Just two days after the news of their separation hit the internet, TMZ is reporting that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux's marriage license may not exist. According to the site, TMZ reportedly checked marriage records dating back to 2010 in L.A. County, and contacted numerous divorce lawyers only to be told that none of them had been hired by either Aniston and Theroux. It's entirely possible that the couple may have obtained a marriage license from another county in California, but it's also possible that the couple never filed for a license despite having a private wedding ceremony in 2015. In either case, a marriage license is not what matters most when discussing Aniston and Theroux's split. (Bustle reached out to Aniston's rep for comment about the marriage license situation, but did not receive an immediate response.)
On Thursday, Feb. 15, Aniston and Theroux announced they separated amicably at the end of 2017. Bustle received the following joint statement:
"In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation. This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship. Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly. Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else’s fictional narrative. Above all, we are determined to maintain the deep respect and love that we have for one another."
The mature way that Aniston and Theroux have handled their breakup should be applauded. They certainly sound committed to being in charge of their own narratives and moving forward with as little drama as possible. Of course, fans of the couple have taken to social media to express their heartbreak, and rumors about a possible reunion between Aniston and Brad Pitt have begun to swirl. Now the reported news that Aniston and Theroux may not have been legally married is sure to become part of the discussion surrounding their separation as well. But here's the thing, it takes way more than a marriage license to make a marriage, and whether or not Aniston and Theroux had one shouldn't minimize their relationship or the thought they surely put into the decision to break up.
As a couple, Aniston and Theroux have always been private about their personal life. According to Us Weekly, they reportedly began dating after meeting on the set of Tropic Thunder in 2007, but they managed to keep their romance private until 2011. In 2012, they became engaged, and in 2015, they held a wedding ceremony that was so private, their guests reportedly didn't know what they were attending until the day arrived. Throughout the years, the pair has continued to be protective of their relationship, and given how often Aniston has dealt with her love life being in the tabloids, their choice to keep the focus off of their marriage is not surprising.
If TMZ's report is accurate, and Aniston and Theroux never obtained a marriage license, then the public may be tempted to see their breakup as insignificant or question why they chose not to make their relationship legally binding. But truthfully, their reported lack of a marriage license doesn't change anything — aside from the need for the pair to employ lawyers.
For Aniston and Theroux, it seems their wedding was a special day for them and their friends. In a 2017 interview with Amy Sedaris for Harper's Bazaar, Aniston revealed, "It's funny, I just gave Justin our edited video of the wedding for our anniversary, and it was fun to revisit it." Sedaris even served as Theroux's best man. She told Aniston,
"Everything about that wedding was perfect. Everyone was dressed like a bunch of woodland creatures, and your dress looked so beautiful and breezy. Justin asked me to be his best man two days before, and I was really scared. Jimmy Kimmel [who officiated at the nuptials] said, 'Amy, you have one job: Just hand me the rings separately.' Of course, I handed both to him."
It certainly sounds like a beautiful day, and it's one that appears to be full of meaning for Aniston, Theroux, and all of the people they chose to share it with.
The years they spent together would be no less valid without a license, and neither would the ceremony they held to show their commitment to one another. Aniston and Theroux have reportedly been together since 2007, and they've shared their lives with one another — their triumphs, their struggles, and their love is not defined by legalities.
It's only natural that fans of the couple are going to discuss their split. Even though you don't know the celebrity couple, you may still feel invested in their relationship. But it's important not to let the idea that Aniston and Theroux reportedly didn't have a marriage license lead to conversations that try to diminish their relationship or the difficult decision they made to separate. It also shouldn't be used as fuel to formulate more rumors about two people who appear to be committed to maintaining a friendship even though their romantic relationship has come to an end.
Having a marriage license isn't a prerequisite for commitment, and whatever choice Aniston and Theroux reportedly made, it was surely made in their best interest as a couple. While it's sad to see Aniston and Theroux split, they deserve privacy at this time — and they certainly don't need the legitimacy of the commitment they made to be questioned based on the lack of a legal document.