Jennifer Aniston is a successful actress, film producer, businesswoman, and philanthropist. The daughter of two Hollywood actors, Aniston began her own film career at the young age of 19. Since then, Aniston has become a household name and one of the wealthiest actresses in Hollywood. With a net worth of $250 million, both her career and personal life have been a topic of conversation in mainstream media.
But while her success is obvious to the public, there's a lot more to this woman than what meets the eye...
#1. A Family of Actors
In 1969, Aniston was born to John Aniston and Nancy Dow in Sherman Oaks, California. Although she was born in the Golden State, Aniston grew up living in both Greece and New York City.
It seems that acting is in this celebrity's genes. John Aniston, her father, has a reoccurring role on the popular soap opera Days of Our Lives where he's played the character Victor Kiriakis since the 80s. He also had several television appearances in shows like Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, Star Trek: Voyager, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Her mother, Nancy Dow, played several brief television roles, including The Beverly Hillbillies, The Wild Wild West, and Mr. Terrific.
Adding to her family's fame is her godfather, Telly Savalas, who is a well-known actor who played in a plethora of films throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s. With so many successful role models, Aniston could not shake her desire to act...
#2. Ambitious From Birth
Despite her parents' attempt to dissuade her from pursuing an acting career, Aniston was insistent. Besides acting, Aniston chose painting as a course of study. At just 11 years old, she painted a picture that was eventually placed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Aniston later landed her first acting gig as an extra in a soap opera where she played an ice skater.
As a teenager, she attended the famous Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in New York City. That same LaGuardia High School is known from the 1980 hit teen musical, Fame. Here, Aniston was extremely active in the drama club. Still, her father didn't believe Aniston was serious until she took the leap of calling his agent and started booking auditions. Right after graduating from high school, Aniston starred in two off-Broadway plays that helped boost her path to fame...
#3. 1994: A Stand-Out Year
Once the off-Broadway plays were over, Aniston decided to move to Hollywood to pursue her acting career. She worked as a telemarketer, a waitress, and a bike messenger before landing her first acting job in a small role in the unsuccessful film, Mac and Me. Aniston also starred in a few other unsuccessful television shows in the early 1990s, including Ferris Bueller, the television series. Aniston's first starring role was in 1993 in the movie Leprechaun, a horror film... which didn't earn her any accolades.
While she may have had unsuccessful movies and shows in the past, that all changed in 1994. That year, Aniston was offered a leading role on three different television series. These included a spot in the crew of Saturday Night Live, which she turned down because she didn't like the atmosphere, saying it was like a "boys club." Another show that she starred in was Muddling Through, a new television series in which Aniston played the daughter of a woman who was just released from jail for shooting her cheating husband. Unfortunately, Muddling Through was canceled after only 10 episodes.
Some sources say there was a conspiracy to have Muddling Through canceled so that Aniston could stay with Friends Like Us. If the show wasn't canceled, she would have been contractually obligated to finish out the season, which would have hindered her from taking the role as Rachel on Friends Like Us, which was the original name of the hit show Friends...
#4. Aniston as Rachel Green
Friends became a cult classic and one of the most-watched shows on television. Friends followed the lives of six young New Yorkers. In the show, Aniston played the popular character Rachel Green who was known for being the funny runaway bride and daddy's girl who aspired to be independent of her wealthy parents.
Though she wants to work in fashion, Green takes a job as a waitress at the coffee shop where her friends frequently hang out. Rachel Green is a terrible but comical waitress and soon becomes a beloved character of the show. Rachel's on-again-off-again relationship with Ross Geller (played by David Swimmer) was a popular storyline for the show and kept fans coming back for more.
Friends became wildly successful, and the cast members became some of the highest-paid actors on television. By 2004, each of the stars was earning $1 million per episode. The six cast members remain good friends and continue to have successful careers in film, especially Aniston...
