Why Jennifer Aniston may never escape Brad Pitt

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were the quintessential celebrity couple. Jennifer was hands-down the hottest TV star of the '90s and easily transitioning to film, while Brad was not only the most sought-after movie star, but also named People's "Sexiest Man Alive" twice during their courtship. They got married in the summer of 2000, as if to coronate the end of the '90s with the union of its most glamorous stars.

But five short years later, that all came crashing down. Pitt moved on quickly to what would become a long-term relationship with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie. Aniston was left looking like the jilted divorcée. It's no surprise the public has been fascinated with tracking Aniston's post-Pitt endeavors, but will she ever be able to truly distance herself from her ex-husband's dramatic life? Here are some reasons why it may be impossible for fans to let go of Jennifrad (nailed it).

The internet runs on nostalgia

If the internet needed fuel, it would run off a blend of cat pictures, memes, porn, and '90s nostalgia, so it's no surprise that an obsession with that decade's royal couple remains. As long as there are lists like "The Best Celebrity Couples Of All Time," or "Dream Couples We Couldn't Believe Didn't Make It," Brad and Jen are always going to resurface. They're a reference point for a time when the two most desirable celebrities that everyone wanted to be a couple actually became a couple. It was almost too much popularity to fathom.

When the Brangelina divorce news broke in September 2016, social media confirmed that a whole lot of the world is still Team Jen, even though she's been over it for the better part of a decade.

Pitt has kids; Aniston doesn't

Part of what makes Brangelina so famous is its brood of kids. The couple share six children. Aniston doesn't have any.

Previously, tabloids speculated that Aniston and Pitt split because she didn't want to have children, which she denied. She told Vanity Fair in 2005, "I've never in my life said I didn't want to have children. I did, and I do, and I will!" Friends of Aniston's claimed that during her marriage to Pitt, having a child was not Pitt's priority at all. "It was an abstract desire for him, whereas for Jen it was much more immediate," a friend told Vanity Fair.

And yet, Pitt and Jolie wasted no time starting a family. They had their first biological child, Shiloh, exactly two years after they allegedly fell in love on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. To put that in perspective, Pitt's divorce from Aniston wasn't even finalized until just three months before Shiloh was born. So, for five years of marriage either Pitt and/or Aniston couldn't conceive or didn't want to, which admittedly is nobody's business, but strikes a sharp contrast to the rapid family expansion Pitt pursued with Jolie.

At this point, Aniston is thoroughly exhausted by the world's infatuation with her reproductive system. She has penned essays about how offensive it is to speculate. "I just find it to be energy that is unnecessary and not really fair for those who may or may not [have children]," she told People in 2014. "Who knows what the reason is, why people aren't having kids. There's a lot of reasons that could be, and maybe it's something that no one wants to discuss."

On the Today show she explained, "I don't have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done and…if they're not checked then I've failed some part of my feminism, or my being a woman, or my worth or my value as a woman. I've birthed a lot of things, and I feel like I've mothered many things. And I don't think it's fair to put that pressure on people."

The guys she dated after Pitt

While it's undoubtedly untoward that Pitt and Jolie likely had an affair, which led to the breakup of his marriage, it must be said that at least it wasn't a fleeting tryst. And Pitt wasn't exactly slumming it when he moved from Aniston to Jolie. Aniston rebounded from Pitt to actor Vince Vaughn, which some suggested was like trading your Ferrari for a moped. Then the tabloids mercilessly linked Aniston to basically every one of her co-stars until she landed in a relationship with the self-identifying lothario John Mayer.

Aniston married actor Justin Theroux in 2015, who is admittedly a successful and handsome guy, but with Pitt returning to the market, tabloids are already circulating rumors that Aniston could be available again soon, implying a Pitt-Aniston reunion is possible. Aniston's rep said that kind of talk is "a complete fabrication," insisting the actress is not about to kick her husband to the curb.

Jolie and Pitt were philanthropic goliaths

Between Pitt's efforts to help New Orleans recover after Hurricane Katrina and Jolie's countless charitable endeavors in third-wold countries, not the least of which includes her work with the United Nations, Bragelina's philanthropic efforts were well documented. Yes, they're still glamorous movie stars living a life of wealth and privilege, but there's no questioning their pursuits to give back.

