No, we haven’t travelled back in time to 2005 – although it’s understandable if you thought we had given all the recent “Jennifer Aniston is going to be a mom!” rumours that have been circulating in recent days. Spoiler alert, folx – she’s not, and her rep has just confirmed it. “The story is a fabrication and false,” the statement reads in part.
Related: Jennifer Aniston’s style evolution.
So, why did the gossip mill (once again) suggest otherwise?
Earlier this week, HBO Max shared the exciting news that their highly-anticipated (and oft-delayed) Friends reunion special has officially wrapped. The six core cast members – Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc – came together to film the unscripted special over three days at the Warner Brothers Studios in Los Angeles. (The release date is still TBD.)
From this very general news release, someone somewhere concluded that Aniston would be dropping a “baby bomb” during the special – alleging that the 52-year-old actress is in the process of adopting her first child. It doesn’t matter what Jen does or says, there seems to be no end to the baby scrutiny she faces.
The Morning Show star has opened up in recent years about the endless barrage of baby-related questions and rumours she’s faced since her highly-publicized split from Brad Pitt in 2005.
As she told Glamour in 2017, “If your body is in a normal moment of having had a bite or two, or you’re having a moment of bloat, then there’s arrows circled around your stomach, telling you that you’re pregnant. And it’s like, ‘actually no, it’s just my body. Not that it’s any of your business to begin with.’ Having a child, as we know, is no one’s business except the couple or individual that’s going through it.”
Even though she’s one of the richest women in the entertainment industry, has a successful career and has won multiple major awards, the media has continued its fixation on her love life and the fact that she’s childfree. In 2018, she told Elle, “We live in a society that messages women: By this age, you should be married; by this age, you should have children. That’s a fairy tale. That’s the mold we’re slowly trying to break out of.” She continued, “Some people are just built to be wives and have babies. I don’t know how naturally that comes to me.”
In 2016, Jen famously wrote a heartfelt op-ed for the Huffington Post entitled “For the Record” in which she definitely didn’t mince words. “For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,’ the First Amendment’ and ‘celebrity news.'”
She added, “The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant (for the bajillionth time… but who’s counting) points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children.”
Nearly 20 years of an endless “bump watch” is objectifying enough, never mind the presumption that any belly that isn’t completely flat and toned means a person is pregnant. Single men of a certain age get to glide through life as career-first worldly foxes, while women are subjected to outdated baby expectations. Why are we still doing this?
We can only imagine how infuriating these latest adoption rumours must have been for Jen. If we’re exhausted on her behalf, her exhaustion levels must be off the charts. Not even the excitement of a Friends special can apparently stop the gossip mill from spinning and overshadowing what should be an entertaining reunion.
Perhaps one day we’ll reach the point when a woman’s worth isn’t directly tied to whether or not she had children. But it’s clear we still have a long way to go, because if one of the world’s most successful women is still under the “baby microscope” what hope do the rest of us have of moving away from these outdated expectations?