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Did you hear about Brad Pitt's ex-wife getting remarried?
We kid. Sort of.
Because as recently as January—a full 10 years after their marriage ended—reporters were asking Jennifer Aniston about her divorce. Or, to work around that awkwardness, asking her about being asked about her divorce.
And we're not talking, ahem, entertainment sites, either. This was CBS News!
"I mean, I don't like it when people bring it up. But people still do, right?" CBS Sunday Morning's Lee Cowan, who brought up his own divorce (in 1999, and he remarried in 2012) as a way into that line of questioning.
"I don't find it painful, though," replied Aniston, who at the time had been engaged to Justin Theroux for two and a half years. "I think it's a narrative that follows you because it's an interesting headline. It's more of a media-driven topic."
Because all actual evidence points to the fact that Aniston was over her four-and-a-half-year marriage to Pitt long before the rest of us were.
And why is that, exactly? Perhaps at the time it seemed such a clear case of Good vs. Angie, of a Friends sweetheart whose hubby was stolen by tattooed bad girl Angelina Jolie, whose Oscar win in 2000 at the time had done little to diminish her image as a blood-wearing, loves-a-guy-so-much-she-wants-to-kill-him, pouty-lipped temptress. (Even in just writing those words, we're stricken by how freakin' long ago that was.)
But why did it take so long to believe that Aniston wasn't some lovelorn, pining ex-wife? Were people that desperate for a symbol to stand in for everyone who got screwed in the husband-went-off-with-someone-else department?
There was a time where "well, at least I'm not Jennifer Aniston" resounded whenever heartbreak struck—though not because her breakup was so much worse than anyone else's (thought that "Domestic Bliss" W spread Brangelina did in July 2005 remains distastefully timed to this day). It's that her breakup was talked about—and rehashed, and revived, and referred to—so much.
Even Vogue refueled the flame in December 2008, nearly four years after the fact (the fact including the actual divorce in January 2005 and Aniston's definitive interview on the subject, published in Vanity Fair's September 2005 issue). The fashion mag, featuring a radiant Jen on the cover, went with the pullout quote, "'What Angelina Did Was Very Uncool."
And they weren't referring to Changeling.
Meanwhile, though Aniston stopped the finger-pointing back in the aughts, Pitt then went and told Parade in 2011 that he spent so much time in the late 1990s hiding out from the Hollywood machine, he started to get "sick of [himself]" soon after—somewhat due to his marriage. He and Aniston met in 1998 and tied the knot in 2000.
"I think my marriage had something to do with it: trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn't," he recalled.
Pitt actually got so much flak for dredging up the past like that, he told E! News afterward that he was pained by the way his comments were interpreted as anti-Aniston.
"It grieves me that this was interpreted this way," he said, "Jen is an incredibly giving, loving, and hilarious woman who remains my friend. It is an important relationship I value greatly. 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."
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So then in 2013, when Pitt referred again to this wasted period of his life, he was more vague. "This was about a decade ago," he told Esquire.
Maybe it was a surprise to Aniston to find out that her fruitful late 1990s and early 2000s were her ex-husband's days of wine and roses. (Or, more likely, she knew. Because she and Brad, you know, were married and used to talk about their lives with each other. And it was just a surprise to the rest of us.)
Then, of course, there were always the people who just hoped that Pitt and Aniston would get back together, because they were together first and that's just how things should be.
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But Jen didn't let the bum rush get her down. She dated steadily before coupling up for the long haul with the very dashing Theroux, her beaus including John Mayer (and if that doesn't signal "I'm having a good time," we don't know what does) and Vince Vaughn. She maintained a tight-knit group of girlfriends who helped her through the rough patches, and she and Justin also keep company with a solid circle of fellow celebs.
And then she up and defied the naysayers who were just waiting for her long engagement to Theroux to peter out—and married the man! On a Wednesday! With many of those cool friends in attendance!
So way to go, Jennifer Aniston, on the nuptials and on rising above. You may just have convinced a few people that you're over that what's-his-name.