When Jennifer Aniston first met John Mayer at an Oscar party in 2008, she insisted she “barely knew his music.” One year later, the two were the reigning “It” couple at this year’s ceremony following a surprise appearance by Aniston as a presenter with Mayer as her date.
The very public outing, complete with handholding and kissing, capped off a whirlwind year for the off- and on-again couple.
“At some point, you feel comfortable and say, ‘This is the choice I want to make,'” Mayer told [CELEBRITY_LINK” “” “” “0” ] on his KIIS-FM morning radio show Wednesday.
Here’s a look at back the couple’s highs and lows:
Marley & Mayer
Aniston and Mayer were first spotted together last April in Miami, where the actress was filming her comedy, Marley & Me, costarring Owen Wilson. Causing a virtual tabloid frenzy, they spent a romantic day together poolside before showing up hand-in-hand to the film’s wrap party on May 10 at hot spot Nikki Coconut Grove. “They were acting very much like a couple,” said a source. “They did a little kissing at the bar.” Friends of Mayer’s revealed he had a standing reservation at Aniston’s Miami hotel for several weeks during the production and the two were enjoying spending time together. “He’s fallen hard for Jen,” said a pal. “He’s pretty enamored.”
Coast to Coast
Aniston and Mayer’s relationship showed no sign of cooling off as they traveled together in May, hitting Orlando for one of his concerts (including backstage kisses) before heading to New York, where they met up with some of the singer’s pals for dinner, drinks and more playful PDA. In June, the two spent a weekend in Punta Mita, Mexico at the seven-acre beachfront compound owned by Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis and then had a romantic dinner together in Beverly Hills the night before Mayer departed for his European tour. “They were super affectionate,” a fellow diner told PEOPLE. “And super sweet.”
Jen the Roadie
The actress became a backstage fixture at Mayer’s concerts, even traveling to London during his 10-night gig overseas. Aniston then joined the singer in July in Wisconsin to help kick off his summer tour before accompanying him to shows in Milwaukee, St. Louis and Irvine, Calif., as well. Mayer’s pals told PEOPLE the actress was a welcome addition to the crew. “Everyone gets along and is drama free and Jen fits right in – perfectly,” said a friend. “They are very happy together, it’s working really well and they’re only getting closer.”
He’s Just Not That Into Her
A month later in August, pals were whistling a dramatically different tune when Aniston and Mayer called it quits. “They had a great time together but they are just in different places in their lives right now,” said a source. While Aniston remained mum about the split, Mayer held an impromptu press conference outside his gym in New York, explaining to the media: “I ended a relationship to be alone because I don’t want to waste somebody’s time if something’s not right.” For her part, Aniston understood Mayer’s rant: “He had to put that out there that he broke up with me,” she told Vogue in December. “It’s funny when you hit a place in a relationship and you both realize [that] we maybe need to do something else, but you still really, really love each other. It’s painful. There was no malicious intent.”
Giving it Another Go
After spending a month apart, the couple reconnected in October over dinner in New York and were spotted together the next week in L.A., dining at Sunset Towers Hotel and later celebrating Mayer’s 31st birthday well past midnight at the Grand Havana Room, a members-only restaurant and cigar club. “They seemed happy together,” a source said. At Alicia Keys annual Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in November, Mayer spoke to PEOPLE about his relationship with Aniston. “It’s really nice to have somebody in life have your back,” he said. “That girl just knows me.”
40 and Fabulous
After ringing in the new year with pals in Los Cabos, Mexico, Mayer was by Aniston’s side throughout her birthday weekend in early February. On Saturday, Feb. 7, she hosted a festive gathering along with best friends Courteney Cox Arquette and Sheryl Crow at her Beverly Hills home, and the couple celebrated over an intimate dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse on Sunday as well. On Aniston’s actual birthday, Feb. 11, a small group of friends, including the 31-year-old Mayer, toasted her that evening with champagne and wine. The singer’s present for his girl? A personal serenade. “He did write a special song just for her for her birthday,” a source told PEOPLE.
At this year’s Vanity Fair Oscar party, Aniston and Mayer made the rounds in each other’s arms, chatting comfortably with fellow celebs like Nicole Kidman and Justin Long, and publicly enjoying each other’s company. At one point in the night, Mayer even grabbed a photographer’s camera to capture his own moment of Aniston, a knowing smile on her face. As she told Vogue, “I deeply, deeply care about him … we adore one another. And that’s where it is.”
• Reporting by JENNIFER GARCIA and PERNILLA CEDENHEIM
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