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By Kat Giantis
Picture it: June 18, 2009. Paparazzi catch Jennifer Aniston on a date with Bradley Cooper in New York. Rumors of a hot-and-heavy romance ignite, only to be quickly doused when he takes up with Renee Zellweger, all the while insisting that Jen is "simply, simply just a friend."
But now People magazine says that the newly Zellweger-free Cooper, 36, has reached out to Aniston, 42, who, despite supposedly feeling "screwed over" by Brad 2.0 the first time around, has been receptive to the renewed communication.
"In the past few weeks, they have stayed in contact," relays a source. "Jen always had a soft spot for Bradley, and she thinks he is very attractive and charming."
What, specifically, does the dating scene-hating actress seemingly find so darn attractive and charming about the A-list-ascending actor?
"Jen appreciates that Bradley is low-key, loves dogs and is focused on his movie career," explains the insider. "They have a lot in common."
Including a love of home improvement. The "Hangover" star recently finished renovating his digs in Pacific Palisades, where Renee had been living before their bust-up.
Jen, meanwhile, put her made-over, Architectural Digest-featured Beverly Hills estate on the market in February for $42 million.
According to the mag, Bradley plans to spend some quality time with Jennifer in Los Angeles now that he's wrapped up promotional duties for his surprise-hit flick "Limitless" (this plan seems to be news to Aniston's rep, who pooh-poohs the reconnection report to Gossip Cop as nothing but "old rumors").
Word of the potential romance comes on the heels of a more dubious report from the National Enquirer, which claimed that Jennifer wasn't exactly broken up to learn of Cooper's split with Zellweger.
"I don't think she could ever understand his attraction to Renee in the first place," a spy alleged to the tab (via Celebitchy). "They always looked awkward together, and Bradley was obviously not ready to commit fully to Renee."
Last year, Cooper described Aniston as a pal during an interview with Details, and he said they laughed over tabloid reports touting their nonexistent relationship.
"Hey, we should hang out," he recalls joking to Jen. "The other dates that we never had went so well."
RELATED: What came between Bradley and Renee?