Once again, the world is obsessed with who Jennifer Aniston is dating — or in this case, not dating. Yesterday, rumors swarmed the internet that Aniston’s new flame is an older one, her Friends co-star and on-show love interest David Schwimmer. His rep quickly threw cold water on the speculation, denying reports that real-life romance was blossoming between Rachel and Ross; this was later echoed by Instagram gossipmonger Deux Moi. But how did this rumor get started, and what does it say about our cultural fixation on Aniston’s love life?
The origin of the rumor comes from a report by UK publication Closer. In their story, a source said that Aniston and Schwimmer were allegedly “growing close” following the Friends 25th anniversary reunion special. During the special, Schwimmer revealed to host James Corden that the two “were both crushing hard on each other” during the show’s first season, but that was the extent of anything serious between them. Closer goes on to report that he visited her in LA, she cooked dinners for him, they rendezvoused at a winery — all things that can happen between lovers, to be sure, but also platonic friends.
Schwimmer’s rep told The Sun that rumors of their entanglement have been greatly exaggerated, telling the tabloid that there is “no truth” to Closer’s report. In an Instagram Stories post, Deux Moi even noted that they “have it on VERY good authority that this is not true; obviously, Deux Moi is an unverified source, so take that as you will.
Meanwhile, it would be very nice if the world could stop concerning itself with Aniston’s love life. For the past two decades, she’s weathered cultural hand-wringing about her “bad luck” in relationships, not being a mom, and generally not conforming to social mandates about how straight women are defined by their partners. But Aniston told the New York Times that, in her early 50s, she’s “entering into what I feel is one of the most creatively fulfilling periods of my life...I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I feel like it’s just about to really bloom.” Maybe we should all take a breather and appreciate Aniston for her work, instead of who she is or is not dating.