Poor Jen.” That was the phrase that began to observe Jennifer Aniston round not lengthy after her divorce from Brad Pitt. One minute the Friends star was half of a Hollywood golden couple and proprietor of the world’s most lusted-after haircut. The subsequent, she was an on-the-shelf spinster whose husband had ditched her for his horny co-star. Would she ever discover happiness? Would she be outpaced by her personal organic clock? A public fixation with who she was courting or if she would have youngsters felt like a coded means of questioning whether or not she would ever summon the power to beat the humiliation. But this week, Aniston trashed the narrative.
Rubbishing ongoing rumours of her being too “selfish” or “career-obsessed” to grow to be a mom, she revealed to Allure that she’d tried to have a baby for a few years however was unsuccessful. Now, she has accepted that organic motherhood isn’t one thing that’ll occur for her, telling the publication: “The ship has sailed.” Still, regardless of the struggles, 53-year-old Aniston says that how she feels now is “better than I ever did in my twenties or thirties even, or my mid-forties”. Poor Jen? Don’t patronise her. She’s one of Hollywood’s ultimate survivors.
Aniston had trigger to be annoyed. In truth, it’s stunning that she didn’t converse out earlier. In the years of peak Brangelina – Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been collectively for 11 years and married for 4, earlier than acrimoniously separating in 2017 – you’d wrestle to discover a newsstand that didn’t embrace some front-page splash about simply how Aniston was managing, and the way she’d ever probably put her divorce behind her. She selected to maintain her counsel, retaining a dignified silence all through the tabloid tales. Her profession success, together with The Break-Up making over $200m (£170m) worldwide in 2006 and Marley and Me breaking Christmas Day ticket data in 2008, felt secondary – all discuss was consumed by her personal life, in a means that felt extra particular and private than many different feminine stars.
When subsequent relationships with Vince Vaughn and John Mayer floundered, it was extra fodder for the “Poor Jen” machine – an instance of her life being soured by going by way of the extremely regular phenomenon of courting and shifting on. While some might need buckled on the strain of having their life used as a public spectacle, Aniston saved her head excessive and by no means gave in to feeding the chatter.
The pity get together appeared to name final orders in 2015 when she married Justin Theroux after 4 years collectively. Now that “Poor Jen” lastly had one other authorized tie to a person, absolutely that may mark the tip of fear about her life? Yet it solely led to extra wonderings about what was subsequent: whether or not they’d begin having kids, and the when, why and the way. It got here to a head in 2016, when Aniston used a HuffPost op-ed to talk out about paparazzi tenting outdoors their dwelling, hoping to get a shot to verify her “pregnancy”. No, she wasn’t anticipating, she stated, and she didn’t must have a baby on the way in which for her life story to have worth.
“Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child,” Aniston wrote. “We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone.” Aniston was telling us then that she didn’t want or need to be pitied. The truth she felt she needed to make such a press release, now we find out about her experiences with IVF, feels even crueller. When her marriage to Theroux resulted in 2017, she needed to right one other wave of “Poor Jen” headlines once more. “First, with all due respect, I’m not heartbroken,” she advised InModel in 2018. “And second, those are reckless assumptions. No one knows what’s going on behind closed doors.”
While coping with the press making an attempt to push her right into a field to cower in disgrace, in addition to coming to phrases with unsuccessful IVF, Aniston has stepped into a brand new stage of her profession that additional cemented her standing as something however a sufferer. With producer Kristin Hahn, she’s been operating Echo Films, an organization that’s made films equivalent to Cake and Dumplin’ – initiatives which have seen her give some of her strongest performances thus far. In the Emmy-winning Apple TV+ collection The Morning Show, Aniston and Reese Witherspoon function lead stars and govt producers. As effectively as having the present’s third season to sit up for, Aniston additionally has two further movies within the pipeline and a profitable haircare line.
Sadly, sexism signifies that, regardless of a girl’s skilled success, discovering a accomplice and having kids is nonetheless held because the “ultimate goal”. It nonetheless appears to be the factor that determines whether or not she’s thought-about an inspiration, or proof of the speculation of it being inconceivable to “have it all”. How insulting that Aniston has needed to face remedy like this whereas having a lot to be proud of.
The incontrovertible fact that she’s skilled all of the setbacks she has and as a substitute embraces the positives in her life is one thing to be celebrated, not met with condescending sighs. Aniston is a Hollywood survivor as a result of she is aware of that if you wish to get one thing finished, you need to do it your self. She proved it once more this week when she killed the “Poor Jen” narrative as soon as and for all. Here’s hoping she by no means has to take action once more.