NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26:  Jennifer Aniston is seen filming on location for 'The Morning Sh...
James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images

Can We All Stop Talking About Jennifer Aniston's Uterus Now?

The Friends star has opened up about a subject that has hounded her for decades. And now let us never speak of it again.

In a recent interview with Allure, Jennifer Aniston decided to give the press and the public what we’ve said we’ve wanted for years: the truth about why she has not had children.

This isn’t the first time she’s spoken candidly about the subject. In 2016, she penned an op-ed for HuffPost titled “For The Record.” “I am not pregnant,” she wrote. “What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,’ the ‘First Amendment’ and ‘celebrity news.’” But then, as in other instances, she remained more philosophical than personal, focusing on what such speculation says about society’s view of women. She spoke of hurtful rumors without describing the precise nature of her pain.

Still, the soap opera-fixation of Aniston’s reproductive choices continued unabated. Speculation continued, and not simply speculation over whether or not she was pregnant but of why or why not. The press and celebrity watchers would slap a new narrative on Aniston on a whim, like children affixing flimsy dresses to a paper doll. The two-dimensionality of it all didn’t matter. These flimsy narratives sold magazines, papers, and tabloids. They entertained. They gave us something to chat about with that one co-worker who always seems to know all the hot celebrity gossip.

Headlines about Aniston and her reproductive choices have been a mainstay of tabloids since the ‘90s.Robert Kamau/GC Images/Getty Images

Depending on who you asked or what magazines you read, Aniston was any number of cartoonish tropes we decide women in the public eye need to fit into. She was callously refusing poor Brad Pitt a baby because she didn’t want to sacrifice her body and career on the altar of motherhood. She was desperately trying to get pregnant to keep Brad from the home-wrecking clutches of Angelina Jolie. She was pregnant with Justin Theroux’s baby and trying to hide her bump. She was was an Independent Modern Woman™️ who preferred dogs to children. She was a woeful cautionary tale: the woman who seemed modern and independent but who longed for a child to complete her. She was going to ask David Schwimmer to be a sperm donor and name the baby Monica Phoebe Aniston. We trotted out perceived evidence to back our claims. Body language analysis. Before and after photos. And, of course, the notorious, innumerable, almost-certainly-not-actually-real “sources close to Aniston.”

In fewer than 100 words, she effectively answered all the questions that have spurred on hundreds of headlines over the past two decades.

But now the speculation — over the contents of Aniston’s uterus, her motivations for not having children, her hopes, her feelings — have been laid bare. “I was trying to get pregnant,” she told Allure. “It was a challenging road for me, the baby-making road ... All the years and years and years of speculation... It was really hard. I was going through IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it. I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me, ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favor.’ You just don’t think it. So here I am today. The ship has sailed.”

Aniston told us what we wanted to know: let’s leave it at that.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

In fewer than 100 words, she effectively answered all the questions that have spurred on hundreds of headlines over the past two decades. She opened up a story she’d kept private for years (“I’m so protective of these parts because I feel like there’s so little that I get to keep to myself.”) And after all the clickbait and speculation and drama and Hollywood intrigue, the answer turned out to be... boring. Not boring in a trivial sense, but boring in the sense that plenty of non-celebrities are intimately familiar with this pain. This isn’t a story of Hollywood vanity, celebrity dramas, or spurned spouses. This is about a woman who wanted to have a child and couldn’t. We have friends that this happened to, or it happened to us. It’s an ordinary answer. Mundane. It’s relatable in a way we don’t really want celebrities to be — relatable without being aspirational or glamorously tragic. It’s human. And while we’ve seen Aniston as “the girl next door” since the ‘90s, we probably haven’t seen her as human.

Guessing what was going on with Aniston’s reproductive system has been, essentially, a public hobby for decades, and it’s never really been about Aniston herself. It’s been a way to sort through our own societal ideas about motherhood, celebrity, romance, relationships, and women. A way to avoid the complexities in our own lives, just for a little bit, and think in terms of villains, victims, and archetypes. But now we have the answers we’ve said we wanted this whole time.

Now we know the truth. Now let us never speak of it again.