Last night, a slew of A-list actors got together for a charity table read of the classic 80s comedy, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and what resulted was expectedly chaotic.
Morgan Freeman was hilariously mortified at what he had to read, Julia Roberts was losing it, and Shia LaBeouf was operating on a different level from everyone else. But all eyes were on Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
Technically, this marks the first time they have worked together since Pitt guest starred on Friends in 2001, and their on-screen rapport could not have been more different to that of Will Colbert and his arch nemesis, Rachel Green.
As everyone made their polite and awkward introductions, Pitt singled out Anniston, leading people to dissect and fawn over their casual friendliness.
“how you doin?”
“Good honey, how are you”
Not me freaking out.
Pitt and Aniston’s relationship has been the source of tabloid fascination for over 20 years, but curiously, it seems like public interest in the pair has reached a peak unseen since they were together.
After Aniston and Pitt’s marriages ended in divorce (and then remarriages with Justin Theroux and Angelina Jolie, respectively), the obsession with their relationship has reignited and spread like wildfire. The press and well-meaning fans alike clamour for any signs of friendship (or something more).
The two have reaffirmed time and time again that they are nothing more than friends on good terms, but that hasn’t stopped fans from over-analysing every interaction.
When they bumped into each other backstage at the Screen Actors Guild Awards earlier this year, they immediately made headlines. Never mind that both actors won awards, their brief meeting was the biggest news of the night. It even caught the attention of Aniston’s Friends co-star Courtney Cox, who liked a tweet about the pair “still loving each other.”
When Pitt and Aniston first started dating in 1998, tabloids heralded them as a Hollywood ‘It’ couple. In this mess of a year, are we simply nostalgic for a relationship that, at one point, seemed ideal?
The collective obsession with Pitt and Aniston is perhaps an attempt to salvage something out of the dearth of Hollywood royalty couples.
Brangelina is no more, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ended disastrously, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith confirmed rumours that the latter had an "entanglement" with another man.
Even an ostensibly rock solid couple like Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively doesn’t have the same universal appeal with the knowledge that the pair married on a slave plantation.
If there is no perfect Hollywood couple, what hope is there for the rest of us?
With today's couples unable to offer any respite, we turn to the halcyon days of Pitt and Aniston.
Regardless, the public’s affection for the pair is perplexing, considering the very public fallout of their relationship that came to a head when Pitt confirmed that he cheated on Aniston.
In the numerous times the pair have trended online, this fact is usually left out.
Do people really still ship Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt after what he did to her? 🤔
Tabloid interest in their private lives often forced them both to make statements to the press to put any rumours to rest.
In the shared statement on their divorce, the pair said: “For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media.”
How funny it is, then, that the pair are once again the source of feverish tabloid fascination that they didn’t ask for.
With the constant coverage of Pitt and Aniston’s non-existent relationship, a story has been fabricated: after reuniting on multiple occasions, the pair get back together for good and live happily ever after. The fact that this is unlikely to come to fruition doesn’t matter – just the fascination with the potential plants the idea that they are probably flirting every time they so much as share some small talk.
Pitt and Aniston have moved on. It’s time we move on too.
As fun as it is to speculate, we should probably leave this relationship where it belongs: two decades in the past.