For Jennifer Aniston, happiness comes first.
It's no secret to the world that the beloved star has been married twice. As Elle's January issue acknowledged about the actress, society has projected "all its double standards about women" onto Aniston ever since she shot to stardom on Friends. As a result, her personal life has been under a microscope for decades, no matter how much she closed herself off to the media.
Nowadays, she maintains barriers by also resisting a social media presence and sticking to TV appearances and magazine interviews in the event of a new project. In this one, she got candid about her own outlook on her 5-year marriage to Brad Pitt and more recent 2-year marriage to Justin Theroux. The star spoke of the relationships positively—and also of resisting fear when their ends approached.
"My marriages, they've been very successful, in [my] personal opinion. And when they came to an end, it was a choice that was made because we chose to be happy, and sometimes happiness didn't exist within that arrangement anymore," she explained to Elle. "Sure, there were bumps, and not every moment felt fantastic, obviously, but at the end of it, this is our one life and I would not stay in a situation out of fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being able to survive. To stay in a marriage based on fear feels like you're doing your one life a disservice. When the work has been put in and it doesn't seem that there's an option of it working, that's okay. That's not a failure. We have these clichés around all of this that need to be reworked and retooled, you know? Because it's very narrow-minded thinking."
Aniston has never been interested in those marriage clichés. "I also was never a kid who sat around and dreamed about a wedding, you know? Those were never my fantasies. When I was first popped the question, it was so foreign to me," she recalled of her childhood to Elle.
Today, she has more questions about those old-age ideals. "Why do we want a happy ending? How about just a happy existence? A happy process? We're all in process constantly," the Golden Globe winner asked. "What quantifies happiness in someone's life isn't the ideal that was created in the '50s. It's not like you hear that narrative about any men."
As a result, marital status is not a topic she wants society to focus on when it comes to her story because "you're diminishing everything I have succeeded at, and that I have built and created," she told the magazine. "It's such a shallow lens that people look through. It's the only place to point a finger at me as though it's my damage—like it's some sort of a scarlet letter on me that I haven't yet procreated, or maybe won't ever procreate."
The question of children has long trailed Aniston and, as she candidly answered to Elle, the possibility has always felt "quite honestly, kind of frightening."
"Some people are just built to be wives and have babies. I don't know how naturally that comes to me," she said. However, Aniston left the subject on a question mark.
"Who knows what the future holds in terms of a child and a partnership—how that child comes in...or doesn't? And now with science and miracles, we can do things at different times than we used to be able to."
The January 2019 issue of Elle hits newsstands December 18.