The real reason Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux split

In news that shocked the world and left pretty much all of us believing that love is dead, Hollywood power couple Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced that their marriage was ending in February 2018. The estranged duo issued a joint statement to the The Associated Press that said, in part: "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. Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another."

The superstars didn't have much more to say about the matter publicly, though Theroux did crack the door open a bit later that year. However, questions abound about the dynamics between the pair. Aniston and Theroux reportedly got together in 2011, got engaged in 2012, and got married in 2015. Everything seemed peachy keen from the outside, so what the heck happened to this seemingly happy husband and wife? Let's explore some of the potential reasons these two went their separate ways.

They had too little in common

A source told E! News that despite their mutual penchant for wearing black, Aniston and Theroux are simply from two different worlds. "Jennifer and Justin fell in love hard and fast and yet they were never really suited to one another. He was a New York hipster that loved the alternative lifestyle and Jennifer was living a much more reclusive life when they first started to fall in love. The initial chemistry between them made it easy for them to ignore their differences and incompatibility ... He's more nomadic, more of a free spirit, he's rugged and urban and Jennifer just isn't that kind of person." 

Insiders also claimed that Theroux partying with "edgy" New Yorkers was a minus for Aniston — and that Theroux may have gotten too close with photographer Petra Collins while Aniston was home in Los Angeles. "The reality is he's been partying with all sorts of people in New York and couldn't have looked less like a married man," a source told The Sun. "He's been pretty much living in New York full time and growing close to other people, so it was only a matter of time ... The arty scene really embraced him. He's a quirky character with very diverse interests. He loves fashion, design and, weirdly, has a collection of human teeth. The reality is Jen just doesn't fit in. She's a home girl who likes cozy nights in with friends. He wants to feel cutting-edge and different."

They were insanely busy

A source told People that hectic schedules allegedly played a role in the couple's demise. "For years, even before they married, they compromised and did their own thing. It has involved long separations, especially for their work demands." Their last year together was particularly grueling: After Theroux wrapped up work on The Leftovers, he did voiceover work for The Lego Ninjago Movie, appeared in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, filmed three more movies, and signed on for the TV show Maniac. Meanwhile, Aniston starred in The Yellow Birds, filmed Dumplin', and signed on to an Apple TV project with Reese Witherspoon titled The Morning Show.

A source told Radar Online, "Jen's proud of Justin's work but she'd be lying if she said she wasn't looking forward to the end of his HBO series, The Leftovers, which has relocated to Australia for its third season." The insider claimed that "after Justin told her bosses were leaving a door open should HBO want another series, Jen flipped out ... It would have been better if he could have gotten a serious movie career off the ground as that only involves him being away for six weeks instead of six months."

They may have had a faulty foundation

Jennifer Aniston often gets painted as the victim of man-stealing Angelina Jolie, but it turns out she may have been a homewrecker herself. Before shacking up with Aniston in 2011, Justin Theroux had been in a live-in relationship with stylist Heidi Bivens for 14 years. According to Bivens' mother, who spoke to Radar Online, "Heidi told me what Justin had told her [after they broke up], that something was going to be written about him and Jennifer, that something was going on between them and he wanted her to know that it was nothing, there was nothing to it. Out of his own mouth he told my daughter there was nothing to [the news he was involved with Jennifer]."

A source told Grazia magazine (via Page Six), that Aniston tried to mend fences with Bivens. "Jen told Heidi that she understands what a painful time she has been going through and explained that she wanted her to know, hand on heart, that she would never steal another woman's man," the insider said."

They lived on separate coasts

The biggest hurdle for Aniston and Theroux's marriage may have been the physical distance between them. "Jennifer loves her life in Los Angeles, and if anything, she has grown more attached to being there," a source told People. "Justin is not that comfortable or happy in Los Angeles all the time. He loves New York and always has." An insider told Us Weekly that "Jen tried the whole living in New York City thing with Justin, but at heart, she is a California girl ... Encouraging Justin to spend as much time as he wanted in New York City is what doomed the marriage. Jen thought by doing so, spending time without her would make Justin miss her more."

