Actors Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced in February that they are parting ways.
The news led to Aniston fans hoping for a reconciliation with recently single ex-husband Brad Pitt, curiosity over what must surely be an ironclad prenuptial agreement, and – oddly – questions about whether the couple ever was legally married.
The couple had a wedding ceremony in 2015 after having dated for four years. News outlets reported at the time that their low-key wedding took place at their L.A. home, and the wedding news was kept under wraps. Celebrity guests were told they were attending a celebration for Theroux’s 44th birthday.
Just days after the couple’s separation announcement, celebrity gossip site TMZ raised questions about whether they ever were legally married. TMZ officials searched L.A. County marriage records dating back to 2010 and found no record of a marriage license. It is possible that they got their marriage license in another county, but sources close to Aniston said there has been talk for some time that they may not be legally married, TMZ reported.
In light of that suspicion, it makes one portion of the official statement from Aniston and Theroux a bit more curious:
“This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship.”
Notice how the statement doesn’t say they’re divorcing?
Confidential Vs. Public Marriage Licenses
Ultimately, it’s no one’s business but Aniston’s and Theroux’s, but the question of whether they are legally married has brought confidential marriage licenses into the public conversation. It is possible that the couple obtained this type of license to marry. Here’s a bit of information about the differences between the two types.
A couple must meet all of the requirements for a public marriage license plus some additional requirements when they want the license to be confidential. Those additional requirements, according to website for the Riverside County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder office are:
- Both parties must be 18 years of age or older.
- Both parties must swear in writing that they have already been living together.
Once a confidential marriage license is issued, the couple has 90 days from the date it was issued to perform the ceremony within the state of California.The marriage record is maintained as Confidential, and only the married couple may obtain copies of the certificate, according to the website.
The cost of marriage licenses in California range from about $35 to $100, depending on the county.
In Los Angeles County, a public marriage license costs $91, and a confidential license is $85. On the surface, it may seem strange that keeping your marriage license confidential is cheaper than opting for a public license. The truth is, the confidential license registration process is shorter, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder-County Clerk’s office. It’s only registered within the county it was obtained. A public license is registered throughout the state.
For all of the uncertainty raised by TMZ, other media outlets reported on an “ironclad prenuptial agreement” the couple had signed that would protect Aniston’s fortune in the event of divorce. Aniston was the highest paid actress in 2017, according to Forbes.
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