Rumors Fuel Pitt-Aniston Split

In this July 14, 2009 photo, Bernie Baran sits at his home in Woburn, Mass. Baran was recently released from prison after serving 21 years for a series of sexual attacks at a day care center in the Berkshires. A judge overturned his conviction and ordered a new trial, citing the incompetence of his trial lawyer and the videotapes, which had recently resurfaced after years of being lost among boxes of legal evidence. In May, the district attorney dropped all charges against Baran. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Brad and Angelina? Just rumors!

That's the word from People magazine senior editor and Early Show contributor Jess Cagle, who tells co-anchor Rene Syler that while Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie became good friends on the set of "Mr. And Mrs. Smith," that did not cause the marital split between Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

"There was no confirmation that he had an affair with Angelina Jolie," Cagle says, "We do know that a respect developed and they became friends and I'm not sure that sat well with Jennifer Aniston. It pointed to this problem they had through their marriage. They lived their life in a fish bowl. They could not do anything without speculation going rampant: Were they going to have a baby? Were they back together? Were they breaking up?"

Pitt, 41, and Aniston, 35, had been talking about wanting to have a baby, but they disagreed about the timing, Cagle says, "He has been very vocal about wanting to start a family and have kids. She told People, not long ago, that she felt the same way and they'd set aside a room as a nursery."

In 2002, Aniston said to the magazine, "Absolutely it will happen, but probably not for a while."

Until rumors began swirling that they were about to split, there were near-constant tabloid rumors that Aniston was pregnant.

But the actress was starting her movie career, Cagle says, "She has half a dozen movies in the works. Also, she wanted to make sure that the marriage was going to last and I think a little bit of doubt had crept in - at least that's what a friend of hers told us."

The magazine has pictures of the couple hugging each other while they spent the New Year's weekend together on the Caribbean island of Anguilla with Aniston's former "Friends" co-star Courteney Cox and her husband, actor David Arquette.

"They had decided to separate a while ago," Cagle says but points out the couple had already planned this vacation and went ahead with it.

"They're just separated. Maybe they'll get back together," Cagle says and yet he wonders why would this very private couple go through all this trouble. "It is a very big deal for them."

Pitt and Aniston have been careful to say that they are not divorcing. "A friend of theirs told us that they have to take a step back and look at the marriage and try to figure this out for themselves without being married in this fish bowl," Cagle says.

Aniston recently has been photographed in public without her diamond-studded wedding ring, according to People. And Friday, Pitt's publicist issued the following statement abou the split:

"We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate," the couple said in a statement.

"For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media," the actors said.

The couple didn't indicate if they plan to divorce, and publicist Cindy Guagenti declined to comment beyond the statement, which also said, "We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another."

The separation, first reported on People magazine's Web site, comes 4 1/2 years after the pair's wedding and after months of speculation that their marriage was in trouble.

The couple has been together since being set up on a blind date in 1998. They were married in a lavish wedding on July 29, 2000, on a Malibu estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Some 200 people attended the event, which included four bands, a gospel choir, fireworks and tens of thousands of flowers.

Part of Pacific Coast Highway was shut down to accommodate the influx of guests, which included actress Cameron Diaz and most of Aniston's "Friends" co-stars. It was the first marriage for both.

Since their wedding, Pitt and Anniston have been touted not only as one of Hollywood's most glamorous couples but also one of the film industry's most powerful. They are co-owners of the Plan B production company with producer Brad Grey, who earlier this week was hired to replace Sherry Lansing as head of the Paramount studio.

Aniston is perhaps the most recognizable star of "Friends," the ensemble show that concluded a 10-year run last year as one of television's highest-rated comedies. She also has starred in such films as "Along Came Polly," "Bruce Almighty" and "The Good Girl." Her father is veteran soap opera actor John Aniston.

Pitt, long one of Hollywood' most bankable film stars, is currently seen in "Ocean's Twelve." Other film credits include "Ocean's Eleven," "Fight Club," "Meet Joe Black," "Seven Years in Tibet," "Sleepers," "12 Monkeys," "Legends of the Fall," "A River Runs Through It" and "Thelma & Louise."
  • Christine Lagorio

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