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Jennifer Aniston is pregnant. Everybody says so.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 21/06/2016 Holly Wainwright
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It must be wonderful being Jennifer Aniston.

Money, mansions, a handsome husband. Exotic holidays. Beauty. Famous Friends. A great job, but no real need to ever work again if you don’t want to.

Then again…

It must be awful being Jennifer Aniston.

Jennifer Aniston with husband Justin Theroux © Startraks Photo/REX/Shutterstock Jennifer Aniston with husband Justin Theroux

Your every move is watched and dissected. Your every curve assessed. All your life choices are judged. There's no peace from prying eyes, even on holidays, even in your bikini.

The truth about being Jennifer Aniston lies somewhere in the middle of these two statements. The peculiar nature of her fame - she's still catnip to magazine covers, decades after she stopped being Rachel, or Brad Pitt's wife - means she has all of the privilege, none of the privacy.

This week, Jennifer Aniston is pregnant. On the cover of American magazine In Touch, on the cover of Woman's Day magazine, there's Jen, in a bikini, with a bump.

I can hear your eyes rolling from here. And you're going to eye-roll even more when I tell you the next part - all of the people I know who work in magazines tell me it's true. Jen's pregnant. 

See, I spent a lot of years working in celebrity magazines, and the teams who run these mags are more savvy than most when it comes to what's real and what's not in celebrity land. For a start, they are privy to an insider's view of how celebrities deal with the paparazzi.

They know, for example, that Jennifer Aniston has been playing this game of cat-and-mouse with the paps for a very long time, and knows how to go incognito on a holiday if she chooses to.

They know, for example, that just because a rep denies something - Jen's agent called these "bump" shots the results of a large lunch - it doesn't mean it's not true. Reps live by the rule of 'deny, deny, deny' until their charge tells them otherwise. That's their job.

And they know, for example, the astounding lengths an unwelcome pap will go to to get their shots. Yes, they harass. Yes, they stalk, and yes, they yell abuse just to get a reaction. And that's just around the kids.

It's not always a pretty business, making gossip. But it's also not as one-sided as you might imagine.

So let's go along with the idea that Jennifer Aniston really is pregnant, at 47, and that the shots of her being paddled around a Bahamian Beach by her husband are what they appear to be.

Let's, for a moment, indulge the notion that she wanted people to know that. Because? Because she wants to change her narrative, without appearing to indulge our obsession.

How do you feel about it?

Are you happy for her, for the woman who was "poor Jen" for so long, the most famous cuckold in Hollywood history.

Are you satisfied because you feel like a baby - just like the wedding to Justin Theroux she kept very, very private - rounds off her mid-life narrative into a neat full circle?

Maybe not. Maybe you know that a high-profile pregnancy of someone closer to 50 than 40 will mean a tsunami of "Miracle baby" headlines, of speculation about how the hell she managed it, of website think-pieces about women not assuming they should be so lucky.

Magazine editors are banking on the first reaction.

They are gambling on the fact that no matter how far we've come, ultimately we are uncomfortable with a woman who doesn't follow the script. We want our celebrities to head down the ailse and into the maternity ward so we know what to do with them, and so we can slot them into our neat little "happy" or "sad" boxes.

For years, Jen was in the "sad" box. A "miracle baby" would see her leapfrog into the "happy" box for good. The lid would go on, and we could shelve her there until divorce rumours began to bubble up through the lid.

So, is Jennifer Aniston pregnant?

There are probably a handful of people in the world who know the answer to that question for sure, and the guy who took these photos is not one of them.

But people are buying those magazines because they really, really want her to be.

After all we know, we still project our happy-ending fantasies onto the woman we spent a decade pitying.

And what does that say about us?

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