Written by Kayleigh Dray
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
As ever, there’s more to these new Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt romance reports than meets the eye.
We’re in, ooh, week three of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown, which apparently means it’s time for yet another dubious source story about Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt’s rekindled romance.
That’s right: Aniston and Pitt – who finalised their divorce well over a decade ago, in October 2005 – are still in love with one another, according to Melissa Etheridge. As in, yes, the very Etheridge who performed at Aniston and Pitt’s 2000 wedding and is therefore apparently an expert on their relationship.
During an appearance on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, Etheridge was asked whether or not she thought there was any truth to the rumours that the former couple is gearing up to reunite. Because what else is there to talk about with a global health crisis going on, eh?
“I loved Brad and Jen together,” she said. “They were beyond beautiful, and I believe they will always remain friends, because they’re two very special people that can get through anything.
“I just hope that their friendship lasts, because they share one hell of an unbreakable bond.”
It’s this line – about the “unbreakable bond” – which has seemingly captured the attention of the internet. In a big way.
“There’s no doubt that they are back together then,” tweeted one over-excited fan. “She didn’t deny it. In fact, she kind of spelled it straight out!”
Another gushed: “Omg, OK, this just cements the fact that they are made for one another. This is their wedding singer for goodness sake!”
And still one more said: “Yep, this just makes it real now to be honest. I’m just waiting for that Instagram official photo.”
Here we go again, eh?
First, a caveat: I get it. I really do. This Covid-19 stuff is bleak AF and we need something less… less scary, less horrifying, to focus our attention on. And multiple studies have shown that reliving past memories may provide comfort and contribute to good mental health.
That being said, though, can’t we all get our much-needed dose of nostalgia from watching old episodes of Friends on repeat? Rather than, y’know, forcing this romantic narrative on a couple who split eons ago – and no doubt for good reason: no breakup is undertaken lightly, and we imagine both Aniston and Pitt felt that they would be happier apart in the long run.
Well, and yet it’s worth noting that Aniston and Pitt’s former wedding singer is 100% correct: the pair do share an “unbreakable bond”. This bond is not the romantic threads of destiny, mind you: rather, it’s the public’s insatiable and inexplicable need to see one of their favourite 00s couples back together. A need, we hasten to add, which is lovingly tended to and fed by celebrity gossip sites and tabloid newspapers.
For example, one such tabloid has claimed that the couple is planning to tie the knot at a secret Mexican beach wedding. Despite having, you know, zero confirmation from either actor, not a scrap of evidence whatsoever, and not even a nod to the fact that this fictional destination wedding is due to take place in the MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC.
“They want it to be romantic and beautiful,” the tabloid in question insisted. “The theme will be spiritual, and they’ll do handwritten vows.
“He’s including the line ‘It’s you and me until the end of time’ to show Jen he’s planning to spend the rest of his life with her.”
Aniston has a lot going on for her right now. She’s joined forces with her former Friends co-stars for a hugely-anticipated reunion episode, for starters. She’s also, hot off the back of winning her first SAG Award in 24 years, set to play professional sports manager Denise White in The Fixer – a drama which she isn’t just starring in, but producing, too.
Aniston’s also signed up for an untitled R-rated suburban parenting comedy with Sophie Goodhart. And she’s been helping shine a light on the hard work of medical staff, particularly nurses, during the coronavirus pandemic.
All of this is news that is well worth reporting on. What isn’t worth reporting, however, is this eternal meme of Aniston rekindling a romance with her ex-husband. The same ex-husband, we hasten to add, that she dumped decades ago for cheating on her.
It’s not just us who have grown tired of this ceaseless feverish whispering about Aniston and Pitt. Indeed, the Friends actor herself has spoken out against the coverage, pointing out that it feeds into a stigma attached to so many women in the public eye, whether they’re single, divorced, or living a child-free lifestyle.
“My marital status has been shamed; my divorce status was shamed; my lack of a mate had been shamed; my nipples have been shamed,” she said previously.
“It’s like, why are we only looking at women through this particular lens of picking us apart? Why are we listening to it?”
The award-winning actor added: “I just thought: I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human.”
Amen to that. And so, with this thought in mind, let’s stop forcing this “unbreakable bond” upon Aniston, because she deserves better. She is better. And she deserves to go through life making her own decisions and shaping her own destiny, rather than accepting whatever romantic fate the public decides to thrust upon her.
It’s been over a decade, guys. Let. It. Go.
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