For over 30 years now, Jennifer Aniston has graced our TV screens with her incredible talents. She is an American producer, film director, business person and one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood. She gained worldwide recognition in the 1990s for playing the role of Rachel Green in 'Friends'.
Jennifer Joanna Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California to her Greek father, actor John Aniston, and mother, actress Nancy Dow. Aniston has two half-brothers, Alex Aniston, her younger paternal half-brother and John Melick, her older maternal half-brother. Actor Telly Savalas was her Godfather and one of her father’s best friends. Anastassakis was their family name while they were in Greece but they later changed it to Aniston. Jennifer lived in Greece with her family for a year before they moved to Eddystone, Pennsylvania, where they lived with her grandmother Stella Anastassakis in a three-bedroom home. While residing in Eddystone when she was six-years old, Aniston enrolled in Waldorf School, a local elementary school. She was often discouraged from watching TV by her father, though she found ways around the prohibition.
Her family later moved to New York City where Jennifer joined Rudolph Steiner School. At a tender age of 11, Jennifer had her first experience of acting when she joined the school’s drama club. It was here that she developed her passion for art. Jennifer began her professional training as a drama student at New York’s School of Performing Arts, known as the ‘Fame’ school. It is in this school that she became more active in drama. She played basketball in 8th grade and volleyball in 9th grade. She used to attend night classes to study psychology and was often known as the class clown in high school. In 1987, after graduation, she appeared in off-Broadway productions such as ‘For Dear Life’ and ‘Dancing on Checker’s Grave.’
Jennifer Aniston began doing stage productions in the late 1980s and landed her first television role as a series regular on Molloy in 1989. She also appeared in The Edge (1992), Ferris Bueller (1990), and had a recurring part on Herman’s Head (1991). By 1993, she was being recognized more in the acting world. She was asked to audition for the role of Monica in the series Friends. She rejected and auditioned for the role of Rachel Green instead, the suburban princess turned coffee peddler. The series was a huge success, rising Jennifer to worldwide fame. Her character was widely popular, and she became recognized as one of the 100 greatest female characters in United States television. In 1995, Aniston shot a 60-minute instructional video with Mathew Perry for Microsoft’s Windows 95 operating system. Jennifer never liked the hairstyle she wore during her first two years on Friends, but the hairstyle became very popular among women, being known as the ‘Rachel Green cut’. She continued with Friends for ten years, banking $1 million per episode for the last three seasons, until the show ended in 2004. Jennifer became the first woman to win the GQ ‘Man of the Year’ award. She shared the award with 50 Cent and Vince Vaughn in November 2005, with it being a big moment in her career. Aniston used her success from Friends to propel herself into the movie industry, where she went on to star in numerous Hollywood films.
In 2002, along with Brad Pitt and Brad Grey, Aniston founded the movie production company Plan B Entertainment, but herself and Grey withdrew in 2005. In 2008, she formed Echo Films production company with producer Kristin Hahn. Aniston starred in Marley & Me alongside Owen Wilson in 2008. It was the largest Christmas Day box office profit ever, with more than $14 million in ticket sales and a No. 1 ranking.
Aniston has played the female protagonist in several comedies and romantic comedies. Her box office hit films include Bruce Almighty, The Break-Up, Marley & Me, Just Go with It, Horrible Bosses, and We’re the Millers. Her other films include Along Came Polly and He’s Just Not That Into You. The Forbes’ list of the 100 Most Powerful Actresses in Hollywood, ranked her in at number 8 in 2009, number 2 in both 2011 and 2012, and number 3 in 2013.
In 2014, she starred in Horrible Bosses 2 as well as the drama film Cake, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. Her latest movies include The Yellow Birds and Office Christmas Party released in 2016. Aniston has continued to keep steady work in her genre of comedies and romantic comedies, being in the acting industry from 1988 to present. Aniston’s accolades include a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Aniston has made appearances in some commercials and music videos throughout her career. She appeared in a Heineken commercial banned in the USA due to branding issues. Aniston has also featured in commercials for L’Oreal hair products. She is the spokesperson and co-owner of ‘Living Proof’, a hair products company. Chris McMillan, her longtime hairstylist who created ‘The Rachel’ 1990s hairstyle, also joined the company. In 2005, she appeared in the Heineken TV commercial frequently aired before UEFA Champions League.
