In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the Spy Who Dumped Me actor, who is next slated to star in a new television adaptation of his uncle Paul Theroux's novel Mosquito Coast for Apple TV+, discussed what it's like to have the press focus more on his personal life than his work.
"You know, it's interesting," Theroux told the outlet of the public's interest in his romantic life. "In ideal circumstances, you're known for what you do, or for the contributions you make in the arts, literature, movies, whatever. Even if it's a negative review, OK, that's fair play. But there are people who are only curious about the private lives of other people, and...I think the best thing to do is to train your eyes away from it. It creates a preconceived notion of who you are that's inaccurate."
He added, "It's frustrating, because you think, ‘Well, [novelist] John Updike doesn't have to put up with this s--t, and he's in the public eye.'"
Theroux and Aniston went public with their romance in 2011, and married in a private ceremony in 2015. In February 2018, however, the two announced that they had broken up. At the time, their statement acknowledged the public's fascination with their romance.
"In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation. This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship," the couple said in a joint statement to E! News at the time. "Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly. Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else's fictional narrative."
The former couple concluded, "Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another."
Since then, the exes have stayed true to their word. Theroux even posts an Instagram tribute on the Friends alum's birthday every year.
"Like it or not, we didn't have that dramatic split, and we love each other," he noted. "I'm sincere when I say that I cherish our friendship. We can not be together and still bring each other joy and friendship. Also, she makes me laugh very, very hard. She's a hilarious person. It would be a loss if we weren't in contact, for me personally. And I'd like to think the same for her."
Still, as Theroux will attest: Sometimes, it's just about the work, and not his ex.