Jennifer Joanna Aniston (born February 11, 1969) is an American actress, producer, and businesswoman. She is the daughter of actor John Aniston and actress Nancy Dow. Aniston gained worldwide recognition for portraying Rachel Green on the popular television sitcom Friends (1994–2004), a role which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award. The character was widely popular during the airing of the series and became recognized as one of the 100 greatest female characters in United States television.
Aniston has played the female protagonist in a number of comedies and romantic comedy films. Her box office hits include Bruce Almighty (2003), The Break-Up (2006), Marley & Me (2008), Just Go with It (2011), Horrible Bosses (2011) and We’re the Millers (2013), each of which have grossed over US$200 million in worldwide receipts. Her most critically acclaimed roles were in The Good Girl (2002), for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, and the drama Cake (2014), for which she received nominations for the Golden Globe Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress. Her other films include Along Came Polly (2004) and He’s Just Not That Into You (2009). She is the co-founder, in 2008, of the production company Echo Films.
In 2012, Aniston received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood and as of 2014, her net worth is estimated to be US$150 million. She has also been included in magazines’ lists of the world’s most beautiful women. In 2004, Aniston was named “The Most Beautiful Woman” by People magazine, and Men’s Health magazine voted her the “Sexiest Woman of All Time” in 2011. Her personal life is also the subject of wide publicity. Divorced from actor Brad Pitt, to whom she was married for five years, she is now married to actor Justin Theroux.
Aniston was born February 11, 1969, in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California to actors John Aniston and Nancy Dow. Her father is Greek and a native of Crete, while her mother was born in New York City. One of her maternal great-grandfathers was an Italian immigrant and her mother’s other ancestry is English, Scottish, Irish and a small amount of Greek. Aniston has two half-brothers, John Melick, her maternal older half-brother, and Alex Aniston, her younger paternal half-brother. Aniston’s godfather was actor Telly Savalas, one of her father’s best friends.
As a child, Aniston lived in Greece for a year with her family. They then moved to Eddystone, Pennsylvania, where they lived with her grandmother Stella Anastassakis in a three-bedroom home. While living in Eddystone, Aniston was enrolled at a local elementary school. She and her family later moved to New York City. Despite her father’s television career, Aniston was discouraged from watching TV, though she found ways around the prohibition. When she was six, Aniston began attending a Waldorf school. During that time, Aniston’s father and mother split when she was nine years old. Her father is best known for his role as Victor Kiriakis on the NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives, which he originated in 1985. Her mother appeared in two 1960s TV series, The Wild Wild West and The Beverly Hillbillies.
Having discovered acting at eleven at the Waldorf school, Aniston enrolled and graduated at Manhattan’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, where she joined the school’s drama society.
In 2015, Aniston spoke about a childhood incident that led to lifelong fear of water. She stated during a special event for her film Cake (2015), “I basically have a real fear of going underwater. I was a kid and I was riding this tricycle around a swimming pool and I drove my tricycle into the swimming pool and I didn’t let go and my brother tried to (help). So, I can’t go underwater and no one will believe me. I honestly can’t.” The incident let to filming a swimming pool scene 30 times on the set of the film with director Daniel Barnz before getting it right.
Aniston’s high-profile relationship with actor Brad Pitt was frequently publicized in the press. She married Pitt, after two years of dating, on July 29, 2000 in a lavish Malibu wedding. For a few years, their marriage was considered the rare Hollywood success, but on January 7, 2005 they announced their separation and finalized their divorce on October 2, 2005. During their divorce proceedings there was intense speculation in the media that Pitt had been unfaithful to Aniston with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie, whom he started dating soon after the split. In the following months, the public’s reaction toward the divorce was reported in the press, and “Team Aniston” and “Team Jolie” T-shirts appeared throughout the country. The story became the headline news of media shows such as ET and Access Hollywood. The divorce made the front-pages of tabloid magazines for years, and it still continues to be discussed in the media. Aniston commented on the divorce in a January 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter , stating that “Nobody did anything wrong…. It was just like, sometimes things happen.”
In 2005, media reports speculated that the split was due to Aniston’s refusal to have children with Pitt. Aniston denied that this was the cause of their split in an August 2005 Vanity Fair magazine interview, stating, “I’ve never in my life said I didn’t want to have children. I did and I do and I will… I would never give up that experience for a career.” Aniston also revealed that her divorce prompted her to reach out to her mother, Nancy, from whom she was estranged for nearly a decade. They initially became estranged when Nancy talked about her daughter on a television show and later wrote a book entitled, From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir (1999). Aniston has also stated she was devastated by the death of her longtime therapist, whose work helped make her separation from Pitt easier. Aniston said her relationship with Pitt, which she does not regret, was “seven very intense years together” and that “it was a beautiful, complicated relationship”.
Aniston started a relationship with actor, director and screenwriter Justin Theroux in May 2011. In January 2012, Aniston and Theroux purchased a home in Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood for roughly US$22 million. They became engaged on August 10, 2012 and married on August 5, 2015 at their Bel Air estate.
She previously dated actors Vince Vaughn and Tate Donovan. She also dated musicians Adam Duritz and John Mayer.
Aniston practices yoga. In 2014, Aniston spoke of her Transcendental Meditation practice. When asked what the number one thing which has kept her looking so amazing is, she replied, “I’d say a little over a year ago I started doing TM and that’s really changed everything. Starting your day off with that and ending with that is pretty powerful.”
In January 2015, Aniston revealed that she was diagnosed with dyslexia in her 20s which affected her education and self-esteem. As a result, she does not read a lot. However, being diagnosed with the disorder changed her life. She stated, “I thought I wasn’t smart. I just couldn’t retain anything. Now I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, dramas were explained.