In a new interview with The New York Times published Saturday, the actor, 47, broke his silence about their divorce — revealing that the two went their separate ways without any hostility.
“The good news is that was probably the most — I’m choosing my words really carefully — it was kind of the most gentle separation, in that there was no animosity,” he explained.
“Again, neither one of us is dead, neither one of us is looking to throw hatchets at each other,” he added. “It’s more like, it’s amicable. It’s boring, but, you know, we respected each other enough that it was as painless as it could be.”
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t sadness for Theroux and Aniston, 49.
“It was heartbreaking, only in the sense that the friendship would not be the same, as far as just the day to day,” Theroux said. “But the friendship is shifting and changing, you know, so that part is something that we’re both very proud of.”
“In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation,” they said in a statement through their rep at the time. “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.”
Part of the reason it all went so well, according to Theroux, was because both he and Aniston are actors who are used to attaching and detaching from projects.
“[It’s] kind of a carny lifestyle,” Theroux told the Times of life in Hollywood. “[A split] doesn’t have that seismic shift of an ordinary couple, where everything is, like, you have to tear a baby in half.”
One of his biggest post-split challenges has been navigating the media. “How do you combat gossip and rumor? And it’s just on crack and steroids now. In a weird way, just sort of navigating the inevitable perception of it is the exhausting part,” said the actor, who appears in Netflix’s new series Maniac with friend Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.
“These are actually in reality small events that take place,” Theroux shared. “But everything can feel like 10 on the Richter scale if you make the headline big enough and salacious enough.”
To keep it all in perspective, Theroux remembered good advice he received from pal Jason Bateman early on in his relationship with Aniston.
“[He said,] ‘There will be this other you born, this other character. And this person is insane. If you follow this person, or you pay attention to this person, it will make you insane too,’ ” Theroux recalled to the Times. “So I learned early on, obviously, not to participate, not to spend time dwelling on it.”
As for whether he’s dating someone new, Theroux told the Times with a laugh, “Is this the part where I coyly raise an eyebrow and not answer the question?”
RELATED VIDEO: What Went Wrong? Inside Jennifer Aniston & Justin Theroux’s Split “They Couldn’t Find Common Ground”
Aniston also talked about the challenges of navigating the media back in August.
“It’s pretty crazy,” the Friends alum said in a wide-ranging chat with pal Molly McNearney — Jimmy Kimmel‘s wife — for InStyle‘s September issue. “The misconceptions are ‘Jen can’t keep a man,’ and ‘Jen refuses to have a baby because she’s selfish and committed to her career.’ Or that I’m sad and heartbroken,” she said.
“First, with all due respect, I’m not heartbroken,” she continued in the InStyle cover story. “And second, those are reckless assumptions. No one knows what’s going on behind closed doors. No one considers how sensitive that might be for my partner and me. They don’t know what I’ve been through medically or emotionally. There is a pressure on women to be mothers, and if they are not, then they’re deemed damaged goods. Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do?”