Jennifer Aniston Said ‘Good-Bye’ to ‘Friends’ the Same Month Brad Pitt Met Angelina Jolie
Jennifer Aniston went through it in 2004. During that eventful year, the actress experienced some serious highs and lows. She said goodbye to the show that made her a star while expressing her desire to settle down and start a family.
But then she experienced the unexpected and swift breakdown of her marriage to Brad Pitt. Looking back on the timeline of Aniston and Pitt’s relationship, there is one month that stands out above all others.
Jennifer Aniston met Brad Pitt the year ‘Friends’ premiered
Aniston told Rolling Stone in a 2001 interview that she met Pitt casually back in 1994, the same year that Friends premiered on NBC. They met because their managers were friends, and Aniston recalled him being “just this sweet guy from Missouri.”
A few years later — after Aniston broke up with Tate Donovan and Pitt ended his romance with Gwyneth Paltrow — Aniston and Pitt’s managers set them up on a date. This was in 1998, and the duo really hit it off. They ended up dating for months in secret before making their red carpet debut at the Emmys in 1999.
After five months of dating the couple got engaged. They tied the knot on July 29, 2000, during a lavish wedding ceremony in Malibu. At the time, Aniston was excited about finding the man she believed she would spend the rest of her life with.
“You know if there’s ever an argument, it’s not like you can go, ‘Screw you, I’m outta here!'” Anistoned explained. “You’re there for the long haul. It’s a beautiful thing to actually realize that for the first time, to have that knowing. It takes the heat and the weight out of things.”
Brad Pitt guest-starred in ‘The One with the Rumor’
A little over one year into their marriage, Pitt was still one of the biggest movie stars in the world. At the same time, Aniston was America’s sweetheart as part of the Friends ensemble cast. Brad and Jen mania was in full effect, and that’s exactly when he made a big-time guest appearance on Friends.
In the season 8 episode “The One with the Rumor,” Pitt is rocking a sweater and frosted tips when he shows up for Thanksgiving. His character knew Rachel Green in high school, and he HATED her. It was a hilarious episode. And it was a major moment for fans who followed the relationship.
Two years later, in the weeks leading up to the Friends finale, Aniston spoke with The Guardian about her plans for life after the show ended. At the time, Aniston and Pitt had finished their renovation on a $14 million, six-bedroom mansion.
“I love my house. Love it. It feels very symbolic to me – it was two years in the making, in the redoing of it,” Aniston explained.
“Something about creating a foundation with someone. It is a fascinating process and I really do believe it’s such a test to a relationship that it’s the same thing as the stories you hear about having babies. It is hard doing a house together. And if you make it through that, man, you can make it through anything.”
Jennifer Aniston ended her 10-year run on ‘Friends’ the same month Brad Pitt met Angelina Jolie
During that interview with The Guardian, Aniston also admitted that she was ready to have a baby with Pitt.
“Yeah, It’s time. It’s time. You know, I think you can work with a baby, I think you can work pregnant, I think you can do all of it. So I’m just truly looking forward to slowing down,” Aniston said.
The actress then pondered her baby timetable and said, “he’ll be finishing [Mr and Mrs Smith] at the end of February. Then he starts Ocean’s Twelve. So I, thankfully, will be able to go and travel with him while he’s doing that.”
As Marie Claire notes, the final episode of Friends aired in May 2004, the same month that Pitt met Angelina Jolie on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Seven months later – when Aniston thought she would be traveling with her husband and trying for a baby – Aniston and Pitt announced their split.
At the time, they denied the tabloid rumors that the split was due to his affair with Jolie. But, the Maleficent star later admitted that sparks flew between her and Pitt on the set of their first movie together.
Aniston later told Vanity Fair that she was still confused by what happened. However, she refused to play the victim.
“To live in a victim place is pointing a finger at someone else, as if you have no control,” Aniston explained. “Relationships are two people; everyone is accountable. A lot goes into a relationship coming together, and a lot goes into a relationship falling apart.”
All ten seasons of Friends are available on HBO Max.