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Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux split after two years or marriage

The couple announced the news on Thursday

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Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux have decided to end their marriage. The couple, who have been married for two and a half years and together for seven, released the news with the Associated Press. The pair noted that the break up was "mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year."

The statement that was released by Jennifer's longtime publicist started: "In an effort to reduce any further speculation, we have decided to announce our separation. 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."

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Jennifer and Justin were together for seven years Photo: Getty Images

"Normally we would do this privately, but given that the gossip industry cannot resist an opportunity to speculate and invent, we wanted to convey the truth directly," the statement continued. "Whatever else is printed about us that is not directly from us, is someone else's fictional narrative. Above all, we are determined to maintain a deep respect and love that we have for one another."

MORE: See inside the mansion Jennifer Aniston used to share with Justin

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The couple met in 2008 but started dating in 2011 Photo: Getty Images

The announcement comes just a few days after she spent her 49th birthday in Los Angeles with best friend Courteney Cox while Justin has been out and about in NYC. The Friends star also attended Ellen DeGeneres’ 60th birthday without The Leftovers actor. The pair first met in 2008 on the set of Tropic Thunder but then began dating in 2011. After four years together, they surprised family and friends with a secret ceremony just shy of Justin’s 44th birthday in August 2015.

GALLERY: Justin and Jennifer's sweetest moments together

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