Shame on Everyone Who Still Thinks Angelina Jolie Is a “Homewrecker”

A defense of Angelina and every woman who's been accused of being a "homewrecker."

Let me just start by saying I despise the term “homewrecker.” Like, with every bone in my body. I hate it because not only is it always in reference to a woman, but it wrongfully implies distasteful, dishonorable actions and qualities about people and a situations that frankly, we know nothing about. Let’s be real. “Homewrecker” and Angelina Jolie are pretty much synonymous, and let me remind you: it has been TEN years since she and Brad Pitt fell in love while he was married. A decade, a marriage, five children and countless projects later, and Angelina’s relationship with Brad is still tainted in the pubic eye because of what happened. I’m here to call bullshit on this horrific stereotype and to finally put this nonsense to bed for good.

The couple reemerges into the spotlight with today’s debut of Angelina’s new project By the Sea, which she wrote, directed and stars in alongside her husband. Seeing press and promotion for the new movie brought on déjà vu of when their controversial romance first sparked on the set of Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2005. Only for some, this isn’t déjà vu, it’s an ongoing fallacy of what their relationship is and Angelina’s role in it. In this review of the film, Angelina is referred to as a “vixen” and her character a “pouty homewrecker.” An intentional choice of very unnecessary words if you ask me.

And did you catch the Angelina reference in a recent episode of Scandal? In case you’re unfamiliar, Kerry Washington’s character is an esteemed media consultant on major damage control after her ongoing affair and serious relationship with the president was revealed, leaving her emotionally destroyed and helpless at the mercy of the public, the media and their destructive words tearing her to pieces. Her associate suggests she takes on humanitarian work to reroute people’s perception of her from the “homewrecker” to the philanthropist since it “worked for Angelina.”

People clearly haven’t let it go, and although it bothers me to even have to do this, let’s quickly revisit what feelings may have stemmed from the events that occurred in 2005 between Angelina, Brad and his wife at the time, Jennifer Aniston. Brad and Jen were married for five years when he and Angelina fell in love working on their project. Off the bat, people can say that they had it out for Angelina because she was the “bad girl.” Lots of black in her wardrobe, tattoos, dark hair and luscious lips, while Jen was seen as the innocent girl next door. Are we, adults, really going to judge people by such topical, superficial bullshit? How old are we, really? If I dyed my hair black and got more tattoos, that somehow makes me a bad person? Give me a break.

It may have been that it was such a shock, because to us, Brad and Jen seemed like the happily married Hollywood couple (a rare breed in itself) everyone admired. It could’ve been that Brad and Angelina played coy about their relationship for a while, which, in such a complicated, publicly scrutinized, confusing situation, how would you expect them to handle it? Regardless, Brad and Jen filed for divorce and a month later he was spotted with Angelina, who was immediately marked with a permanent “homewrecker” on her forehead, and Jennifer was seen as the sad, weak victim, essentially until she got married to Justin Theroux this year.

Everyone thought: “How could you, Angelina?” We all know Brad practically got off scot-free and Angelina took the fall for everything. But did we all forget Brad was the one in the relationship? As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. It’s not like Angelina put a gun to his head to make him leave his wife. He seemed pretty willing. And let’s say Brad did honor his marriage and stay with his wife. Would remaining unhappily married to her while being in love with another woman mean he would be respecting Jen and his wedding vows? Would that make him more of an honorable man? To me, that would make him a coward, and coming forward to follow his heart and do himself, Angelina and his wife-even if it may have hurt initially-right, was what a real, honest man would do.

And what did they do wrong, exactly? Unintentionally fall for each other? We’re human beings, people, we experience these things called emotions, and sometimes we can’t understand or control them. Brad says there was no infidelity but they “fell in love.” They’ve been together for 10 years and married for over one of them, so clearly what they had wasn’t the cliche of a sleazy fling. I’m over the relentless stereotype of a “homewrecking” woman maliciously coming into a relationship and “stealing” another woman’s man.

And having people like Chelsea Handler, who, in a sad attempt to “defend” her friend Jen, refer to Angelina as a “demon” and not a “girl’s girl” doesn’t help. Especially eight years after everything went down and coming from another woman. That’s just low.

Even Jen realizes that Brad and Angelina didn’t do anything wrong. She’s literally said those words. This year, she told The Hollywood Reporter that “sometimes things [happen].” “If the world only could just stop with the stupid, soap-opera bullshit,” she said, “There’s no story. Please, give more credit to these human beings.”

Still, headlines with the word “homewrecker” almost always involve Angelina. Here are some from the last five years:

Complex
Celeb Dirty Laundry
Hollywood Life

It’s sickening, really. Especially when there are many other famous couples who got together when one or both of the people were involved with someone else. Remember?

  • Tom Hanks was married to Samantha Lewes when he got involved with Rita Wilson. He divorced Samantha in 1987, married Rita in 1988 and has been married to her for 27 years.
  • In 2012 on Love & Hip Hop Atlanta, Joseline was seen as the “homewrecker” who got between Stevie J. and Mimi. Joseline and Stevie have been married for over two years now.
  • Swizz Beats was married to Love & Hip Hop’s Mshonda Tifrere when he separated from her in 2008 and after a year of speculation, became romantically involved with Alicia Keys. They’ve been married for five years.
  • Jason Aldean was married to his high school sweetheart for 14 years when he admitted to “acting inappropriately” with American Idol star Brittany Kerr in 2012. He divorced from his wife and married Brittany in March of this year.
  • Ethan Hawke filed for divorced from Uma Thurman in 2004 amidst speculations of his affair with the family nanny, Ryan Shawhughes. The two have been married for eight years.
  • Johnny Depp was with Vanessa Paradis for 14 years before he seperated from her and immediately began his relationship with Amber Heard, who he met on the set of The Rum Diary. They married in February of this year.
  • In 1968, John Lennon’s wife Cynthia caught her husband in his affair with Yoko Ono. Less than five months later, he was granted a divorce.
  • And those are just some examples. I don’t know if anyone on this planet thinks of Yoko Ono or Alicia Keys as infamous “homewreckers.” But Angelina Jolie, sure, why not?

    How about situations where women left their boyfriend or husband for another man? Some examples:

  • LeAnn Rimes cheated on Dean Sheremet with Eddie Cibrian (who was also married). LeAnn and Eddie both divorced and the two have been married since 2011.
  • Gwen Stefani’s divorce from Gavin Rossdale wasn’t even finalized for a month before she and her The Voice co-star Blake Shelton announced their relationship this month.
  • Jessica Seinfeld married Eric Nederlander in 1998, a few months after meeting Jerry Seinfeld. Immediately after returning from her honeymood, Jessica pursued her relationship with Jerry and filed for divorce four months later. She and Jerry have been married for nearly 16 years.
  • Meg Ryan was married to Dennis Quaid for nine years when she became romantically involved with Russell Crowe in 2000. A year later, her divorce was finalized.
  • Blake, Eddie, Jerry and Russell all technically played the same role as Angelina, yet I’ve never heard any of them referred to as a “homewrecker.” Or any man, ever, for that matter.

    I acknowledge that no two relationships are the same. And while all of these situations are drastically different, they have one obvious common thread and I can’t seem to come to terms with why Angelina remains the poster child of this offensive, tired stereotype. It’s not only clearly illogical, but at this point, unacceptable.

    Pizza is bae. And yes, I still say bae.
    @taylorferber