Jennifer joined her TV mom in Friends Marlo Thomas on August 19, 2003 in a fashion show to raise charity cash for ill children. Aniston donated $500,000 to Haitian health care provider Partners In Health and AmeriCares. She also participated in the Hope for Haiti Now telethon. Since 2007, Aniston has worked for the drink SmartWater in a publicity campaign. On April 14, 2007, she received GLAAD’s Vanguard Award for her contributions towards the acceptance of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Aniston supports Friends of El Faro, a non-profit making organization that helps raise money for an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. She featured in many TV commercials for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, which she supports. Aniston also hosted September 2008’s Stand Up to Cancer show. On Earth Day 2010, she was part of an effort to stop the slaughter of dolphins by the Japanese people and protect them from the toxic levels of mercury found in dolphin meat. On March 7, 2011, Aniston released a YouTube video, titled ‘Jennifer Aniston Goes Viral’, for SmartWater, which increased online interest in the product just 24 hours after its release. She had a ceremony to place her hand and footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on July 8, 2011.
Aniston was made the new spokesperson and face of Aveeno Skincare in January 2013. She was named the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) ambassador for the Saks Fifth Avenue Key To The Cure campaign. This campaign raises funds for the EIF Women’s Cancer Research Fund to support research into the detection, treatment, and cures for women’s cancers. She became the face of Emirates airline in 2015 in a deal reported to be approximate $5 million. She supported the Comic Relief, Inc. charity. Jennifer was honored by SmartWater in 2006 for her philanthropic work for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital at a special event in Los Angeles. In July, Jennifer Aniston wrote an essay for The Huffington Post, which she criticized the objectification and scrutiny women are put through. She talked about her marital status and not having children. Aniston has supported other charities which include AmeriCares, Clothes off Our Back, Feeding America, OmniPeace, EB Medical Research, and Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Her mother and father split up when she was nine-years old. When she was 11, she improved her painting skills and the Metropolitan Museum of Art placed one of her paintings in its archives. Before her breakthrough, she worked as a waitress, receptionist, telemarketer and a bike messenger. Her personal favourite quote is – “It’s impossible to satisfy everyone, and I suggest we all stop trying.” Jennifer was a schoolmate of Chaz Bono. Even though she is half Greek, she does not like Greek food but loves Mexican.
Photographer Francois Navarre agreed on November 11, 2003, to pay $550,000 for taking photos of Jen sunbathing topless in her backyard. Brad Pitt once stated that a German magazine article misquoted him saying him and Jennifer were expecting their first child late in 2001, making the magazine print a retraction. Jennifer’s mother wrote the book From Mother & Daughter To Friends. This book is also part of the reason for the fight between Jennifer and her mother. She became estranged from her mother, who made unflattering statements about Jennifer in the tabloids, even keeping her mother away from her wedding.
Aniston practices yoga and Budokan Karate. In 2014, spoke of her Transcendental Meditation practice. Jennifer said that yoga helped her to recover from her split with Brad Pitt. She started to train in karate after being encouraged by her best friend and Friends co-star Courteney Cox, who holds a brown belt in the sport. Aniston had undiagnosed dyslexia, which had affected her education and self-esteem. After being diagnosed with dyslexia in her twenties, her outlook toward life changed.
In 1995, Aniston dated musician Adam Duritz and also actor Tate Donovan from late 1995 until 1998. She revealed she met actor Brad Pitt on a blind date. The press frequently publicized her relationship with him. The pair tied the knot in a lavish wedding after two years of dating. Her best friend, actress Andrea Bendewald, was the maid of honor at the wedding. On October 25, 2000, Aniston officially changed her name to Jennifer Pitt but still used her maiden name (Aniston) professionally. To many, their marriage was a rare Hollywood success, but on January 7, 2005, they announced their separation. This separation came barely four and a half years after their marriage began. She filed for divorce on 3/25/05, stating irreconcilable differences. The final part of their divorce was on February 2, 2005. Media reports speculated that the split was due to Aniston’s refusal to have children with Pitt which Aniston denied. Brad Pitt immediately began dating his rumored lover Angelina Jolie after the split.
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, was “seven very intense years together” and that “it was a beautiful, complicated relationship”. Aniston dated actor Vince Vaughn between 2005 and December 2006. She later dated musician John Mayer from 2008 to 2009. Aniston started a relationship with actor, director and screenwriter Justin Theroux in May 2011. Early 2012, Aniston and Theroux purchased a home in Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood for roughly $22 million. On August 10, 2012, she became engaged to her boyfriend of 15 months on his 41st birthday and were married on August 5, 2015, at the Bel Air Estate where they are currently living. The wedding was kept private from the media and paparazzi.