#5. Drama versus Comedy
Early in her career, Aniston was not pursuing a career as a comedic actress; she was advised by an acting coach for her to consider it as an option. Clearly, he proved to be right. Though she still planned on utilizing her comedy skills on the big screen, she also wanted to prove that she could act in dramatic roles.
In 2002, she did just that with her role in Good Girl. People no longer saw her as a mere sitcom actress. She went on to star in other dramatic roles such as Derailed, Cake, and The Morning Show, where she reportedly makes $2 million per episode.
Of course, real-life drama followed the actress once she left set...
#6. Real-Life Drama
In 2002, Aniston dealt with some real-life drama: she sued Damiani International Jewelers. Why? Because the company started selling an exact duplicate of the wedding rings worn by Aniston and Pitt during their marriage. The company even named the copies the "Brad and Jennifer." So, the couple took the jeweler to court and they eventually reached a settlement.
That same year the paparazzi used a long-lens camera from an 8-story building to obtain topless photos of the celebrity sunbathing in her backyard. The photographer sold the photos to a magazine that published them. Aniston swiftly took them to court and was awarded $550,000 in damages.
Fortunately, the following Aniston appearances were much more well-received...
#7. Her Musical Debut
Aniston has graced the big screen in a variety of ways. You may be surprised to know that she has also been in three music videos:
- "Walls (Circus)" by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in 1996
- "I Want To Be In Love" by Melissa Etheridge in 2001
- "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts in 1995 with her fellow Friends co-stars
While Aniston was originally sticking to movies and television shows, playing a role in music videos helped broaden her range and give her more of the experience that she was fighting for. Unfortunately, the same might not be said of the following...
#8. Love and Marriage
Aniston and Brad Pitt married in 2000 in Malibu in an extravagant ceremony. The two celebrities had a lavish wedding equipped with 200 guests, 4 live bands, and complete with fireworks, costing them over $1 million!
Despite her booming career and the tradition of female celebrities to keep their own last names, Aniston legally changed her name to Pitt. Although, she continued using her maiden name for show-business. Later on in 2005, Aniston and Pitt called it quits. Rumors sparked that Pitt had been unfaithful to Aniston with actress Angeline Jolie, who he later married and recently divorced. But, Aniston refutes these claims (that hasn't stopped the tabloids, though).
After Pitt, Aniston's search for love didn't end there. In 2012, Aniston married Justin Theroux. This time, Aniston had a small private ceremony at their $15 million home in Los Angeles. They invited friends to join them on their honeymoon. However, in 2018 the couple announced they were filing for divorce, and parted ways as friends.
Pitt and Theroux aren't the only notable love interests from this celebrity's past...
#9. Little Black Book of Celebrities
Aside from her marriages, Aniston has been rumored to have dated other high-profile celebs, including:
- Actor Daniel McDonald: The pair dated from 1990 to 1994. Sadly, McDonald died in 2007 of brain cancer. Aniston later spoke about McDonald stating, "he would have been the one, but I was stupid."
- Counting Crows Musician, Adam Duritz: He dated Aniston in 1995 and later dated Aniston's co-star and friend Courtney Cox.
- Actor Tate Donovan: She dated actor Tate Donovan in the late 90s for three years. Donovan had a brief role in Friends as Rachel Green's love interest, Joshua. But during that time the pair were going through a real-life break-up.
- Actor Vince Vaughn: Soon after her break-up with Brad Pitt, Aniston began dating her co-star from the film The Break-up. Aniston and Vaughn were together for a year before calling it quits.
- Musician John Mayer: Aniston dated musician John Mayer from 2008 to 2009. In a bizarre press conference, Mayer was quoted as telling the media that he would be splitting from Aniston because "something's not right."
Besides her love life, the media has also taken note of this iconic star's unique style...
