Justin Theroux is ensconced in his Greenwich Village duplex. It’s the middle of February, “the shortest and the cruelest” of months, he says. We’re talking over Zoom. He’s wearing a black T-shirt over his non–dad bod, a black beanie, and, despite the waning daylight, tinted aviators. A russet beard covers his unfrivolous jaw. Behind him, there’s a glass case displaying wax molds of syphilitic mouths. He takes frequent drags from a Juul to supplement a steady supply of Nicorette; he quit vaping when the pandemic began and only recently resumed. “I reserve it for the evening hours,” he says, as if voicing an infomercial. It’s 3:30 p.m., close enough. He holds up a piece of gum. “Whereas the minute I open my eyes, I put this in.”



Listen, it’s been a stressful year.

In the lead-up to Covid-19, he was in Mexico, filming his latest project, Apple TV+’s The Mosquito Coast. When production halted in March 2020, Theroux returned to New York City and began stockpiling for his pod of one. (Two, if you count Kuma, his pit bull terrier.) He bought bone broth by the bucket; he hoarded garlic, ginger, and, for some reason, Parmesan cheese. “Perhaps I was being paranoid,” he says. Like everyone else, he couldn’t find toilet paper, but unlike the rest of us, he didn’t need it. “I have a Toto, thank God,” he says, referring to his heated, bidet-rigged Japanese toilet.

For the first time in decades, he was rooted in one place, and he made the most of it. He worked out, a lot. As spring arrived, he observed nature’s transformation. “The buds started to come, and I tracked that,” he says. “Birds started to arrive in the backyard. Like, squirrels were behaving differently.”

Still, it was a lonely existence for a man who thrives on connection. Though he’s seen a few close friends—Amy Sedaris, the fashion designer Adam Selman—he “can’t wait to hang out with more than three people at a time.” When filming for The Mosquito Coast resumed last fall, Theroux went back to Mexico. Human contact! Not with three people, but thirty! “But that’s a work environment,” he says. “It’s social, but not the social I want.” They wrapped in December, and he’s been in New York City ever since.

“I don’t want to become a hermit. At all,” he says. “What I’m most thirsty for now is friendship. Once that’s up and running, I’ll start thinking about the other stuff.” By “the other stuff,” he means romance. Officially, he is single, and has been since he and Jennifer Aniston divorced in 2018. Before they got together in 2011, he was in a relationship for fourteen years with the stylist Heidi Bivens. This is the first time, in other words, that Justin Theroux has been single since the Clinton administration.

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