How the tabloids pitted Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston against each other

A look back at the story gossip columns would never let go of as Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt

Maya Oppenheim
Tuesday 20 September 2016 16:58 BST
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While the two women tended to bear the brunt of the gossip, Pitt appeared to be impervious - he was even labelled as the adopted father of the year
While the two women tended to bear the brunt of the gossip, Pitt appeared to be impervious - he was even labelled as the adopted father of the year (Getty Images)

Testimony to the fact even the seemingly perfect, fairytale marriages of the rich and famous can arrive at an abrupt end, Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt after just two years of marriage.

The Hollywood super couple, known in the media by their shared moniker 'Brangelina', tied the knot at Chateau Miraval in the quaint French village of Correns in 2014 - eight years after first confirming their relationship.

But while some headlines gushed about the “beauty” of their wedding day, others honed in on Jennifer Aniston, painting her as an unfulfilled pariah who would be forever destined to singledom.

With TMZ reporting Jolie is filing for physical custody of their children and for Pitt to have visitation and joint legal custody, the years of pitting Jolie against Aniston relished by tabloids has come back to the surface.

For years, Aniston and Pitt's marriage was widely viewed as a 'success' - something of a rarity in Hollywood. For this reason, there was an uproar when they announced they had decided to split in January 2005. Within two months, Aniston filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was then finalised on 2 October 2005.

Throughout these proceedings, speculation raged about Pitt's involvement with Jolie. After meeting on the set of Mr And Mrs Smith while they played married spies, Jolie and Pitt were spotted together repeatedly yet strenuously denied they were together.

After Pitt and Jolie confirmed they were a couple, papers ran stories with snide headlines dubbing Jolie a “homewrecker” and Aniston an undateable woman destined for a loveless life. They claimed the pair hated each other.

From the Team Jolie and Team Aniston T-shirts which flew off the shelves to the never-ending tabloid and supermarket gossip mag stories comparing and contrasting the two women, the tabloid press could get enough of depicting the situation as a love triangle.

Meanwhile, Aniston told of how she was hounded by indefatigable 24-hour paparazzi taking stock of every move she took.

As the years followed, gossip sites continued to dine out on the faux feud and Aniston struggled to shake off this image, becoming something of a pity party, with papers speculating over whether she would ever find love. Even her marrying Justin Theroux in 2015 did not do away with references to the triangle.

While the two women tended to bear the brunt of the gossip, Pitt appeared to be impervious. As recently as January 2015, gossip columns claimed that Aniston and Jolie avoided each other on the Critics Choice Awards red carpet.

Of course, neither Jolie or Aniston asked for this unrelenting comparison.

“It’s ridiculous — that the two names have to go into the same sentence and there has to be a compare-and-despair thing,” Aniston told The New York Times in January 2015.

“I don’t want to give any fuel to the fire,” she also said, politely cutting the talk of Jolie short after about “30 seconds.”

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