Jennifer Aniston has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, ending months of speculation that the two had healed the political rift that drove them apart in January. Meanwhile, Mr. Pitt has once again been spotted in the company of liberal activist Angelina Jolie.
Jolie denies plans to run for office, citing 'skeletons in my closet'
By Russell D'Arby
HOLLYWOOD, CA—Jennifer Aniston filed for divorce from Brad Pitt on Friday, ending months of speculation that the two were on the verge of healing the political differences that pushed them apart back in January. Ms. Aniston's divorce petition, filed in California Superior Court, cited irreconcilable differences.
The news came as no surprise to friends of the couple, celebrity watchers and the a-list duo's millions—even billions—of fans. Aniston and Pitt shocked the world earlier this year when they announced that they were formally separating, ending their 4-year marriage.
A red/blue couple
When news of the high-profile split hit the airwaves, the Hollywood gossip machine immediately blamed famously liberal actress Angelina Jolie for the split, noting that she and Mr. Pitt had become close during the shooting of "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." But sources close to the couple say that it was political differences that drove Mr. Pitt and Ms. Aniston apart—differences that the famously liberal Ms. Jolie only aggravated.
Tension between the stars first appeared during the 2004 presidential election, say sources, when Mr. Pitt chose to throw his "Troy"-buffed weight behind Democratic nominee John Kerry, a move that Ms. Aniston thought was disrespectful to President George W. Bush. "That was what started it all," says a source close to the actress. "She started to feel like she didn't know the man she was living with. That they couldn't even have a conversation without real differences coming out."
The couple reportedly entered into counseling in early February, seeking the high-profile services of Elaine O'Connell, the Washington, DC based therapist who has assisted such famously independent couples as James Carville and Mary Matalin, and Lynn Cheney and her daughter Mary.
But their effort to heal the festering political divisions failed, say friends, when the couple became embroiled in yet another dispute, this one over President Bush's plan to introduce private Social Security accounts. Ms. Aniston, who earns more than $10 million per film, is said to be a strong supporter of Mr. Bush's privatization initiative, while Mr. Pitt has cast his allegiance with such Democratic stalwarts as Senator Harry Reid and the AARP.
Says a source close to the actress: "She just really feels that people should have the freedom to invest their own money, that we don't need a nanny government making those choices for us. That was really the straw that broke the camel's back."
True love—then 9/11
Pitt, 41, and Aniston, 35, began dating in the spring of 1998 and quickly emerged as one of the most watched celebrity couples in Hollywood. They tied the knot in 2000, joined by 200 of their friends as they said "I do" in an extravagant ceremony in Malibu.
But the couple's wedded bliss hit a serious speed bump when hijackers flew commercial airliners into the World Trade Center on September 11. Mr. Pitt was reportedly opposed to military action in Afghanistan, while Ms. Pitt believed that the situation demanded a strong military response, not the police action that her new husband seemed to advocate.
A political future?
Mr. Pitt has reportedly expressed interest in running for office in the near future, although sources close to the star of "Ocean's Twelve," "Fight Club," and "Seven Years in Tibet" say that he hasn't yet determined whether he will confine his political ambitions to the state level, or enter into the national political fray.
Ms. Jolie, Mr. Pitt's costar and reported romantic interest, doused reports that she plans to run for office over the weekend, telling reporters that "I think I've got too many skeletons in my closet for politics."