Photo Credit: TONY BARSON/WIREIMAGE
In an alternate universe, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston would be celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary today. That universe might have existed, had Nicole Kidman not dropped out of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and been replaced by Angelina Jolie. But in the world as we know it, the sparks between co-stars Brad and Angie short-circuited Brad and Jen's seven-year relationship.
Sometimes, we admit, we get nostalgic for the days when Pitt and Aniston were Hollywood's golden couple. In that spirit, let's take a look back on Brad and Jen's relationship -- and toast the fact that both parties are now happily re-engaged.
Nov. 2, 1998
Ron Galella, Ltd./Wireimage; Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImageAs cute as they were together, Brad and Jen didn't have a "meet cute" story: they were set up by their managers on a blind date in spring 1998. Both actors had just gotten out of long-term, high-profile relationships -- Jen with Tate Donovan, Brad with Gwyneth Paltrow -- and were eager to keep their new romance on the down-low. By winter, they were getting serious, but still hadn't gone public; at the premiere of Pitt's film Meet Joe Black, she and Brad exited their limo separately to avoid being photographed together!
Sept. 12, 1999
Barry King/WireImageThe couple had been dating for over a year when they finally made their first official appearance together at the 1999 Emmys. (Friends was nominated for Best Comedy Series.) "We just wanted to keep it special. Keep it ours," Pitt told Rolling Stone of their secrecy. Two months later, Jen was flashing her engagement ring at a Sting concert in New York City.
Sept. 10, 2000
KMazur/WireImageWhen they returned to the Emmys the following year, Brad and Jen were on top of the world. Aniston was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress; Pitt would soon be named People's Sexiest Man Alive; and they'd been married (in a lavish, top-secret ceremony) for a little over a month. "People think we have a life that's so glamorous, but it couldn't be more normal," Jen once said of her marriage. "We love to just sit at home in the same room together. We paint, read scripts, read books, watch movies and have quiet dinners."
Nov. 19, 2001
Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImageDuring the eighth season of Friends, Pitt showed up at Thanksgiving dinner, playing a friend of Ross (David Schwimmer) with a long-standing grudge against Rachel (Aniston). Offscreen, things were blissful. "Every time I see Jennifer, I am so proud that she has become my wife. And you have just more fun at everything, once you’ve found the right one," Pitt told Skip in 2001. "And I wanted to be sure that it was the right one. My parents have been married for 40 years and I never want to go through a divorce."
Aug. 7, 2002
Jon Kopaloff/WireImageBetween movies of his own, a shaggy Brad escorted Jen to the premiere of The Good Girl, the film that put her on the map as a big-screen actress. 2002 was a big year for Jen, who also took home her first Emmy (Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series) and was named the Hollywood Film Festival's Actress of the Year. Through it all, said Jen, Brad was super-supportive. "It's a nice feeling to have somebody that you just like so much," she told Vogue in August. "I think it's made me more comfortable in who I am to have someone who loves me and accepts me with all of my crap and dysfunction and insecurities and struggles. And he kind of sees it all through these beautiful rose-colored glasses."
March 22, 2003
J. Vespa/WireImageIn March 2003, Brad and Jen showed up at the Independent Spirit Awards, looking perfectly in sync. Just a month earlier, there were rumors of marriage trouble, after Jen forgot to thank Brad in her Golden Globes speech. The couple denied problems, and hinted that they were ready to start a family. "I keep saying, 'Jen, when are we going to have babies?' and she says, 'Soon,'" Pitt told Glamour. "I love my wife, but waiting to start our family is driving me nuts."
May 13, 2004
Tony Barson/WireImageJen shot her final episode of Friends in January 2004, and the week it aired, Aniston told People that she and Brad were trying to have a baby. "We're absolutely in the process," she said in May. At the same time, Pitt and co-star Angelina Jolie were making tabloid headlines for their "growing intimacy" on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Brad and Jen denied the rumors, and looked perfectly happy at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of Troy.
Jan. 6, 2005
For their final vacation together, Jen and Brad joined Courteney Cox and David Arquette on a New Year's trip to Anguilla. They looked like a normal couple in the paparazzi photos, but unbeknownst to the public, they'd already called it quits: Jen and Brad announced their separation on January 7. "We would like to announce that after seven years together we have decided to formally separate, they said in a joint statement. "For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration. We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another."