still questioning what exactly went wrong, especially since their relationship was constantly plagued by rumors. With 2020 being the 15-year anniversary of Aniston and Pitt's divorce, let's look back at their relationship to find out when things changed.
After getting set up by their agents in 1998 and getting engaged a year later, Pitt and Aniston tied the knot in Malibu, California, in July 2000.
At the start, Aniston and Pitt seemingly had a picturesque marriage. But, in 2003, Aniston opened up about her marriage to Pitt, admitting they fought every once in a while. "We’ve learned to make decisions that we both feel good about. And I actually think our marriage is even better now because we’ve been through this stuff," Aniston told W Magazine.
The couple seemed like they came out stronger on the other side, but Aniston shocked fans when, in the same interview, she questioned whether Pitt was the love of her life. "Is he the love of my life? I think you’re always sort of wondering, ‘Are you the love of my life?’ I mean, I don’t know, I’ve never been someone who says, ‘He’s the love of my life,'" Aniston said.
Though Aniston may not have meant anything serious by her comments (she added Pitt was "certainly a big love" in her life and they have "something special"), her hesitation left an odd taste in fans' mouths.
In 2004, cracks began to appear in Aniston and Pitt's picture-perfect relationship. After meeting his future second wife, Angelina Jolie, on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, their undeniable chemistry caused rumors to swirl that Pitt was cheating on Aniston with Jolie.
Bolstering the infidelity rumors, in January 2005, Aniston and Pitt announced their separation. But the former couple denied cheating had anything to do with their decision, saying in a statement to PEOPLE:
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. We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months.
While there was a lot of speculation by fans over whether cheating caused the split, Aniston was adamant there was no wrongdoing or hard feelings.
"What we said [in the statement] was true as far as I knew," Aniston told Vanity Fair in September 2006. "We wrote it together, very consciously, and felt very good about it. We exited this relationship as beautifully as we entered it."
WHAT FANS THINK HAPPENED
Just because cheating didn't play into Aniston and Pitt's divorce doesn't mean she wasn't blindsided when Us Weekly published photos of Pitt and Jolie vacationing together in Kenya in April 2005, just a month after Aniston filed for divorce.
"The world was shocked, and I was shocked," Aniston told Vanity Fair in September 2006.
In December 2006, Jolie revealed her and Pitt's relationship accidentally blossomed on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Jolie told People. "I think we were the last two people who were looking for a relationship. I certainly wasn’t. I was quite content to be a single mom."
Jolie added she and Pitt formed a "strange friendship and partnership," and she eventually realized she looked forward to going to work because of Pitt. "Anything we had to do with each other, we just found a lot of joy in it together and a lot of real teamwork. We just became kind of a pair," she said.
Aniston didn't address Jolie's comments until two years later in 2008, telling Vogue, "There was stuff printed there that was definitely from a time when I was unaware that it was happening. I felt those details were a little inappropriate to discuss. That stuff about how she couldn't wait to get to work every day? That was really uncool."
Aniston and Pitt insisted Jolie didn't play a role in their divorce, but Pitt's marriage to Jolie following his divorce from Aniston, and Jolie's gushy comments about their time on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith has convinced fans otherwise.
WHAT BRAD & JEN SAY HAPPENED
While the timing of Pitt's relationship with Jolie was not ideal, it doesn't mean she was what came between Pitt and Aniston.
In September 2011, Pitt told Parade he wasn't satisfied with his life in the '90s. "It became very clear to me that I was intent on trying to find a movie about an interesting life, but I wasn’t living an interesting life myself," Pitt admitted. "I think that my marriage [to Aniston] had something to do with it. Trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn’t."
Pitt's comments rubbed fans the wrong way, which caused him to later clarify Aniston was not to be blamed for his discontent at that time. "The point I was trying to make is not that Jen was dull, but that I was becoming dull to myself — and that, I am responsible for,” Pitt clarified in a September 2011 statement, according to E! News.
Even a decade after Pitt and Aniston split, the Friends star continued to defend her ex-husband. "We’re not in daily communication. But we wish nothing but wonderful things for each other. Nobody did anything wrong," she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. "It was just like, sometimes things [happen]. If the world only could just stop with the stupid, soap-opera bullsh*t. There’s no story."
Fans may never know the real reason why Aniston and Pitt split, but based on how friendly the pair have remained post-divorce, maybe there really isn't much more behind it than what they've already revealed in interviews. Like Aniston said, "Sometimes things happen."