Angelina Jolie launched a "mean-spirited but effective campaign" to smear Jennifer Aniston after getting with her husband Brad Pitt, it was once claimed.
The actress is said to have been so determined to silence the 'man-stealer' talk after Brad walked out on Jen, that she allegedly had her team leak 'stories' to the press.
"Jolie and her camp planted press stories in 2005 that painted Aniston in a negative light. Specifically? That Aniston firmly prioritised her career over starting a family which put her directly at odds with Pitt, who ached for kids," Ian Harperlin wrote in his 2009 book, Brangelina: The Untold Story.
"She was convinced that this is the story that would resonate with all these women who saw her as a man-stealer," he added.
But in a heart-wrenching Vanity Fair interview conducted shortly after the split, Jennifer, then 36, staunchly refuted the claims.
“A man divorcing would never be accused of choosing career over children,” she said. “That really p***ed me off. I’ve never in my life said I didn’t want to have children. I did and I do and I will!
"The women that inspire me are the ones who have careers and children; why would I want to limit myself? I’ve always wanted to have children, and I would never give up that experience for a career. I want to have it all.”
In the same chat, friends claimed Brad should have done more to set the record straight, and said he was the one who put parenthood on the backburner.
“When Brad and Jen were in the marriage, having a baby was not his priority—ever. It was an abstract desire for him, whereas for Jen it was much more immediate," the mutual friend said.
"So is there a part of Brad that’s diabolical? Did he think, I need to get out of this marriage, but I want to come out smelling like a rose, so I’m going to let Jen be cast as the ultra-feminist and I’m going to get cast as the poor husband who couldn’t get a baby and so had to move on?”
Jennifer, now 50, quit Friends in January 2004 and had been waiting for Brad to wrap filming on Mr and Mrs Smith so they could start trying for a baby.
"It's time. It's time. You know, I think you can work with a baby, I think you can work pregnant, I think you can do all of it. So I'm just truly looking forward to slowing down," she told the Guardian in January 2004.
"I'll have finished Friends by end of January, he'll be finishing [Mr and Mrs Smith, opposite Angelina Jolie ] at the end of February. Then he starts Ocean's Twelve. So I, thankfully, will be able to go and travel with him while he's doing that."
Sadly it wasn't to be, with Brad falling for Angelina and asking Jen for a divorce in January 2005.
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