Justin Theroux received "sage advice" from Jason Bateman when he started dating Jennifer Aniston.

Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston

Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston

The 'Leftovers' star admitted the attention being in such a high profile relationship brought was very new to him but his friend told him to think of stories written about them as simply being about "characters" in a "little soap opera" and to try not to get drawn into any drama.

Asked if the attention was a shock to the system, he told 'Sunday TODAY' host Willie Geist: "Yeah, I think part of me was like, you know, I'm essentially sort of a character actor and a writer, there's not much there.

"Jason Bateman actually once gave me one of the most sage pieces of advice ever when all that was kind of going on.

"And he said, 'Look, in that side of the entertainment industry, a character is about to be born and that character is you, but it's not you. That character is, you know, angry, that character has got a problem, that character is, you know, sweet. It's just this little soap opera that gets written in the margins.' And he said, 'And so my advice is, don't follow that guy's storyline.' "

The 49-year-old star - who began dating the former 'Friends' actress in 2011 before splitting early in 2018, almost three years after they tied the knot - is grateful for the advice because it helped him to stay "sane".

He added: "It was a good piece of advice because I stuck to it. And that's the only way you can sort of keep sane and all that."

Last week, Justin revealed he and Jennifer have "remained friends" since they split and are still in regular contact with one another.

He said: "I would say we've remained friends. We don't talk every day, but we call each other.

"We FaceTime. We text. Like it or not, we didn't have that dramatic split, and we love each other. I'm sincere when I say that I cherish our friendship.

"We can not be together and still bring each other joy and friendship. Also, she makes me laugh very, very hard. She's a hilarious person. It would be a loss if we weren't in contact, for me personally. And I'd like to think the same for her."