Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux have split after just two and a half years of marriage.
The decision to go their separate ways ‘was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year’, according to a statement released on Thursday through the FRIENDS actor and her publicist.
The couple, who describe themselves as ‘best friends’, say they would have handled their separation privately, but they wanted to put a stop to tabloid speculation and ‘convey the truth directly.’
The full statement via spokesman Stephen Huvane reads:
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 statement concluded:
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.
Meanwhile, Jennifer celebrated her 49th birthday just days ago and Justin was absent in the photos shared on social media from the festivities in Malibu, California.
On Monday, she was pictured with Friends co-star Courtney Cox:
The pair’s separation may come as a surprise to many, who follow the private affairs of celebrities, as Justin had previously described Jennifer as his ‘ally’.
In April 2017, he told United Airlines’ Rhapsody magazine:
Marriage makes the small things much smaller and the big things small. You have an ally. It’s good to have someone have your back.
It’s so much more special when it’s just your closest friends and family and it’s lovely. [We] wanted it to be a peaceful environment, you don’t want it to be hectic.
Jennifer and Justin met on set of the Ben Stiller and Jack Black comedy, Tropic Thunder back in 2007.
Despite becoming friends, they drifted and reconnected while working together on 2012’s Wanderlust, when they ultimately began dating.
They decided to tie the knot in a secret wedding ceremony back in August 2015 in the backyard of Aniston’s Bel Air home.
It was pure joy to see the celebrity couple send the gossip journalists west with the news.
Aniston was previously married to Brad Pitt from 2000 – 2005, after the two had met in 1998.
Brad and Jennifer famously announced their separation in January 2005 before it was finalised nine months later.
There was famously plenty of speculation whether or not Pitt had been unfaithful to Aniston with Mr. And Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie.
Pitt, who had six children with his second wife, married Jolie in 2014 before separating two years later.
It’s taken Twitter about five minutes to realise Aniston and Pitt are now both single:
ALL I'M SAYING is that jennifer aniston and brad pitt are now both single at the same time
— Alex Bruce-Smith (@alexbrucesmith) February 15, 2018
If Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston reunite. This will be me… pic.twitter.com/JflsgV9K9u
— Nina Diana (@ninadonline) February 15, 2018
My reaction to Jennifer Aniston separation news?but realized both her and Brad Pitt are single? pic.twitter.com/RJj9UWxgxg
— Hani Lee (@HaniLee1) February 15, 2018
Brad Pitt turning up at Jennifer Aniston's place like pic.twitter.com/u4uGJ57NoO
— Daniel (@Daniel_Reilly1) February 15, 2018
— marissa (@mersshhh) February 15, 2018
Jennifer Aniston: single ✔️
Brad Pitt: single ✔️ pic.twitter.com/glMAiNSQXz
— coloradainútil (@soyluluuu) February 16, 2018
While FRIENDS fans and people who love to observe gossip and drama lose their collective minds, I’m sure Jen is penning another brilliant open letter kindly requesting people stop sticking their noses in.
Keep doing you, Jen!