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Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston

The Big Split ...and Romance on the Set

Hollywood's golden couple called it quits when they released this joint statement to People Magazine:

"We would like to announce that after seven years together, we have decided to formally separate. For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any of the speculation reported by the tabloid media. This decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration. We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another. We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months."

With these words, the end of an iconic Hollywood pair, together for seven years, became public. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston officially announced their separation on Jan. 7, providing the public with the confirmation that their marriage has been troubled for awhile now. While the separation still stands, they just returned from a romantic vacation in Anguilla, and Brad still wears his wedding ring and lives part-time at their Malibu beachside home. Meanwhile, tabloid rumors are still spurring about Brad's alleged involvement with Angelina Jolie on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Jen's unwillingness to have a baby while her acting career continues to sky rocket.

In spite of all this speculation, the track records of many stars do indicate that romance on the set is nothing new. As the leading ladies and leading men “act” as though they are falling for each other, it seems as though sometimes they really do! On set chemistry and physical connections often evolve into real attractions and connections…

Take Tom Cruise for example. Tom was married to Mimi Rodgers when he met his future wife, Nicole Kidman, on the set of Days of Thunder. This legendary couple broke up shortly after Tom’s filming of Vanilla Sky, which he starred in with Penelope Cruz. Tom and Nicole got a divorce right before they hit the 10-year mark, and soon enough, Tom was seen around town with Penelope. However, Tom and Penelope didn’t last, and now she has fallen for another co-star on the set of Sahara due out this April, hunky Matthew McConaughey.

Set romance also plagued the lengthy marriage of sweethearts Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid. The couple actually met on the set of Innerspace in 1987, only to break up after a happy marriage right after her on set romance with Russell Crowe during the Proof of Life filming in 2000.

Jennifer Garner met former husband, Scott Foley, on the set of Felicity, though rumor is she cheated on Foley with Alias co-star, Michael Varton. She and Foley then divorced, and Garner became the next Bennifer, dating Ben Affleck shortly after his break up with Jennifer Lopez!

Claire Danes also found love on the set while filming Stage Beauty in 2003. She hooked up with Billy Crudup, 11 years her senior, who ended his relationship with Mary Louise Parker who was pregnant!

The list of on set romances goes on and on. So, it is no wonder that many attribute this. Plus, the excessive distance, the cause of Brad and Jen’s tragic break up. Angelina Jolie herself has had romances with many a man she has met while filming. In 1998, she steamed things up with Jonny Lee Miller on the set of the 1995 movie Hackers. The two stayed together until 1999, breaking up just in time for Jolie to split Billy Bob Thornton’s engagement to Laura Dern in 2000 after meeting on the set of Pushing Tin. After divorcing Billy Bob in 2003, Ethan Hawke (then married to Uma Thurman) was caught kissing Angelina in between the shooting of the movie Taking Lives. Soon after, in 2003, Colin Farrell and Angelina decided to take an Egyptian vacation together while working on the movie Alexander. In 2004, her friendship with Olivier Martinez on the Taking Lives set upset his girlfriend, Kylie Minogue.

But even with all these factors, Jen obviously trusted Brad and his monogamist nature by choosing not to visit him during the filming of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Furthermore, a source close to the couple mentioned that they have very different interests and have grown apart over time. The source also pointed out that Brad rebounded to Jen after his engagement to Gwyneth Paltrow and never really had the chance to play the field or develop personally.

While speculation continues, the ending of Brad and Jen’s relationship could be just as simple as growing apart over time, something that happens to many couples. Saying goodbye to a long-time love or companion is never easy. But, this stellar couple has shown the world that this too may be done with grace, dignity, and style.

POWER Magazine wishes Brad and Jennifer the best of luck, whether together or apart.

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