Jennifer Aniston is one of the most famous actresses in the world, but that doesn’t stop her coming under fire for the decisions she makes in her personal life. For years now, people have prodded her on why she hasn’t decided to have children, despite her enduring two very public divorces which played out heavily in the media.
Now, Jen is taking a stand for women everywhere, hitting back at the sexist comments that have attempted to overshadow her hugely successful career. In a recent (and very candid) interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the actress explains why women should stop being harassed over their personal stance on motherhood, and how the tabloids obsession with her family plans was incredibly damaging.
“I used to take it all very personally — the pregnancy rumors and the whole ‘Oh, she chose career over kids’ assumption,” she told the publication. “It’s like, ‘You have no clue what’s going with me personally, medically, why I can’t … can I have kids?’ They don’t know anything, and it was really hurtful and just nasty.”
Jen has never been one to stay quiet when it comes to women’s rights, and given her experiences, we can understand why. Despite all the hardship and heartache, she retains a sense of humour when it comes to the highly emotional subject.
“Although I haven’t seen a tabloid in so long. Am I still having twins? Am I going to be the miracle mother at 52?” she said jokingly, poking fun at the industries long-standing obsession with her reproductive choices.
She then went on to address the double standards she’s experienced within the industry, saying, “It’s the same with Dolly Parton; Dolly Parton never had kids. But are people giving her shit for it? No, no one’s tried to put her in a white picket fence.”
After her very public split from Brad Pitt in 2005, Jen found herself on the receiving end of unrelenting scrutiny, particularly around her decision to start a family with him. The media was quick to spin the narrative that Aniston refused to have children, as a result of being too focused on her career. The poor Pitt, then was forced to find himself another partner who was willing to have kids (enter, Angelina Jolie). As we know, these reports are completely fabricated, not to mention incredibly damaging and misogynistic.
For Aniston, she was incredibly angry over the false narrative the media had spun. In fact, in her first interview since the split (which she took with Vanity Fair in 2006), Jen described herself as “incredibly pissed off.”
“A man divorcing would never be accused of choosing career over children,” she told the publication at the time. “I’ve never in my life said I didn’t want to have children. I did and I do and I will! The women that inspire me are the ones who have careers and children; why would I want to limit myself? I’ve always wanted to have children, and I would never give up that experience for a career. I want to have it all,” she continued.
Aniston then went on to marry actor Justin Theroux in 2015 (with the pair then divorcing in 2018). During this marriage, the actress found herself facing the same scrutiny. Understandably, she was exhausted by this point, leading her to pen an essay for HuffPost in 2016 to reclaim the narrative.
“The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time … but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children,” she wrote.
She then went on to address the “warped” cultural standards our society still holds when it comes to women and how their worth has been calculated both historically and to this day.
Jen concluded by writing:
“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.”