Jennifer Aniston Began 'a Completely New Chapter' — and Therapy — After Divorce and 'Friends' Finale

Aniston told Ellen DeGeneres, "I just kinda leaned into the end ... and it worked great!'

Jennifer Aniston turned an important page on her life in 2005.

On Thursday's series finale of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the actress told pal Ellen DeGeneres about the pivotal year she had after Friends finished its 10-season run around the same time as her marriage to Brad Pitt was ending.

"Well, I got a divorce and went into therapy," Aniston, 53, said while sitting down with DeGeneres, 64, for one of the long-running talk show host's final interviews.

"And then I did a movie called The Break-Up," Aniston continued. "I just kinda leaned into the end. I just was like, 'You know what, guys? Let's make this a completely new chapter. Let's just end everything and start new.' It worked great."

Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston
Kevin Winter/Getty

Aniston and Pitt, now 58, announced their separation in January 2005 after more than four years of marriage, then finalized their divorce that October.

For more on the final episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

Seventeen years later, the pair have rekindled their friendship and Aniston considers the actor one of her "buddies."

The exes happily greeted each other after they both won SAG Awards at the 2020 ceremony. Aniston was named outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series for The Morning Show — a moment Pitt made sure to watch while he was backstage. That same night, he was honored for his role in the film Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood.

Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Emma McIntyre/Getty

Aniston told ELLE in January 2019: "My marriages [to Brad and Justin Theroux], they've been very successful, in [my] personal opinion."

Ahe continued, "And when they came to an end, it was a choice that was made because we chose to be happy, and sometimes happiness doesn't exist within that arrangement anymore."

Aniston acknowledged, "Sure, there were bumps, and not every moment felt fantastic, obviously, but at the end of it, this is our one life and I would not stay in a situation out of fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being able to survive. To stay in a marriage based on fear feels like you're doing your one life a disservice,. When the work has been put in and it doesn't seem that there's an option of it working, that's okay. That's not a failure. We have these clichés around all of this that need to be reworked and retooled, you know? Because it's very narrow-minded thinking."

As for Aniston's Friends friends, they've remained close in the 18 years since the series finale.

They even reconvened for a May 2021 reunion special on HBO Max.

friends reunion
Friends reunion. Terrence Patrick/HBO Max

"I was flooded with 10 years of irreplaceable memories," Courteney Cox told PEOPLE at the time about how she felt stepping back onto the iconic Central Perk set.

Shared Matt LeBlanc, "It's funny, when we do get together, it's like no time has passed. We pick up right where we left off."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

A source told PEOPLE in 2019 that the former costars "have really leaned on each other" in the years since the NBC megahit took its final bow.

A show source added that even when Aniston and her pals were separated, "They follow each other's lives. The fact that they have been there for each other in happy and in sad times says a lot."

Related Articles