Jennifer Aniston's love life has always been talked about, especially when she was married to Brad Pitt from 2000 to 2005. Back in the day, their romance was constantly picked apart, as people always wondered why they didn't have any children — a topic that author Sarah Ditum talks about in her new book, Toxic: Women, Fame, and the Tabloid 2000s.
"This kind of portrayal of her [as] a desperately baby-hungry woman. It doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny," Ditum told Fox News Digital of Aniston. "The tabloid version of her was exaggerated and gussied up basically so everybody could feel their feelings about what women were deciding to do with their lives in general."
"She became the sort of stand-in for that whole debate," Ditum added.
Aniston's rep replied to the tome, which tells the story of nine women — Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Janet Jackson and more — who "defied the h--- out of celebrity" and how they were "devoured by fame," saying: "We have not read Ms. Ditum’s book and have no comment to offer."
According to the author, the Friends starlet, 54, was known as "Sad Jen" in the media as they "basically invented the character for her."
Aniston was portrayed as a woman "who was desperate for a baby, still in love with her ex-husband. This tragic singleton edging toward 40. So many of my friends felt harrowed by that as young women in their 20s to early 30s. They read that coverage, and their reaction was, 'Oh my God, if she’s not enough, then how will I ever be enough?' Ditum told The Washington Post.
She added, "The coverage of these women becomes pressure on the women who consume it. I think women are probably the primary consumers of gossip culture. A lot of gossip culture is attacking other women, but it’s also attacking us and teaching us lessons about what kind of women we’re supposed to be."
"I was going through IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it," Aniston told Allure in 2022. "I would've given anything if someone had said to me, 'Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favor.' You just don't think it. So, here I am today. The ship has sailed."
"The narrative that I was just selfish," she added. "God forbid a woman is successful and doesn't have a child. And the reason my husband left me, why we broke up and ended our marriage, was because I wouldn't give him a kid. It was absolute lies. I don't have anything to hide at this point."
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Ditum said what Aniston went through was "absolutely brutal."
"I found it really painful going back over and reading some of the interviews and seeing how aggressively people pursued her about whether she was having children or not," she explained. "It’s like the nightmare scenario of being at a family Christmas dinner and your relatives keep asking you when you’re going to have kids. Only it’s happened to you in the mass media every time you go out to have an interview."