The duo announced their split in a joint statement on Thursday. While the news came as a shock to many, a source told PEOPLE shortly before the breakup that Theroux’s differing personalities and interests had put a strain on the relationship.
They are “very different people,” the source told PEOPLE.
In the months leading to their separation, Aniston spent most of her time in Los Angeles with her close-knit group of friends, 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,” says an entertainment source. “Justin is not that comfortable or happy in Los Angeles all the time. He loves New York and always has.”
From the start of their relationship, Aniston, 49, and Theroux, 46, often spent long periods of time apart from one another.
“For years, even before they married, they compromised and did their own thing,” says the entertainment source. “It has involved long separations, especially for their work demands.”
And as their relationship progressed, Aniston’s sense of independence only continued to grow.
“Jennifer has gotten more confident, more set in her ways and pretty self-assured,” says the first source. “She will do what she wants. She will pursue her own interests and goals.”
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The former couple announced their split 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. 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. ”
While the couple 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.
- Reporting by LINDA MARX