When Brad Pitt ended his marriage to Jennifer Aniston to shack up with his Mr and Mrs Smith co-star Angelina Jolie , fans figured it had all been about the other woman.
But Jennifer – who enjoyed a chemistry-laden reunion with Brad, 56, at last night’s SAG Awards – said there were other issues at play before Ange even came on the scene.
At the time of their January 2005 split, pals said the former couple had been struggling for about a year and that their busy work schedules had made it almost impossible for them to ‘maintain intimacy’.
And when Jen, 50, struggled emotionally with the end of Friends in 2004, she said Brad – who by that point was filming Mr and Mrs Smith – “just wasn’t there for me.”
He didn’t even show for filming of the final episode.
For Brad’s part, he hinted at his state of mind in the run-up to the split, admitting he’d been bored in their marriage.
“It became very clear to me that I was intent on trying to find a movie about an interesting life, but I wasn’t living an interesting life myself,” he told Parade magazine.
“I think that my marriage [to Jennifer Aniston] had something to do with it. Trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn’t.”
The fan backlash was instant and Brad quickly apologised for appearing to point the finger at Jen, insisting he was the one to blame.
“It grieves me that this was interpreted this way,” Pitt said in a statement. “Jen is an incredibly giving, loving, and hilarious woman who remains my friend. It is an important relationship I value greatly.”
“The point I was trying to make is not that Jen was dull, but that I was becoming dull to myself — and that, I am responsible for,” he added.
The problem, said friends, was the pressure to be the perfect couple when behind closed doors they were just an average husband and wife who had highs as well as lows.
An insider told People magazine: “They gradually lost sight of themselves as individuals. And despite their nice lifestyle and having everything they might want, they weren’t happy. They lost a sense of self.”
A mutual friend of the former Hollywood power couple also claimed it was Brad who stalled on having children and not Jen – as was cruelly circulated at the time.
In the end though, the final call was apparently made by Brad, who “wanted to figure out who he was” as a single man, despite Jen’s pleas to stay married.
Admitting she’d wanted Brad to stay and work through their problems, she told Vanity Fair: “It’s just complicated… You’re two people continually evolving, and there will be times when those changes clash. There are all these levels of growth – and when you stop growing together, that’s when the problems happen.”
It wasn’t long after they announced their separation that Brad was spotted playing the doting dad to Angelina’s adopted son Maddox, confirming Jen’s worst fears.