If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past week, you may have heard about Hollywood power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie getting a divorce. How sad, etc. Alright. But everyone’s linking it to Jennifer Aniston, who was married to Brad herself over ten years ago, and, yes, it bothers me. It is ridiculously sexist to reduce such a successful woman’s career and entire self to a failed relationship that everyone involved in moved on from ages ago. Jennifer Aniston is one of the lucky actors who has managed to stay relevant and active for over 20 years after starring in the beloved sitcom Friends (1994 – 2004), not to mention that she is happily married to actor, scriptwriter and director Justin Theroux now. So, instead of going over the details of her former relationship with Pitt, let’s go over the facts that we should bear in mind when thinking about this woman.
She starred in the most relevant sitcom of all time
She starred alongside Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer in quite possibly the only TV show everyone’s seen at least one episode of. No matter how old you are or how much time’s passed, Friends will always be relevant. Somehow you just see yourself in one/more than one of these pals, and the jokes. Oh, the jokes. They’ll never get old.
Her film career
Both while she was playing Rachel Green and after Friends ended, Jennifer Aniston’s career has always been admirable. It’s true she may not have done many critically acclaimed films, in the sense that they’ve never been the type of film to be nominated for the Oscars or other big awards (she did star in Cake in 2014, and her performance received strong praise, to the point that she was up for a Golden Globe), but for many years she was always America’s go-to sweetheart when it came to rom-com’s. From Along Came Polly to the most recent Horrible Bosses films, she is the queen of light comedies and movies that are generally remembered fondly by the audience, which is an accomplishment in itself.
Top-Earning Actress & Most Beautiful Woman (2016)
Even if most people in Hollywood make a ridiculous amount of money every year, I imagine it must be hard to get yourself in the Top Earning Actresses – not to mention achieving that every year in a row since 2001. Jennifer Aniston is currently the 4th on the list, which isn’t bad at all, so there is something to be said about her career, how long it’s been and how successful. Plus, she was elected the Most Beautiful Woman by PEOPLE earlier this year. A bit of a shallow achievement, but very surprising as the award didn’t go to any twenty-something breakthrough actress, as I was expecting. Itis good to know that she may be 47 now, but Jennifer Aniston’s beauty doesn’t go unnoticed.
Face, spokesperson and co-owner of countless brands
I have chosen not to focus on the brands she used to be the face of in the early years of her career; otherwise, I could be writing this article until next Friday, so I’m going to focus, instead, on the latest deals of her career. For example, she’s been the face and spokesperson of beauty brands such as Aveeno (since 2013) and MyEyeLove (2016), as well as being the face of the Emirates airline, which ranked as UAE’s top brand after she started visually representing the company, as explained in International Business Time.
Also, let’s not forget what’s been probably the most significant deal of her career when it comes to publicity: she’s been the face and spokesperson for SmartWater since 2007. In fact, back in 2011, she published a video for the company, which tripled the online interest in SmartWater.
Jennifer Aniston has shown support to many charities over the years: The Lili Claire Foundation, Friends of El Faro, RAINN, Friends Finding a Cure, Clothes Off Our Back, GLAAD, Stand Up to Cancer, to name a few. You can check the whole list here. However, the most remarkable one in her career, just like in many other celebrities’, is St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. Not only has she contributed to the cause several times, but she’s also appeared in many of the TV commercials supporting St. Jude’s. In fact, this year, Jennifer was honored by SmartWater for her philanthropic work for the hospital at an event in LA filled with other celebrities. There, Aniston talked about the importance of philanthropy in her career, saying, “We are very fortunate. […] We live an extremely beautiful, fortunate life being able to do what we get to do for a living. And so it’s a way of being able to be in a position to do something for people who are less able. It’s something that makes my heart smile.” (Instyle)
She won’t put up with your bullsh*t
For decades now, Jennifer Aniston’s life has been a national pastime. I really don’t know how she does it, and how she manages to stay sane. The tabloids have always had something to say about her, whether that’s her love life, her past failed relationships or the reason why she doesn’t have children – which, if I may, is a highly offensive topic no matter whether the woman in question is a famous actress or your hairdresser. About that, and after many years of putting up with everyone’s opinion on the matter of children and her (until recently) lack of a husband, Jennifer wrote a column for the Huffington Post, titled “For The Record.” In it, she stands up for women everywhere, complaining about the scrutiny we tend to put females through and how a husband and children, or lack thereof, doesn’t dictate a woman’s worth. “Here’s where I come out on this topic: we are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone. Let’s make that decision for ourselves and for the young women in this world who look to us as examples. Let’s make that decision consciously, outside of the tabloid noise. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own “happily ever after” for ourselves.” Big up to you, Jennifer Aniston.
Regarding Brad Pitt, one of the last interviews I’ve watched where she talks about the topic (which I’m sure wasn’t the last time she was asked about it) is one that she gave to Sunday Morning back in 2015. In it, she was asked if it was painful to be constantly questioned about her ex-husband. “I don’t find it painful, though. I think it’s a narrative that follows you because it’s an interesting headline. It’s more a media-driven topic, you know?” “You’ve moved on,” confirms the interviewer. “Well, everybody has.”
So there you have it. She’s moved on – why can’t the media? Let’s focus on what makes Jennifer Aniston great, which is a long list of achievements, and stop linking her to a failed marriage that no longer has anything to do with her.