A supposed friend of the pair allegedly saw the split coming, telling In Touch: "Jen and Justin have arguments about where they should live. Jen can't stand the weather in New York and she hates not having a car in the city to drive to wherever she needs to go..."

Did her eating habits annoy him?

The ever-toned Jennifer Aniston is one of Hollywood's most beautiful women and has been since she hit the big time with Friends — and she puts a lot of work into staying that way. Did her strict diet bother Justin Theroux? That's what the tabloids would like you to believe.

A source told Radar Online in early February 2018, "Jen is banning all kinds of food from the house, and even though she's barely spending any time in New York these days, she won't let Justin have them at the apartment either. Right now, she won't touch anything with soy or dairy in it and freaks out if she so much as sees them in the fridge." The insider claimed Aniston's behavior went beyond just watching her own girlish figure, alleging, "It's just Jen's latest way of controlling him."  

But you may want to digest this morsel of gossip with a sprinkling of salt because Aniston has also talked about Theroux's dietary influence on her, even gushing about his skills in the kitchen. "Justin and I both cook but he is a better cook than me," she said (via The Telegraph.) "Pasta has been brought back into my life because of him so I don't know whether I should thank him or hate him for that."

The womb watch took its toll

Jennifer Aniston's womb has been a constant source of media scrutiny since her days as Mrs. Brad Pitt, and her marriage to Justin Theroux brought out even more tabloid hawks. That devastated her, likely adding to tension within the marriage.

In a blistering op-ed for The Huffington Post in July 2016, Aniston wrote: "For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up ... I may become a mother someday ... But I'm not in pursuit of motherhood because I feel incomplete in some way ... I resent being made to feel 'less than' because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: 'pregnant' or 'fat.' Not to mention the painful awkwardness that comes with being congratulated by friends, coworkers and strangers alike on one's fictional pregnancy (often a dozen times in a single day)."

Unfortunately, her op-ed didn't necessarily help. As Aniston told Vogue in August 2017, "I think the problem is the tabloids and the gossip columns taking the human body and putting it in a category. They're either fat-shaming, or body-shaming, or childless-shaming ... I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human..." 

She may not like his bros

No one says you have to love all of your spouse's friends, but in light of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements, Aniston was allegedly even more frustrated with Theroux's bro brood than ever — in part because of the old adage, "You are the company you keep." 

A source told E! News that Aniston's "friendship group was small and consisted of people that she intimately trusted." According to a Radar Online insider, the actress was "really freaked out by all of the harassment stories around Hollywood" and that "led to a reality check when it comes to Justin and his oddball buddies like Terry Richardson, Danny Masterson, and even Louis C.K." (Richardson, Masterson, and C.K. were all accused of some form of sexual misconduct or sexual assault; only C.K. admitted guilt.) "These are all guys Justin seriously respected, but Jen's demanding he have no association with them going forward," the Radar source alleged. "Justin likes to play up his edgy 'street cred' and his cool New York friends, but this is way more controversial than Jen would like, especially when she's dealing with her big corporate sponsors like Smart Water or production partners like Apple."

Jealousy and insecurity allegedly created tension

Insiders claim Jennifer Aniston was often jealous of Justin Theroux's interactions with other women, especially on set — which, given the history of Brangelina, would be pretty understandable for her. A source told Radar Online that Theroux had gotten "close" to co-star Emma Stone while filming Maniac. "Justin can be pretty flirtatious when Jen's not around ... Right now there's more friction than trust between Justin and Jen." InTouch served up more of the same. "Every time he does actually get time off and manages to come to the same city, he hangs out with everybody but [Aniston]," a source alleged. "Jen has grown incredibly jealous ... [His friendships with women] have been one of the couple's chief problems."

