IT’S interesting to compare and contrast the lives of one-time power couple Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt right now. Not all that long ago, Brad was the ultimate A-list golden boy with the world at his feet.
He was regularly named the sexiest man on the planet and could pick and choose his movie roles. But in the past few years his image has become somewhat tarnished.
He’s no longer the boy wonder who can do no wrong and this week Brad revealed how he spent 18 months going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after his marriage to Angelina Jolie broke down.
He was with an all-male AA group and described it as “removing his drinking privileges” — but said it was a “freeing” experience. I suspect he is the kind of straight man who prefers the company of other fellas.
He seems far happier just watching baseball on TV with some of his mates than dressed up in a tuxedo at a red-carpet event with a glamorous woman on his arm.
There were rumours that his drinking was a factor in wrecking his relationship with Angelina — with accusations of him having a booze-fuelled rant at one of the older kids — and even close pals agreed that he needed help getting back on track.
While he has been trying to get his act together — and all credit to him for seeking help — 18 months down the line Brad is still trying to officially “consciously uncouple” from Angelina.
The lengthy divorce proceedings and bitter child-custody battle have at times been highly toxic but now we are told it is all being settled behind closed doors. This means that the lawyers will be having a field day and it will be costing an absolute fortune.
The whole split will have been incredibly stressful so it’s maybe no wonder Brad sought solace by hitting the bottle. But let’s just take a look at Jennifer.
It’s hard to believe she was once an object of pity after Brad fell head over heels for Angelina when she was his movie co-star in Mr & Mrs Smith back in 2005.
Jennifer is now light years from the supposed “woman scorned” who everyone felt desperately sorry for — she is currently right at the very top of her game.
Jennifer has turned 50 and appears on the current cover of Instyle magazine, glowing with health and happiness and looking at least two decades younger.
It’s not been easy.
As well as the famous split with Brad, she didn’t have the easiest time finding her feet in Hollywood. After Friends came to an end, her film career failed to take off and then stalled with a series of pretty dire rom-coms.
To her credit, Jennifer bounced back spectacularly with a string of hits and critically acclaimed roles — in movies such as Cake, Mother’s Day, Dumplin’ and, most recently, Murder Mystery.
Although none of her post-Brad relationships lasted the distance and her marriage to Justin Theroux ended in divorce, Jennifer now seems very comfortable in her own skin.
She has said before that she doesn’t want people to feel she needs their sympathy and that she is extremely happy with her life. She is clearly frustrated at being labelled the “deserted wife” and has long since made her peace with Brad.
So much so that he was a guest at her 50th birthday party and they are friends — with real affection for one another. Brad and Angelina have always insisted they got together after his marriage to Jennifer was in trouble, but all couples go through bad patches and you do have to wonder just what would have happened if Mr & Mrs Smith had never been made.
Perhaps Brad and Jen would have been able to talk through any tensions and misunderstandings and save their relationship. A lot of people would like to see these two back together again, but I reckon Brad is now carrying too much baggage for a woman such as Jennifer.
Who would have thought she would end up being the stronger of the two? They do say the best revenge is living a good life — and Jennifer is the proof of that.
Windsor still a winner
SHE looked frail and unsteady at times walking up Downing Street to No 10 but Barbara Windsor’s glorious smile never faded. The 82-year-old was on a mission as she delivered a letter to Boris Johnson calling on him to improve dementia care.
It was typical Barbara, drawing on every ounce of her strength and resilience to make sure the needs of dementia sufferers are heard. Leaning on the arm of devoted husband Scott, above, who has been her rock since her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it was heartening to see glimpses of the Barbara we all love.
She was immaculately made up and her trademark blonde beehive was teased higher than ever. She smiled, waved and joked with everyone, but you could see
she was exhausted as well as exhilarated. Seeing Barbara and Scott together – and the tender way he takes care of her – is so moving.
This vile disease might be cruelly robbing him of the woman he loves, but the two of them endeavour to make the most of every day and they are doing a vital job in raising money and awareness so one day we might even conquer dementia.
What a tribute that would be to one of the most delightful women I’ve ever been lucky enough to come across.
MY thoughts are with Alexandra Burke and her footballer partner Angus MacDonald, who has been diagnosed with bowel cancer at the heartbreakingly young age of 26.
The Hull City defender is a fit sportsman and the news proves this hellish disease can strike down anyone. I hope the cancer has been caught early and he will go on to make a full recovery with singer Alexandra by his side.
It’s going to be a very tough time for them both – but I hope all the support and good wishes being sent their way will be of some help and comfort.
Archie excuse doesn’t add up
I’M a bit bemused that Harry and Meghan have apparently declined an invitation to his granny’s Highland home, saying baby Archie is too young.
Their four-month-old has already flown to Ibiza for a week on a private jet and is about to go on a long trip to South Africa. By all accounts, there is also an upcoming trip to California so Mum and Dad can go househunting.
So to say he’s too small to pop up the road to Scotland seems somewhat disingenuous. The Queen always invites her family to Balmoral to spend part of the summer with her. Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Sophie and princesses Eugenie and Beatrice spent time there last month.
The Queen also showed her unquestioning support to Prince Andrew, who is embroiled in the scandal surrounding the late convicted pervert Jeffrey Epstein.
William and Kate flew up with their three kids for a family break – somewhat pointedly on a Flybe plane – the day after the Sussexes went on that Ibiza trip in a private jet financed by Uncle Elton.
Maybe Meghan simply doesn’t fancy the chilly BBQs and outdoorsy life at Balmoral. Harry’s mum Diana was never a big fan and I wouldn’t blame Meghan for not wanting to be part of the hunting, shooting and fishing brigade. But it’s the excuse of Archie being too young that doesn’t ring true.
It was the same with Harry’s response to their flights on private jets when preaching to us all about reducing our carbon footprints. He claimed it was to protect his family but big bro William will one day be king and he took Kate and their three children on a commercial airline to Scotland.
As I’ve said before, Harry and Meghan have good intentions and a lot to offer. They could do so much good but they seem to have lost their way and there is a growing disconnect between them and us that is really sad.
Fed-up Britons in the thick of Brexit shambles
WHAT the feck have we all done in a previous life to deserve the complete and utter balls-up currently being played out in our parliament? It makes the deranged and sweary TV comedy The Thick Of It look like a sensible political documentary.
We have become a country full of people who are either permanently angry or completely and utterly fed up to the back teeth of the whole Brexit debacle. Or both.
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Family members have fallen out with one another after heated arguments over leaving the EU, including the PM’s nearest and dearest. This week Boris Johnson’s own brother Jo turned against him and resigned from Parliament as a minister and MP.
Boris says he’d rather be dead in a ditch than ask for a Brexit extension but it’s increasingly likely he will be boxed into a corner and have no choice. So what then? Does he resign and run away again leaving some other poor sod to clear up the mess?
It looks suspiciously as though there’s no real plan and the whole motley crew are just lurching from crisis to crisis. We deserve better.
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