"Cougar Town" actor Josh Hopkins was hurt and disgusted by the tabloid furore an innocent dinner date with Jennifer Aniston caused last month, because harsh rumors of a failed romance spread like "wildfire". The U.S. TV star befriended Aniston over the summer when she filmed a cameo for her best pal Courteney Cox's show and they reunited for a catch-up over a meal in September.
Gossips immediately claimed Hopkins had become Aniston's latest love interest - only for subsequent reports to allege he had dined and ditched the actress. But the intense media speculation was too much for Hopkins - and he's developed a real sympathy for Hollywood's biggest stars as a result of his own treatment in the tabloids.
He tells Parade magazine, "That was really, really weird and hurtful. I've been working in this business for a long time, and it's the first time I've ever found myself caught up in the middle of tabloid journalism... It felt dirty and invasive. It gave me so much empathy for real celebrities, people that have lived with this frenzied scrutiny for their entire life."