The star promotes Ocean's Twelve in Tokyo, but refuses to discuss Jennifer Aniston

By Stephen M. Silverman
January 13, 2005 08:00 AM

American reporters, among others, were banned from a Thursday press conference in Tokyo to promote Ocean’s Twelve, at which one of the crime caper’s stars, Brad Pitt, would only speak to Japanese interviewers – who had vowed not to ask about his marital breakup with Jennifer Aniston.

“Given the fact that he is going through a difficult time in his relationship, it’s to be expected that the world’s media is not allowed inside,” Antony Beilinsohn, an American TV show producer barred from the event, tells Reuters despite his having flown in from the United States for the gathering.

Cart Common, representing a Japanese radio station, suggested that the limitation on press invitations was “maybe because the foreign press sometimes is really direct and ask rude questions about personal things … while the Japanese press is very polite.”

Ocean’s star George Clooney joined Pitt for the flight to Tokyo, where they reportedly were met at Narita International Airport by screaming fans. Pitt stopped to chat and sign autographs but refused to discuss his broken marriage.

When one reporter on the scene asked why Pitt was back on the singles market, Clooney butted in as protector, saying: “Shame on you!”

In a statement given exclusively to PEOPLE on Friday, Pitt, 41, and Aniston, 35, denied the accuracy of tabloid-reported reasons for their split and said that, after 4-1/2 years of marriage, they remained “committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another.”

Speculation had it that Pitt wanted to become a father but that Aniston preferred to concentrate on her career. This week she has returned to work in Hollywood on the film Friends with Money, costarring Frances McDormand.