Hollywood was founded on the power of story, though the real-life ones off the screen between its stars sometimes draw more attention than the fiction we watch on film.
Which is maybe why Sunday’s night’s interaction between Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt at the Screen Actors Guild award show has lit up social media into something of a frenzy and elicited speculation the famed couple may soon rekindle their romance.
Married between 2000 and 2005, the pair have been spotted together numerous times of late, primarily at industry shows. In each of the instances, they’ve appeared friendly toward one another, amiably chatting and even laughing together.
Since their highly publicized split in 2005, both Aniston and Pitt were married and divorced a second time from their new spouses. Aniston’s marriage to Justin Theroux ended in 2017 and Pitt’s union with Angelina Jolie in 2016.
I don’t pay attention to Hollywood gossip beyond what I see in the headlines and I certainly wouldn’t pretend to know all of what transpired between Aniston and Pitt over 15 years ago that led to the dissolution of their marriage.
Divorce, though, often comes after an accumulation of untended and unresolved offenses.
Yet, I do know that every divorce is a tragedy – the “death of a small civilization” as the late writer Pat Conroy once fittingly wrote. There is something immensely sad about the fracture of what was intended to be a lifelong partnership. If all the hurts of the divorced hearts were known, we’d be frozen in grief for our fellow human beings.
In fact, the pain of divorce is one of the realities that has driven me to devote the last 30 plus years of my life to working for and now leading an organization dedicated to helping preserve and strengthen marriages – and provide assistance to those recovering from broken dreams and the dissolution of marital unions they never expected to end.
Seeing clips of Aniston and Pitt at Sunday night’s SAG award show leaves me to conclude that the two have likely worked through the animus they may have had towards one another in the years following their divorce. They’ve forgiven one another.
The timeline of forgiveness following divorce is different for each person, especially those wounded by infidelity and other painful transgressions. And let’s be clear. Forgiveness is tough and doesn’t come easy. The human heart is wired for justice. When we’re wronged, we want to get even. We may even want the other person to suffer in some way that will help us feel that the debt has been satisfied.
But forgiveness never excuses the wrongs against us or waters down the awful nature of an offense. Forgiveness doesn’t pretend that something didn’t happen. Forgiveness acknowledges the ugliness of the offense against us.
The power of forgiveness is that it sets us free, not the other person. Forgiveness releases our heart, heals our pain, and allows us to move forward through life in peace.
It’s probably very unlikely that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt will marry again but by being released of any bitterness or resentment they may have once felt towards one another, they’ll be in a much healthier place to tackle the coming years of their lives.
This article originally appeared on Fox News.