I picked up a magazine for the train ride home this weekend. It was Grazia or something like it. And the front page story was something about how we should all feel sorry for Jennifer Aniston for some new relationship drama or other.
As someone who spends a considerable amount of time in doctor’s waiting rooms I’ve read a frankly ridiculous number of Poor Jen articles over the years. So while it seems that this latest crisis is already passed, and Poor Jen is now actually engaged, I’d be willing to bet this blog that the next one is just around the corner.
Which is why I’m still going to go ahead and post this list that I wrote on Sunday of the reasons why I’ve never found Jennifer Aniston a pity-inducing figure.
1. She looks like this:
Jennifer Aniston was a cast member on one of the most successful television series of all time – making her one of the most successful actresses of all time.
Her ten-year career portraying Rachel Green in Friends netted her an Emmy in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actress in Comedy Series, and was the spring-board to an unfathomably successful film career that has spanned another decade.
Aniston reportedly collected a $1 million pay check for each episode of the final season of Friends which also, along with her colleagues Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, made her one of the highest paid actresses of all time.
3. She’s fabulously wealthy. Aniston’s net worth is estimated as being somewhere between £110-150 million dollars.
4. She appears to be the picture of health:
5. She has an adorable dog:
6. Brad Pitt.
Yes, I know they’ve been divorced for the last seven years, but Aniston had him during his best years, when he was the All American Poster Boy. Before he adopted the Ozzy Osbourne meets life-long homeless guy look that he’s been sporting throughout most of his relationship with Angelina Jolie.
And since divorcing Pitt she’s dated a string of the most eligible men in Hollywood. Every one of them apparently handsome, charismatic, and successful.
7. She has a beautiful home. Three of them, actually.
8. George Clooney.
Since divorcing Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston appears to have lived essentially the same lifestyle as George Clooney. Yet while Clooney has been lauded as a playboy, acres of news print have been devoted to how sad and lonely Aniston’s life must be.
It’s not so much the double standard that bothers me, because I don’t think George Clooney’s apparent inability to sustain a long-term relationship, despite being one of the most eligible men on earth and able to attract almost any mate he wanted, is particularly enviable either.
What bothers me is that no one seems surprised by the ongoing coverage of Aniston’s life. No-one appears to question the idea that a highly successful woman with so much going for her should be written about only in terms of her supposed desperation to hold on to a relationship.
No magazine editor appears able to comprehend the possibility that she could be happy on her own terms, with her own life and her own staggering successes.
And not only can they not imagine that she could be happy without a man, they insist that a woman who must have preternatural self-esteem is trying to cling on to any man who’ll have her for all she’s worth.
Otherwise she will never be ‘complete’.
Now, maybe this is actually the reality of her situation. Maybe desperation, rather than the pressures of intense media scrutiny and the difficulty of maintaining a normal relationship in the context of such a global level of recognition, or even plain old incompatibility, is the reason that she has remained single.
After all, no relationship could hope to withstand the pressure of such insane expectations.
But somehow it seems unlikely.
No, I think that Jennifer Aniston knows that her life is a pretty good gig. The engagement’s just the icing on her cake.