“They saw each other late at night on Valentine’s Day in L.A.,” a source close to the actress tells PEOPLE. “They decided together that they would make the announcement the next day. Justin flew on a private jet to L.A. to see Jen one last time.”
The insider adds that the former couple were divided on when to announce the breakup news, with the Friends star hoping to continue to keep the matter private.
“Jen didn’t want to announce it for as long as possible, because she wanted to avoid the media attention,” the source says.
The couple’s decision to split 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 Feb. 11.
“Jen hoped that Justin would be low-key on her birthday so people weren’t wondering why he wasn’t with her. But that’s not Justin’s style,” the insider continues. “He wanted to make the announcement so he can live his life.”
The pair announced their split after seven years together and two and a half years of marriage with a statement released by Aniston’s longtime publicist on Thursday: “In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation. This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship.”
“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,” their statement continued. “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. ”
The Aniston source says Theroux, 46, had been over the relationship for quite some time.
“It seems Justin gave up many months ago,” the insider explains. “For the past few months, he has spent very little time in L.A. Jen very recently started telling people that they were over. She seems okay now, but was still hoping as of a few weeks ago that they could figure things out.”
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A source told PEOPLE shortly before the breakup that Aniston and Theroux’s differing personalities and interests had put a strain on their marriage.
They are “very different people,” the source said.
On top of work demands keeping them apart, Aniston spent most of her time in Los Angeles with her close-knit group of friends in the months leading to their separation, while Theroux often visited New York City.
“Jennifer loves her life in Los Angeles, and if anything, she has grown more attached to being there,” said an entertainment source. “Justin is not that comfortable or happy in Los Angeles all the time. He loves New York and always has.”
Aniston and Theroux first met on the Hawaii set of 2008’s Tropic Thunder and began dating in 2011. They later married in a surprise and secret ceremony on August 5, 2015 — just a few days before Theroux’s 44th birthday.
While the duo announced that they separated at the end of the last year, they celebrated the New Year together with their annual vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, alongside a handful of close pals including Jason Bateman and his family.