Jennifer Aniston has spoken candidly about her experience with in vitro fertilisation and the public pressure she faced over whether she was going to have children.
The actor, 53, opened up about her attempts to get pregnant while reflecting on the “really hard sh*t” she went through in her “late 30s, 40s” during an interview with Allure.
“I would say my late 30s, 40s, I’d gone through really hard sh*t, and if it wasn’t for going through that, I would’ve never become who I was meant to be,” she said. “That’s why I have such gratitude for all those sh**ty things. Otherwise, I would’ve been stuck being this person that was so fearful, so nervous, so unsure of who they were. And now, I don’t f**king care.”
Aniston then went on to reveal that she was referring to her experience undergoing IVF, with the actor acknowledging that it was a “challenging road” trying to get pregnant.
“I was trying to get pregnant. It was a challenging road for me, the baby-making road,” she said.
According to the Golden Globe winner, who has spoken previously about the pressures placed on women to have children, the experience was even more difficult because of the speculation from the media and the public about whether she was going to become a mother.
“All the years and years and years of speculation... It was really hard. I was going through IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it,” she said. “I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me: ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favour.’ You just don’t think it. So here I am today. The ship has sailed.”
Despite how difficult the experience was, Aniston said she is grateful and relieved that she tried, as she said that it means she doesn’t has to spend time thinking about “what if”.
“I have zero regrets,” she told the outlet. “I actually feel a little relief now because there is no more: ‘Can I? Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.’ I don’t have to think about that anymore.”
During the interview, Aniston also hit back at the “narrative” that she was “selfish” for not wanting children, with the Friends star recalling how the media often painted her as caring more about her career.
Aniston also acknowledged the role her divorces played in the narrative, as she called out the “absolute lies” that her marriages ended because she did not want to become a mother. Aniston was married to Brad Pitt from 2000 to 2005, while she was later married to Justin Theroux from 2015 to 2017.
“God forbid a woman is successful and doesn’t have a child. And the reason my husband left me, why we broke up and ended our marriage, was because I wouldn’t give him a kid. It was absolute lies,” she said, adding: “I don’t have anything to hide at this point.”
Aniston’s comments come after she condemned the constant rumours about whether she was pregnant in a 2016 op-ed published in HuffPost, in which she said she was “fed up” by the media scrutiny.
“For the record, I am not pregnant. What I am is fed up. I’m fed up with the sport-like scrutiny and body shaming that occurs daily under the guise of ‘journalism,’ the ‘First Amendment’ and ‘celebrity news,’” Aniston wrote at the time, before acknowledging that the “objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing”.
In the op-ed, Aniston also claimed that the amount of time and money spent by the media trying to uncover whether she was pregnant perpetuates the notion that “women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children”.
Elsewhere in her interview with Allure, Aniston spoke candidly about why she’s never opened up about her experience with IVF, with the actor admitting that she “spent so many years protecting [her] story about IVF” because she feels she gets to keep so little about herself private. “I’m so protective of these parts because I feel like there’s so little that I get to keep to myself,” she said.
As for why she has decided to share her story now, Aniston said it’s because the world will continue creating narratives that “aren’t true,” so she “might as well tell the truth”.
“I feel like I’m coming out of hibernation. I don’t have anything to hide,” she added.