Of all the overblown celebrity "feuds" of the decade, the undisputed crown goes to the Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Aniston fight for Brad Pitt - but interestingly, this never ending battle can be traced back to the funny papers.
To stop and think for a second, it's amazing that the Jolie-Pitt-Aniston love triangle has continued to dominate tabloid covers for this long. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were wed in 2000, and divorced in October of 2005. Clearly, tongues were going to wag when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie first appeared publicly - in November of 2005. But we are closing out the decade and this war is still raging four years later? Why did this particular celebrity break up garner such lasting attention?
I've wondered about this off and on, just about every time I pass a newsstand with yet another Brad-Jen-Angelina text message scandal screaming at me as I'm looking for a yoga magazine. No one is running down Halle Berry for quotes about Eric Benet's new lover, or pushing weekly covers featuring pouty pictures of Jessica Biel juxtaposed with Rihanna. So why does this particular scandal have such staying power? I have an idea:
Let's call it the Betty/Veronica complex. In the popular Archie comics, Betty and Veronica were in constant competition over goofy-ass title character Archie. The series made headlines earlier in the year by insinuating Archie was actually going to propose to rich and sexy Veronica - making blond girl next door Betty the loser after a 65 year fight. The fans revolted.
When the news broke about the end of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's marriage, fans mourned. When they heard about him taking up with Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston fans were pissed for her, with one fanatic going as far as donning a "Friends" tee-shirt and trying to smack Jolie at a restaurant for "home-wrecking."
What could possibly provoke these fans (mostly women) into pledging undying loyalty to "Team Angelina" or "Team Jen" when they don't even know these people?
A possible answer came from Rashida Jones, who mentioned in her Vanity Fair interview about empathizing with the Bettys of the world over the Veronicas:
I was definitely a Betty for the majority of my life. Veronica was a little too snooty for me. Also, she was super popular, and I just couldn't relate to that. I was well-liked among my high school peers but I wasn't popular. It wasn't like the guys were drooling all over me.
This goes a bit deeper than the blondes versus brunettes debate we covered earlier in the year. People are projecting attitudes onto Jolie and Aniston that are representative of a type of person. The non-conflict mirrors a different kind of dynamic - the sexual vs. the innocent, the popular girl vs. the plain jane. It comes in various incarnations (see: Ginger and Mary Anne on Gilligan's Island) but the dynamic works because many people are willing to place themselves in the overly represented shoes of one archetype or another.
The Archie feud hasn't ended - in true comics fashion, Archie's choice was one scenario out of a few possibles that ended back where he started. But, according to tabloid fantasy land, there can only be one solution to the Aniston-Pitt-Jolie fight (and only one solution that will keep the cash cow flowing). The love triangle will be solved...but only if Brad, Jen, and Angie unite to get Jen a baby. The sweet love of a child will wash away all the remaining competition. Or not.
Angelina Jolie Almost Slapped by A Jennifer Aniston Fan [Softpedia]
Rashida Jones is All About Hot Chicks Kicking Ass! [Vanity Fair]