Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux announce separation

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Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux at the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards, on Jan 17, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Former Friends star Jennifer Aniston and her husband Justin Theroux said on Thursday (Feb 15) that they are separating after less than three years of marriage.

Aniston, 49, and The Leftovers actor Theroux, 46, married in August 2015.

"We have decided to announce our separation," the couple said in a joint statement. "This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year." The statement gave no reason for the split and the couple said they would have preferred to keep their separation private but were speaking out in a bid to reduce media speculation.

"We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship. Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly," the statement said.

Aniston, whose first marriage to Brad Pitt ended in divorce 10 years ago, is one of America's most popular celebrities and her private life is closely followed by celebrity media.

Aniston and Theroux married in a secret ceremony at their Los Angeles home in August 2015 that took many of the couple's guests, as well as the media, by surprise. They began dating in 2011.

Aniston has forged a lucrative film career in romantic comedies such as Horrible Bosses, Marley & Me and Just Go With It, since the hit TV comedy Friends ended in 2004, having made her a global star.

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