Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt are easily one of the most talked about former couples in Hollywood, with fans constantly looking for signs that the two will rekindle their romance. In Sept. 2020, Aniston and Pitt gave them one in bright neon lights. The two actors participated in a virtual table read of the classic 1982 teen movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, where they read the script with a bunch of other huge stars. But it was their interaction that made headlines. “Hi Aniston,” Pitt said with a big smile at the start of the event. “Hi Pitt,” she responded, as she twirled her hair. Then, he asked how she was and Aniston replied, “Good, honey, how are you doin’?” The moment captured the hearts of many and was dissected all across the internet. Neither Aniston nor Pitt has said much about it, but in a new interview, Aniston finally got real about the seemingly flirtatious exchange.
In a June 23 interview on the Howard Stern Show with Aniston and her Friends co-stars Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, host Howard Stern admitted he was one of the many picking the interaction apart. “You did that read-through for Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I was nervous because you and Brad were there together,” Stern said. “So, I’m watching for any signs of how weird this is gonna be.”
Aniston read the lines of Linda Barrett (originally played by Phoebe Cates) and Pitt was, fittingly, Brad Hamilton (originated by Judge Reinholdt), who share an iconic racy moment. Though the scene wasn’t acted out in person—it was a virtual event, after all—the actions were described and read aloud by Morgan Freeman. Stern recalled, “You’re playing his love interest and Morgan Freeman’s saying, ‘Jen takes off her top’…” It was certainly an edge-of-your-seat moment.
So, was the viral exchange between Pitt and Aniston what we all made it out to be? Read on to see what Aniston had to say.
Stern asked Aniston point blank: “Wasn’t that awkward for you?” The actor didn’t hesitate to debunk that idea.
“No, it was absolutely fun,” Aniston said. “You know, Brad and I are buddies. Like, we’re friends and we speak. And there’s no oddness at all, except for everyone that probably watched it and was wanting there to be or assumed it to be.”
She added: “We had fun and it was for a great cause.” The event benefitted CORE’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
After Aniston poured cold water on the notion that it was awkward to have a virtual love scene with her ex, Stern still couldn’t get over it.
“When you go, ‘Hey, Pitt,’ and he goes, ‘Hey, Aniston,’… I’m like, Whoa! I’m looking for any kind of information off of this,” he said. “I’m looking at this and I’m like, ‘Well, maybe this is something.’ I watched it maybe 15, 20 times.”
Aniston didn’t say much after that, but it was clear she didn’t put the same stock in the seemingly flirty moment that the rest of the world did.
Stern was hardly the only person wondering that though. During an October appearance on Watch What Happens Live, a fan asked Matthew McConaughey, who was Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) at the table read, if he could “feel the sexual tension between Jen Aniston and Brad Pitt.” McConaughey laughed and repeated the question sarcastically. “Could I feel the heat through the screen of Brad? So palpable. Yeah, it was so palpable,” he said. “No, it was—I noticed that after—that’s what a lot of the topics were about that, or about them.” McConaughey said he “actually didn’t notice anything through the screen.”
Comedian Dane Cook—who read the lines of Mark Ratner (Brian Backer) during the table read—later spoke to Maria Menounos on her podcast Better Together with Maria Menounos about the much-discussed Pitt and Aniston moment. “Once Brad’s team talked to him, I’m sure it was just like, here’s who’s already in so far!” Cook said (via People). “There was no hesitation, there were no rules, there was no, nothing!”
“I just want people to know, there wasn’t anything like, ‘Were they not allowed…’ No! Zero. No drama,” he added. “What you saw was absolutely what we had hoped, which was just nice engagement between two massive, incredibly talented people.”
Aniston and Pitt infamously ended their marriage amid rumors he was cheating on her with his Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie, who Pitt went on to marry and have a family of six kids with. (They are currently going through a very long and contentious divorce.) As Jolie and Pitt’s relationship dissolved, rumors about Aniston and Pitt began swirling in 2019. In February of that year, Pitt attended Aniston’s star-studded 50th birthday party and her 2019 holiday party. A witness told Entertainment Weekly that Pitt “was among the first to arrive and the second to last guest to leave around 11 p.m.”
During the 2020 awards season, there was further fuel added to the Aniston-Pitt romance flames. Before the Golden Globe Awards in Jan. 2020, Pitt told Entertainment Weekly that he considers Aniston a “good friend.” Then, pictures from the Screen Actors Guild Awards that month showed Pitt and Aniston talking, laughing, and touching backstage (as seen here). There were even photos of Pitt watching proudly from backstage when Aniston accepted her award for The Morning Show. Hope as we may, it seems like these two exes have really just found a way to be true friends who are rooting for each other.