The actor says the same "cruelty" exists in society today, but has shifted onto social media
Sadly, the vast majority of women in the spotlight will eventually find themselves the subject of misogynistic headlines. But arguably, few have endured quite the same sexist scrutiny as Jennifer Anniston. Along with framing her as the ‘sad single’ who is forever ‘unlucky in love’, for years the tabloids regularly sparked rumours that Jen was “finally” having a baby.
Now, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, which recently awarded Jen the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award for her professional and philanthropic contributions, the Friends star has opened up about the rumours. “I used to take it all very personally — the pregnancy rumors and the whole ‘Oh, she chose career over kids’ assumption,” she said. “It’s like, ‘You have no clue what’s going with me personally, medically, why I can’t … can I have kids?’ They don’t know anything, and it was really hurtful and just nasty… It’s the same with Dolly Parton; Dolly Parton never had kids. But are people giving her shit for it? No, no one’s tried to put her in a white picket fence.”
Jen also discussed how the same kind of scrutiny now takes place on social media. “What the tabloids and the media did to people’s personal lives back then, regular people are doing now,” she said. “Although I haven’t seen a tabloid in so long. Am I still having twins? Am I going to be the miracle mother at 52? (Laughs.) Now you’ve got social media.
“It’s almost like the media handed over the sword to any Joe Schmo sitting behind a computer screen to be a troll or whatever they call them and bully people in comment sections,” she continued. “So it’s just sort of changed hands in a way. And I don’t know why there’s such a cruel streak in society. I often wonder what they get off on.”
Jen says her friends are the reason she’s got through the tougher times. And it sounds like she has many — including Hollywood heavyweights Jason Bateman, Jimmy Kimmel and Friends co-star Courtney Cox.
“[I’ve had] a godsend of support — just so many evolved, positive people around me,” she said. “I also grew up watching someone [Aniston’s late mother] sit comfortably in victimhood, and I didn’t like how it looked. I knew that this person was giving me an example of what I’d never want to be, and I will never ever be that. I think it’s toxic, and it erodes your insides and your soul.
“And listen, is it a sliver of an annoyance to have to publicly go through dark shit in front of the world?” she continued. “Yes, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s all relative. So, I had a choice to make: Either I’m going to surrender into bonbons and living under my covers or I’m going to go out there and find a creative outlet and thrive, and that’s what I did. It just happened to be with a movie called The Break-Up. (Laughs.)”
She’s an inspiration to all women, showing that even when others are desperate to pity you, you don’t need to have kids to find happiness and fulfilment.