Justin Theroux Was Shocked by Attention During Jennifer Aniston Romance: 'I'm Just a Character'

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Ale Russian
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Gilbert Flores/BroadImage

Justin Theroux didn't anticipate the attention he'd get once he started dating Jennifer Aniston.

Theroux appears on Sunday Today with host Willie Geist, who asked the star about his relationship with the actress. Theroux, 49, and Aniston, 52, first started dating in 2011 and split in late 2017.

"Was that a shock to your system though? Ten years ago when you started dating Jennifer and got married all that attention that you got?" Geist asked the actor, who next stars in the Apple TV+ show The Mosquito Coast.

"Yeah, I think part of me was like, I'm essentially sort of a character actor and a writer, there's not much there," Theroux said. "Jason Bateman actually once gave me one of the most sage pieces of advice ever when all that was kind of going on."

"He said, 'Look, in that side of the entertainment industry, a character is about to be born and that character is you, but it's not you. That character is angry, that character has got a problem, that character is sweet. It's just this little soap opera that gets written in the margins,' " Theroux recalled Bateman explaining. "And he said, 'And so my advice is, don't follow that guy's storyline.' "

RELATED: Justin Theroux Reveals Jason Bateman Gave Him 'Sage' Advice When He Started Dating Jennifer Aniston

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Theroux and Aniston have remained friendly since their split, with Theroux wishing her happy birthday every year and speaking positively about her in interviews.

He most recently spoke to Esquire where he revealed he still keeps in touch with the Friends actress fairly regularly.

"I would say we've remained friends. We don't talk every day, but we call each other," Theroux said in the magazine's latest cover story. "We FaceTime. We text. Like it or not, we didn't have that dramatic split, and we love each other. I'm sincere when I say that I cherish our friendship."

He continued, "We can not be together and still bring each other joy and friendship. Also, she makes me laugh very, very hard. She's a hilarious person. It would be a loss if we weren't in contact, for me personally. And I'd like to think the same for her."