Why do we still shame Jennifer Aniston for being single?

Aniston went on to marry Justin Theroux in 2015, but split from him two years later, generating a new slew of headlines: one American

tabloid ran the coverline ‘DUMPED’, while others speculated on her fertility. Indeed, such open season has been declared on Aniston and her

relationship status that in 2016, she wrote an open letter for the Huffington Post, about the tabloid narrative that has dogged her for decades.

“We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child,” she wrote. “We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone.”

In a magazine interview that year, she reiterated how fed up she was of the reductive focus on her personal life. “My marital status has been shamed; my divorce status was shamed; my lack of a mate had been shamed,” she said. “I just thought: ‘I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human.’”

Despite being something of a role model for peaceful, unapologetically unattached women everywhere, the Friends actress is, at 54, still having to justify her single status. “I didn’t like the idea of sacrificing who you were or what you needed, so I didn’t really know how to do that,” she told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. She added that, for her, relationships are “just about not being afraid to say what you need and what you want. And it’s still a challenge for me.”