Video LoadingVideo UnavailableClick to playTap to playThe video will auto-play soon8CancelPlay now
Get a daily dose of showbiz gossip straight to your inbox with our free email newsletter
Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email
When Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston announced their split to the shock of the world 16 years ago today, many were quick to point the finger at his sexy Mr and Mrs Smith co-star, Angelina Jolie.
Indeed, their suspicions only seemed to be confirmed when Brad and Ange were spotted playing happy families on the beach with her son Maddox just weeks later.
They would go on to have five more children and tie the knot before divorcing in a blaze of acrimony in 2016.
But while Brad's feelings for Angelina may well have been a factor, Jen said the cracks in the marriage were already there before she came on the scene.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston split 16 years ago today
Brad Pitt and 'distraught' Jennifer Aniston's heartbreaking last holiday before split
Angelina Jolie 'seduced' Brad Pitt with ‘saucy move' during raunchy sex scene
At the time of their January 2005 split, pals said the former couple had been struggling for about a year, with Jen later admitting they had lost their emotional intimacy.
And when she needed her husband's support as Friends came to an end in 2004, Jen said Brad – who by that point was filming Mr and Mrs Smith – "just wasn't there for me" and didn't show up for the final episode.
Opening up about the reasons behind their split, Jen told Vanity Fair they had started operating as two individuals rather than as a team.
“It’s just complicated,” she said. “Relationships are 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."
Brad moved on with Angelina Jolie
(Image: UK Press via Getty Images)
Mirror celebs newsletter – get all the juiciest gossip delivered to your inbox
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 lows as well as highs.
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.”
Jen heartbreakingly blamed herself, stating that her willingness to give so much of herself to Brad had contributed to their downfall.
“It was that thing about being a nurturer; I love taking care of people, and I definitely put his needs before mine sometimes,” she told Vanity Fair.
Jen said Brad 'wasn't there' for her emotionally when Friends came to an end
“It’s such an insidious thing, you don’t really see where it started – and where you ended. There’s no one to blame but yourself.”
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.
For Brad's part, he hinted at his state of mind in the run-up to the split, admitting he was bored with himself.
“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.
Brad and Angelina struck up a close bond on the set of Mr and Mrs Smith
“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.
In the end, 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 work through their problems, she told Vanity Fair: “That’s not Brad’s view of it.
“We believe in different things, I guess. You can’t force a relationship, even if it’s your view of how you would like it to be conducted. Obviously two people leave a relationship because there’s a different thought pattern happening.
"My goal is to try and achieve a very deep, committed relationship. That’s what I’m interested in, but it’s someone’s prerogative to be or not to be in or out of a relationship.”
Did you love Brad and Jen as a couple? Have your say in the comments section below…