In her first interview since splitting with Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston says she was "shocked" by the breakup and is trying to "pick up the pieces in the midst of this media circus."
Aniston broke down twice during the interview for the September issue of Vanity Fair, on newsstands nationally Aug. 9. Mostly, though, the actress comes across as resilient.
"Am I lonely? Yes. Am I upset? Yes. Am I confused? Yes. Do I have my days when I've thrown a little pity party for myself? Absolutely. But I'm also doing really well."
Holed up in her Malibu, California, bungalow, the 36-year-old actress says the media coverage and tabloid rumors have been hard to deal with - especially reports that she didn't want to start a family.
"A man divorcing would never be accused of choosing career over children," she says. "I've never in my life said I didn't want children. I did and I do and I will!"
Aniston filed for divorce in March, citing irreconcilable differences after 4 1/2 years of marriage. The couple separated in January.
Aniston says she was aware of Pitt's attraction to Angelina Jolie, his "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star, but doesn't blame their split on her.
"It's just complicated," Aniston says. "There are all these levels of growth - and when you stop growing together, that's when the problems happen."
But when pictures showing Pitt and Jolie together with her 3-year-old son, Maddox, on a beach in Africa were published, the former "Friends" star says, "the world was shocked and I was shocked. I'd be a robot if I said I didn't feel moments of anger, of hurt, of embarrassment."
She also was hurt by a fashion spread in W magazine - a concept of Pitt's - that showed the actor and Jolie as a 1960's-style married couple.
"There's a sensitivity chip that's missing," Aniston says of Pitt.
Aniston maintains in the interview with Leslie Bennetts, her first since the split, that she still accepts Pitt's word that he didn't cheat before their January separation: "I choose to believe my husband." Pitt and Jolie met while filming "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" a year earlier.
Says Aniston: "I just don't know what happened. ... I feel as if I'm trying to scrounge around and pick up the pieces in the midst of this media circus."
Otherwise refusing to talk badly of Pitt, the actress says she doesn't want to mimic the bitterness of her parents' divorce.
"I love Brad; I really love him. I will love him for the rest of my life," says Aniston. "I don't regret any of it, and I'm not going to beat myself up about it."
"The sad thing, for me, is the way it's been reduced to a Hollywood cliche - or maybe it's just a human cliche."
Another false report, Aniston says, is her relationship with Vince Vaughn, her co-star in the upcoming movie "The Break Up."
"I like a lot of people, but I'm sooo not 'in like' with anybody."
Aniston also hasn't lost her sense of humor. On Pitt's recently dyed blond hair, she says, "Billy Idol called - he wants his look back."