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Jennifer Aniston is a woman who lives life to her own rules, so let's stop patronising her

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Hooray! Friends star Jennifer Aniston has (reportedly) married her long-term boyfriend Justin Theroux. It's the happy ending she's always deserved! But perhaps if we stopped mollycoddling her with a veil of unsolicited sympathy and warmth, we'd have realised this is a confident, fulfilled woman who has always known her own mind and done what she likes - regardless of our blanket “concern”

For a long time now, Jennifer Aniston has had to contend with a frenzy of rumour on whether or not she'll have kids and if she really deleted Brad Pitt off speed-dial forever more.

No surprises then, that when speculation reached fever pitch over her reported wedding to boyfriend of three years Justin Theroux this week, the Friends actress met it with a big fat silence.

It's a typical move for Aniston, who is light years away from the downtrodden victim box we like to put her in.

Not for her, the Clooney extravaganza of Venice wedding drama. 

This is a woman who was only ever going to get married in her own low-key, private manner - firmly sealed off from the hysterical circus of speculation that has dogged her for more than a decade. 

Maybe she'll eventually release a statement and a photo, maybe not. But whatever she chooses to do, Aniston will play it her own way and on her own terms, just as she always has done.

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux

At its nicest end, the media has always treated Aniston with a sense of pally familiarity, bordering on proprietorship.

Ever since Rachel Green won us over in the 90s, she's been an ally, the girl-next-door with great hair whom we love to treat with a sense of affection and protectiveness - an attitude the actress has never in any way solicited. 

This fuzzy feeling took on a more disturbing edge when Aniston and Pitt divorced in 2005, amid frenzied rumours of his affair with Angelina Jolie on-set Mr and Mrs Smith.

Suddenly, “Jen” became cast in a victim role - the loser in Hollywood's most famous love triangle - prompting a maelstrom of metaphorical tea and sympathy, as well deliriously inaccurate speculation over her “heartbroken” status.

“Why can’t she keep hold of her man?” blares one headline from 2010.

“The top seven reasons no man will love Jennifer Aniston,” reads another astonishing 2009 post.

“Is Jen unlucky in love again?” is the breathless question posited by this pseudo-emphatic article

At least she's pretty - but wait, no: “Jennifer Aniston's unhappy with her looks”. Things have really got bad for her...

A funny, talented and assured woman became reduced to the hysteria of her own press coverage, on a level unprecedented to any other Hollywood star. 

Most people would find it pretty galling. Maybe they would even start playing into the stereotype, such is its sticking power. 

But Aniston's answer has been genius. She simply rides above the storm and does and says exactly as she likes - proving time and again that she is not the “poor Jen” caricature we've lumbered her with. 

In fact the uncontrollable tabloid frenzy is something she's proven herself happy to step back and laugh about; surely not the actions of a distraught, lovelorn waif. 

Jennifer Aniston back in the Friends days

Jennifer Aniston back in the Friends days

Every time she speaks out on any kind of issue, Aniston does so with the kind of self-assured authority that is at odds with the cuddly, slightly patronising attitude we seem to have adopted for her.

“Nobody did anything wrong,” the actress said earlier this year, calmly abating (for the millionth time) the Brad-Ange question that never goes away. “But we wish nothing but wonderful things for each other. You know what I mean? It was just like, sometimes things [happen].”

And late last year, she hit back with finesse at the dogged swirl of pressure and speculation over whether she'll have kids, and when.

“I don't like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women - that you've failed yourself as a female because you haven't procreated. I don't think it's fair,” she told Allure magazine

“You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn't mean you aren't mothering—dogs, friends, friends' children.

“There's all sorts of reasons why children aren't in people's lives, and no one has the right to assume. It's quite rude, insulting and ignorant.”

And there speaks the true Aniston, aside from all the babble. 

Perhaps with the actress entering a new chapter of her life this week, it's time for us to take a step back and respect her as she is.

There's no poor or unhappy or "aww": this is a great comedy and serious actress (note her ground-breaking role as a car crash victim in Cake) who's unafraid to mock her situation and knows exactly what she wants out of life - without any help or concern from the rest of us.

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