The consensus is that Brad Pitt couldn’t resist Angelina Jolie’s feminine wiles on the set of their 2005 film Mr. and Mrs. Smith, so he quickly abandoned Aniston for the younger, more sensual Jolie. Underpinning this theory is the widespread belief that Angelina offered something Jennifer didn’t: the opportunity to have children.
None of the parties have confirmed anything, but because Jennifer Aniston is a rare 40+ actress without a child, people have shamelessly peddled rumors about her desire to become a mother and how this may have essentially splintered her five-year marriage with Brad. Never mind that Brad is universally believed to have had an extramarital affair with Angelina, let’s center the controversy around a woman’s choice, or supposed lack thereof, of building a family — even though we have no proof supporting our conjecture.
It’s high time we break down this commonly held assumption and dig deeper into Brad and Jennifer’s attitudes regarding parenting.
Jennifer has always wanted to be a mother: “I did, and I do and I will!”
Just because a woman doesn’t fancy welcoming a baby, does this mean she’s completely worthless as an individual and her male partner has every right in the world to cast her aside?
For starters, Jennifer Aniston has never been opposed to having children, so the public running away with this narrative is nothing short of devious. You’re basically looking for any odd excuse to attribute fault to the woman rather than examine the man at the centre of the whole fiasco. Brad’s actions directly catalyzed the entire chain of events, so deliberately blaming Jennifer does nothing but quench the masses’ thirst for vilifying women. In a revealing profile on Vanity Fair a year after her divorce, Jennifer reaffirmed her yearning to experience motherhood.
I’ve never in my life said I didn’t want to have children. I did and I do and I will!
Jennifer Aniston to Vanity Fair
The Friends star outlined the double standard associated with singling out her childless status to perpetuate a myth. She was only in her mid-thirties at the time, so it seems even more bizarre in hindsight that the public would lambast their beloved Rachel for focusing on her profession. “A man divorcing would never be accused of choosing career over children,” she said. She added how she’s always modeled her life on women who can balance their work with family, those who can seemingly “have it all.” She doesn’t want to limit herself in the least and would “ never give up” her family for a career.
Nonetheless, she ended up on the receiving end of a ferociously rumor mill. The public was desperate to identify an inciting cause to the split, so they chose to pile on her without fear of consequence. Nobody asked whether Brad wanted children or if the couple were emotionally ready for the responsibility.
In fact, a mutual friend told Vanity Fair that Brad, not Jennifer, was the one uncertain about parenthood. “When Brad and Jen were in the marriage, having a baby was not his priority—ever,” they told the mag. It was more of an “abstract desire” for him but an “immediate” concern for Jennifer. The actress, upon completing the final season of Friends in 2004, even told The Guardian she’s ready to explore maternity quite soon. “It’s time. You know, I think you can work with a baby” she said at the time. “So I’m just truly looking forward to slowing down.”
So why did Brad decide to abandon her in favor of raising a family with Angelina?
If Brad was so hesitant at the time, why did he pursue the strenuous task of raising six children with Angelina Jolie?
According to sources, his journey into being a dad wasn’t so much an active decision but a natural byproduct of being in a relationship with Angelina. She’d been a single mother to son Maddox and was in the process of adopting her second child when she fell in love with Brad. That’s why he instinctively decided to step up to the plate and undertake the responsibilities of a father. If you’re dating a single parent, you’ll realize it’s next to impossible not to get attached to their child. They quickly become your family, and you can’t help but become a hands-on figure in the children’s lives. If that’s what truly happened with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, it’s no surprise why he decided to embrace the parenting adventure with arms wide open.
Obviously, we can’t confirm if this is what occurred, but looping back to Jennifer, this alleged account does explain why Brad seemed so willing to devote himself to parenthood with Angelina but not Jennifer. Nevertheless, it doesn’t explain why Jennifer Aniston faced the brunt of the abuse in the wake of the divorce announcement.
There is a pressure on women to be mothers, and if they are not, then they’re deemed damaged goods. Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do?
Jennifer Aniston to InStyle
She and Brad made a wonderful pair and undoubtedly bonded over a number of interests and passions, so does she automatically become a bad wife if she doesn’t have a child as quickly as she can? Is a woman denying her husband happiness if she chooses not give him a baby? Is her entire worth based on her decision to bring life into the planet and continue her husband’s bloodline?
Of course not, but that’s precisely how Jennifer has been positioned over the last sixteen years. Her choosing not to get pregnant has been cited as the number-one reason as to why their marriage failed, but shouldn’t a partnership be valued for more than its capacity for childrearing? Do you fall in love only to produce offspring, or do you actually want to achieve fulfillment and meaning and companionship?
Brad did the whole song and dance with Angelina: they welcomed six children — three adopted, three biological — they walked down the aisle, she changed her last name. They did everything a traditional couple would, but did it protect their marriage? Not at all; instead, they’re entrenched in a nasty custody battle at the moment that’s exposing the worst of a 12-year partnership. Having a baby isn’t going to “save” your relationship; sure, it can enrich your relationship and enable you and your partner to take upon new challenges, but will it make you happy? There’s no way of guaranteeing that.
There’s more to love than raising a family
Jennifer has been unjustifiably maligned in the lengthy Jen-Brad-Ang saga. Just because she dares to live as a childless, husband-less woman in her fifties, she’s immediately characterized as a mean spinster who’s never going to find someone to settle down with. The truth of the matter is that you shouldn’t pursue a relationship seriously if you aren’t in the same page regarding children. This decision can be a dealbreaker, so if you and your partner are of two minds about this, it’s better to go your separate ways — as tough as it may sound.
There’s no confirming what transcended between Jennifer and Brad — who wanted kids, who didn’t want kids, why did they wait so long — but she shouldn’t be deemed an unsuitable wife under any circumstance. Just because she didn’t pop out a few babies for Brad doesn’t mean her personality and companionship weren’t enough to sustain their marriage. Marriage and parenthood are two disparate entities, and you shouldn’t make the mistake of conflating them. Being a good wife is not synonymous with being a good mother, and vice versa. You are more than your ability to reproduce; before you venture into parenthood, consider your other qualities and ask yourself whether you need to work on yourself before devoting yourself to such an ordeal. If you believe you don’t need to add a few young ones to feel worthy, that’s a fair choice.