Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announce separation

Actors Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux arrive at the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California January 17, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Celebrity couple Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux have announced that they are separating. In a joint statement released to the press, the couple said they made the decision mutually at the end of last year, and they will continue to be best friends.

“This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year,” the joint statement read. “We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship.”

The couple also said that they intended to keep their decision private, but they did not want anyone speculating or inventing stories about them, so they chose to convey the truth directly. The couple added, “Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else’s fictional narrative.”

Although many fans were surprised by the announcement, it appears that the issues that ultimately led to the separation were not formed overnight. According to a source close to the couple, one of the major factors that contributed to the couple’s decision to split was their disagreement on where they should live.

Theroux considered himself to be a New Yorker and never really wanted to live in Hollywood. Aniston had tried to move to the Big Apple, but could not deal with the paparazzi and the small apartment. Eventually, she retreated back to the privacy of her Bel Air mansion.

“Jennifer is more comfortable in Los Angeles with her close-knit group of friends,” said a source. Theroux, however, preferred to be in his network of friends in New York.

“He’s friends with people in the restaurant world, writers, comedians, artists, tattoo artists,” revealed the source. “It’s an eclectic group and he doesn’t have that type of network in LA.”

Over time, the couple, who wed in 2015 after dating for five years, started spending more time apart, in their preferred cities.