Others point to Theroux having problems grappling with Aniston's past relationships — particularly a certain guy by the name of Brad Pitt. Us Weekly reported that the Friends actress kept mementos from her romance with the World War Z star, and according to the magazine's sources, those keepsakes rubbed Theroux the wrong way. "He stumbled upon old Post-it notes Brad had written," an insider said. "Sweet little Post-its like, 'You looked nice tonight' or 'Miss you already.' Jen assured him they weren't a big deal, but Justin wasn't thrilled ... Justin had moments of insecurity like that."

Frankly, this is the kind of stuff plenty of couples try to work through, but doing so in the spotlight may have proved too much for this pair.

The media attention was overwhelming

The media attention that surrounds all things Jennifer Aniston may have hurt the marriage. Justin Theroux reported "hated" the extra attention, a source told E! News. "He fell in love with Jennifer so it was something he came to accept ... Everyone around him knew it wasn't really who he was."

Theroux touched on the topic with The New York Times in 2018. "How do you combat gossip and rumor?" he said. "And it's just on crack and steroids now." Though the actor and his ex-wife have remained very tight-lipped about their relationship, he did touch on the divorce in his interview with the Times. "The good news is that was probably the most — I'm choosing my words really carefully — it was kind of the most gentle separation, in that there was no animosity," he said. "In a weird way, just sort of navigating the inevitable perception of it is the exhausting part."

"These are actually in reality small events that take place," he said. "But everything can feel like 10 on the Richter scale if you make the headline big enough and salacious enough."

Speaking of a 10 on the Richter scale of celebrity gossip...

They were engulfed by the Brangelina bomb

When news broke that Angelina Jolie was divorcing Aniston's ex-husband, Brad Pitt, Radar Online reported that Justin Theroux grew to resent the paparazzi even more. One insider claimed he even felt used by his wife. "The moment this divorce news was announced it was all about calculating [Aniston's] next public appearance and timing it in a way that would embarrass Brad and Angie," the source alleged. "Justin hates this, being dragged around like a pawn in her PR game ... It's a huge source of tension."

A source also accused Theroux of leaving Aniston to fend for herself at the Golden Globes in January 2018. "Jen was absolutely lost without [Theroux]," an insider told In Touch. "He knew Angie would be there, and he picked the worst time to not support his wife ... It would be the worst kind of public humiliation because she and Justin have put on such a united front about being one of the happiest couples in Hollywood."

She'll forever be linked to Brad Pitt

As soon as both Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were both back on the market, the rumor mill went wild with reconciliation rumors. In December 2017, a source told InTouch that Pitt reached out to Aniston in the wake of his own split. "Brad's conversations with Jen have helped him negotiate his new life as he's getting divorced. He feels a deep connection with her ... Brad would take a second chance at love with Jen in a heartbeat," the insider claimed. When news of Aniston's split broke, a source told InTouch that the actress supposedly "confided" in Pitt "about all the missteps and problems in the relationship [with Justin Theroux], and Brad provided the calming words that she needed to hear."

But don't get your hopes up for some sort of romantic sequel between these two. A source told People that Aniston and Pitt "have become totally different people than who they once were when they were together ... They broke up, and they did it because they had serious issues. They're not stupid. They remember why it didn't work." The source added, "They've been over each other for longer than they were ever together. It is such ancient history."

Counseling couldn't bridge the divide

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux allegedly sought professional help to get their marriage back on track, but it was apparently all for naught. A source told Us Weekly they "had been in couples counseling long before they married. They tried to work through issues relating to their very different lifestyles, communication and, of course, the New York City vs. Los Angeles living arrangement." 

Though the counseling did not preserve their union, it may have helped immeasurably with the uncoupling. According to the Us Weekly insider, "The counseling has been a huge factor in how Jen is dealing with the breakup. She feels that she truly gave it her best effort. There isn't anger, but rather a deep sadness from Jen that the marriage is ending. It just came down to the realization that the issues were never going to change. Jen is at peace with it."

Theroux echoed that sentiment, telling The New York Times that splitting up "was heartbreaking ... But the friendship is shifting and changing, you know, so that part is something that we're both very proud of."