Move over conscious uncoupling, there’s a new celebrity divorce term in town: the gentle separation. In deciding to publicly address his split from Jennifer Aniston for the first time, Justin Theroux has inadvertenly pulled a Gwyneth Paltrow and coined a break up phrase we can’t help but unpick.
Speaking to the New York Times, Justin called his divorce ‘heartbreaking’ before insisting that it was in fact amicable. Then came the very Hollywood phrase we’ve been wondering if only A-listers can pull off all morning. ‘The good news is that was probably the most - I’m choosing my words really carefully, it was kind of the most gentle separation,’ he said, ‘in that there was no animosity. In a weird way, just sort of navigating the inevitable perception of it is the exhausting part.’
It’s with sad irony that we read the last line of his quote, because ultimately in trying to minimize any hint of drama around the divorce and prevent tabloid rumours, he has unwittingly evoked think piece after think piece with everyone wondering, both for fun and with genuine intrigue, what exactly is a gentle separation and is it different to conscious uncoupling?
While we can assume Justin is simply stating there was no aggression or anger involved in the breakup, in our minds ‘gentle separation’ only evokes images of being slowly torn apart. Like peeling off a plaster slowly, it seems less admirable and more painful. Of course, our idea of a half-decent breakup is not throwing their clothes out the window and locking them out their own social media.
Justin Theroux and Jennifer Anniston's relationship in pictures...
Jennifer smiles as the couple leave a New York restaurant, shortly after it is confirmed that they are dating.
For Justin and Jen however, a gentle separation doesn’t just mean breaking up amicably, but realigning their friendship to be slightly different. ‘It was heartbreaking,’ Justin said, ‘only in the sense that the friendship would not be the same, as far as just the day to day. But the friendship is shifting and changing, you know, so that part is something that we’re both very proud of.’
Honestly, hats off to them. A ‘gentle separation’ may not conjure up the nicest of images, but it certainly sounds like the breakup tactics we should all be aspiring for. In fact, petition for Justin and Jen to release a break-up guide so we can stop the age-old ritual of burning pictures of our ex mid-seventh glass of wine while listening to Ed Sheeran. See, there’s an even bleaker break-up picture for you...