#10. Not Your Ordinary Style Maven
It doesn't come as a surprise why Jennifer Aniston has so many admirers. After all, she's been a beauty icon since her days on Friends. Her iconic haircut from the show was even affectionately dubbed "The Rachel." However, she was reported as saying that she hated the haircut and thought it was the ugliest thing she had ever seen. Despite her dislike, women everywhere were sporting "The Rachel."
Aniston was named People's Most Beautiful Woman twice. And she has graced the red carpet in signature looks for years. Though she always seems to look great, she doesn't enjoy the unspoken rules of fashion within Hollywood, where sporting the same outfit twice could be considered social suicide. This little rebellious streak runs deep. In high school, for example, Aniston was rebellious against her model mother. So, instead of trying to achieve society's standards of beauty, Aniston rocked goth style.
Of course, we all know that Aniston is more than just beautiful; she has the brains to match...
Aniston has come a long way from those high school years and now owns a successful line of beauty products. Her company, Living Proof is sold at Ulta Beauty and features shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. She also has a line of perfumes. Her signature scents, such as Beautyscape, can be found at Kohls.
Aniston also signed a $5 million endorsement deal with the Emirates Airline.
Aniston's efforts aren't always for profit, either. She often uses her fame and fortune for the good of others...
Though she is a money-making mogul, Aniston knows how to give back. That's why she's involved in numerous charities and non-profit organizations. Notable charities she's worked with include:
- St Jude's Hospital
- Hope for Haiti
- Clothes Off Our Back
- Feeding America
- Entertainment Industry Foundation Women's Cancer Research
But that's not all.
Aniston has donated $500,000 to Doctors Without Borders, $500,000 to the Red Cross, and $500,000 to the Ricky Martin Foundation to help victims of hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria. In doing so, she was awarded for her philanthropic work by Smart Water in 2016. Then, in 2007 she received a Vanguard Award for her contributions to the LGBT community. This is just a shortlist of the charity work in which Aniston has been involved.
Unfortunately, relationships in Aniston's personal life have sometimes been likely...
#13. Her Relationship With Her Mother
Aniston had a difficult relationship with her own mother. In fact, there was a time where the two didn't speak to each other for nearly a decade!
Why is that, though?
Aniston described her mother as being overly critical and unforgiving during her childhood. The two became estranged when Dow made some disparaging remarks in a television interview and then later wrote a tell-all book about Aniston entitled From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A memoir. As a result, Dow wasn't invited to Aniston's wedding to Brad Pitt. But, amidst her divorce, Aniston reached out to Dow.
The mother and daughter had just begun communicating again two weeks before Dow's death. Prior to her death, Dow removed Aniston from her will. Since her mother's passing, Aniston has forgiven her mother; she said seeking help from a therapist helped her find peace.
However, a rocky relationship with her mother hasn't been the only personal struggle for this star...
#14. Dyslexia Diagnosis
Aniston revealed to the world that she was diagnosed with dyslexia in her 20s. Before being diagnosed, she thought she wasn't smart. In fact, it greatly affected her self-esteem and her ability to learn properly during her school-aged years. After the diagnosis, she felt like some of her childhood experiences and traumas were explained, which helped her move forward.
And moved forward she has! Her success has been recognized with awards aplenty...
#15. Aniston's Accolades
Aniston has received a plethora of accolades throughout her 32 years of acting, including:
- An Emmy Award in 2002 and a Golden Globe Award in 2003 for her portrayal of Rachel Green on Friends
- 2 MTV Movie Awards
- 4 Teen Choice Awards
- 5 People's Choice Awards
- A Screen Actors Guild Award
- A Vanguard Award
- A People's Magazine Award.
And that's only the beginning of her long list of accolades.
Forbes has hailed Aniston as one of the "10 Most Powerful Actresses in the World." In 2012, she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And in 2004 the Madame Tussauds museum created wax sculptures of her and then-husband Brad Pitt. Aniston isn't slowing down either, as she was recently nominated for two more Golden Globe Awards and won another Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in The Morning Show.