Therouxly, Madly, Deeply

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 14, 2012 | Go to article overview

Therouxly, Madly, Deeply


Byline: Liz Hoggard

IN AMERICA, every girl wants to date a Baldwin brother. But here in London the ultimate trophy man is a Theroux. With the news yesterday that Jennifer Aniston, 43, is marrying her actor boyfriend, Justin Theroux, 41, the stock of London's premier literary family has gone through the roof.

Aniston may have had flings with actor Vince Vaughn and musician John Mayer since the 2005 collapse of her five-year marriage to Brad Pitt but it's Justin who got the ring on her finger.

And we Londoners know just how desirable those floppy-fringed, independent-thinking Theroux boys are.

Forget the Freuds and the Redgraves, Justin is part of an extended literary clan that includes his cousins, Baftawinning documentary-maker Louis Theroux, 42 (the ultimate geek crush), and writer and broadcaster Marcel Theroux, 44.

Their father is travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux, 70, while Justin's other uncles, Peter and Alexander Theroux, are also novelists.

Justin has the film star looks but all three cousins can trace their dark colouring back to their French-Canadian grandfather Eugene Theroux and American-Italian grandmother Anne.

In a world of fashion narcissists, their rumpled charm is refreshing -- it's only when they take off their specs you realise how handsome they are. Tatler magazine once named Louis the seventh most-fancied single man in Britain.

But beware the Theroux charm. They may behave like charming schoolboys who are not remotely ambitious but Theroux men tend to get what they want. It's a stealth approach.

An amiable beanpole in Harry Potter spectacles, asking impertinent questions with an air of baffled innocence, Louis has tripped up celebrities from Sir Jimmy Savile to disgraced Tory MP Neil Hamilton and his wife Christine.

Ann Widdecombe found herself flustered when he asked if she is still a virgin, and Savile likened Louis Theroux to a "piranha fish" of interviewers.

Fluent Russian-speaker Marcel has made documentaries about Chernobyl and Ukraine's street children, and published four novels (The Paperchase won the Somerset Maugham Award). He jokes that sibling rivalry has spurred him on.

The cousins grew up apart -- Justin in Washington, while Louis and Marcel had a London childhood (their American father Paul settled in south London in the Sixties with his British wife Anne Castle, a World Service producer).

But the cousins share a self-deprecating British sense of humour. Aniston says that's what drew her to Justin, along with his protective instincts.

They're not afraid of channelling their female side and can talk about Proust and Enid Blyton and Botox (Louis even had liposuction for his documentary on cosmetic surgery). …

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