Is This The Real Reason Why Jennifer Aniston And Justin Theroux Split?

Time apart is said to have taken a toll

By Mike Miller

From the editors of PEOPLE

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux’s split came as a shock to many, but there were signs the couple was drifting apart.

The duo announced in a joint statement yesterday that they are parting ways after two and a half years of marriage and nearly seven years as a couple.

‘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,’ said a statement released by longtime Aniston publicist Stephen Huvane to the Associated Press. ‘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.’

Jennifer Aniston Walks The Critics' Choice Red Carpet With Husband Justin Theroux, 2016

The decision comes just days after the actress’s 49th birthday, which she and Theroux spent apart. Aniston celebrated in Malibu, California with a gathering alongside pals Courteney Cox, Andrea Bendewald, Leigh Kilton-Smith and Kristin Hahn on Sunday.

Theroux, meanwhile, was spotted out in New York City on Friday walking his dog. Last year, the duo vacationed together in Los Cabos, Mexico with friends.

Before the announcement, Aniston and Theroux, 46, seemed to thrive despite their frequent time on separate coasts. Both have been busy professionally this past year, with Aniston signing on for a new Apple TV series alongside Reese Witherspoon, and Theroux filming the comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me in Budapest.

When they weren’t working, Aniston spent most of her time in Los Angeles with her close-knit group of friends, while Theroux often visited New York City.

But sources close to the couple argued that their ability to spend time apart was a sign of strength and a positive feature of the relationship.

‘Justin often spends a few days in NYC by himself. When he is in NYC, Jen will catch up with friends and enjoys her own life,’ said a source.

Jennifer Aniston Justin Theroux

A second source told PEOPLE that the distance helped them appreciate the time they did spend together even more.

‘They love and respect each other and do spend a lot of time apart. For them, it is a healthy part of their romance,’ the second source explained, adding: ‘By not spending every minute together, it’s like their honeymoon is lasting longer.’

When they did spend time together in Los Angeles, where they share a home, the first source said: ‘It’s very special for them,’ adding, ‘They socialise together with friends. They often go out to dinner or have people over. They both seem very happy.’

They also worked closely together decorating the Bel-Air mansion they purchased in 2012 for $22 million.

‘There was a time when I thought there was something romantic about picking up and trotting off somewhere different every three months,’ Aniston recently told Architectural Digest. ‘I look around at my husband and my dogs and our home, and there’s nowhere else I want to be.’

The couple also celebrated the start of 2018 together with their annual holiday to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

‘Jen and Justin rang in the new year with friends. For the past few days, they have enjoyed the sunny Cabo weather,’ a source said of their trip, where they were joined by a handful of close pals including Jason Bateman and his family.

‘They have hosted friends by the pool and for dinner,’ said the source. ‘They both seem great and very happy.’