Jennifer Aniston in her recent interview opens up about her marriages and why women need to stand in support of each other.
“We live in a society that messages women: By this age, you should be married; by this age, you should have children. That’s a fairy tale. That’s the mold we’re slowly trying to break out of,” she says.
The 49-year-old adds, “Why do we want a happy ending? How about just a happy existence? A happy process? We’re all in process constantly,” Aniston says. “What quantifies happiness in someone’s life isn’t the ideal that was created in the ’50s. It’s not like you hear that narrative about any men.”
“That’s part of sexism—it’s always the woman who’s scorned and heartbroken and a spinster. It’s never the opposite. The unfortunate thing is, a lot of it comes from women. Maybe those are women who haven’t figured out that they have the power, that they have the ability to achieve a sense of inner happiness.”
Aniston explains how marriage was never seen as a purpose in life, she wasn’t raised that way.
“I also was never a kid who sat around and dreamed about a wedding, you know? Those were never my fantasies. When I was first popped the question, it was so foreign to me,” said the actor.
“My priorities weren’t about finding partnership and who am I gonna marry and what am I gonna wear on my wedding day. I was building houses with shoe boxes and toilet paper and felt. It was always about finding a home that felt safe. And I’m sure, because I was from a divorced-parent home, that was another reason I wasn’t like, ‘Well, that looks like a great institution.’ ”
And in her opinion her marriages have been a success, “I don’t feel a void. I really don’t. My marriages, they’ve been very successful, in [my] personal opinion. And when they came to an end, it was a choice that was made because we chose to be happy, and sometimes happiness didn’t exist within that arrangement anymore.”
She continued, “Sure, there were bumps, and not every moment felt fantastic, obviously, but at the end of it, this is our one life and I would not stay in a situation out of fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being able to survive. To stay in a marriage based on fear feels like you’re doing your one life a disservice.”
“When the work has been put in and it doesn’t seem that there’s an option of it working, that’s okay. That’s not a failure. We have these clichés around all of this that need to be reworked and retooled, you know? Because it’s very narrow-minded thinking.”
But when people focus on her marital status “you’re diminishing everything I have succeeded at, and that I have built and created.”
“It’s such a shallow lens that people look through. It’s the only place to point a finger at me as though it’s my damage—like it’s some sort of a scarlet letter on me that I haven’t yet procreated, or maybe won’t ever procreate.”
She said the idea of a happy ending is “a very romantic idea. It’s a very storybook idea. I understand it, and I think for some people it does work. And it’s powerful and it’s incredible and it’s admirable. Even enviable. But everybody’s path is different.”
The Friends star admits that the idea of having children of her own is “quite honestly, kind of frightening.”
“Some people are just built to be wives and have babies. I don’t know how naturally that comes to me.” But as in many aspects of her life, she’s still open to other possibilities. “Who knows what the future holds in terms of a child and a partnership— how that child comes in…or doesn’t? And now with science and miracles, we can do things at different times than we used to be able to.”