Aniston, meanwhile, is best known for shilling bottled water and lotion and for her role in the Horrible Bosses movies, also known as the flicks where she says a bunch of dirty stuff to Charlie from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. When you're stuck making the same rom-com every year with whoever the hot young actor is at the moment while your ex and his new wife are out trying to literally save the world, that comparison is going to stick. A

Brangelina is over

Many people would argue that Pitt and Jolie's relationship proved its authenticity, despite its dubious beginning, but others will always view Pitt as a cheater and Jolie as a homewrecker. For some, no army of beautiful kids, no amount of charitable works, and no award-winning performances were going to win over the haters, and this sort of Hollywood bloodsport always somehow ends up referencing Aniston. There's no escape.

"Oh, Angelina's doing outreach in Sudan? That's just because she wants everyone to forget she stole Jennifer Aniston's husband!"

"Did you say Brad Pitt's up for an Oscar? What's the category? Biggest jerk who broke Jennifer Aniston's heart?"

Now that Brangelina is falling apart, brace yourself for tabloid covers connecting Aniston to the divorce, the custody battle, the heartache, and the healing. Almost immediately after news broke that Jolie filed divorce papers in September 2016, the sheer number of memes about Aniston's reaction to that news nearly broke the internet. Aniston will be tethered to every theory—anything but what's likely the truth: she has moved on and doesn't care anymore.

Chelsea Handler won't shut up about Jolie

When Chelsea Handler had her late night talk show on E!, she loved to slam Jolie. The actress' controversial pre-Pitt, pre-humanitarian, pre-motherhood relationship exploits made her a monologue joke writer's dream for years. But then, Handler actually became friends with Aniston, so now when Handler gets flack for mentioning Jolie, she often includes the caveat: "Oh, I used to say all of this before I even knew Jennifer Aniston." That seemingly innocuous statement not only inadvertently ties Aniston's name to the joke, but also sort of makes Aniston seem complicit in the mockery. And now that Brangelina is crumbling, Handler will have tons of new material that could entangle Aniston.

Her projects don't always do well

Post-Friends, Aniston capitalized on her celebrity (including, to some degree, her marriage to an A-list movie actor) to jump into big screen projects. Unfortunately, she doesn't always pick great movies. She earned some good will for her star turn in The Good Girl (2002); critics and audiences praised her performance. Unfortunately, she followed that indie darling with trite romcom roles in Bruce Almighty (2003) and Along Came Polly (2004), which performed well in the box office but didn't expand her horizons. She tried to roughen up her image with Derailed (2005), which bombed critically and commercially.

Perhaps as a result of that failure, Aniston has basically played Rachel Green for the last decade, with the exceptions of Cake (2014), for which she was critically lauded for frowning and not wearing makeup, and the Horrible Bosses franchise, which allowed her to have fun playing against type as a pervy dentist. Her most recent effort, the ensemble Mother's Day (2016), earned poor reviews and box office returns. Maybe if her work was worth the fuss, her personal life wouldn't seem as intriguing.

​Pitt may have cheated again

What goes around comes around. When Pitt left Aniston for Jolie, the world was obsessed with the narrative that Aniston was a scorned woman living in the shadow of Brangelina. Now that Pitt and Jolie are done, the rumor mill is full of whispers that Pitt got close to his Allied (2016) co-star Marion Cotillard behind Jolie's back. This gossip could either detract attention from Aniston or reconnect her to Jolie in ways both women would probably prefer to avoid.

​They may share bad habits

Aniston has admitted to enjoying ganja. In 1999, while married to Pitt, she told Rolling Stone (via the Daily Mail), "I enjoy it once in a while. There is nothing wrong with that. Everything in moderation. I wouldn't call myself a pothead." She added, "It's not even cocaine or shooting heroin."

Pitt, for a while, didn't see it as so harmless, telling Parade in 2012, "I spent the '90s trying to hide out, trying to duck the full celebrity cacophony. I started to get sick of myself sitting on a couch, holding a joint, hiding out. It started feeling pathetic. It became very clear to me that I was intent on trying to find a movie about an interesting life but I wasn't living an interesting life myself. I think that my marriage [to Jennifer] had something to do with it. Trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn't."

However, sources say it was Pitt's alleged love of alcohol and marijuana that drove a wedge between him and Jolie, so perhaps he and Aniston have at least one thing left in common.