- Jennifer Aniston has become a household name ever since “Friends” debuted back in 1994.
- You might not know, however, that Aniston appeared on several sitcoms before landing her role as Rachel on “Friends.”
- You also might not know that Aniston has appeared in multiple music videos.
Ever since her breakthrough role as Rachel Green on “Friends” back in 1994, Jennifer Aniston has become a household name, dominating tabloid headlines and starring in movies and TV shows year after year.
But there are plenty of things you probably don’t know about the “Dumplin'” star. From the jobs she held before her breakthrough TV role to the time she took a group honeymoon with her closest pals, these are the surprising facts you never knew about Jennifer Aniston.
Both her parents were actors, but she was not encouraged to join the industry.
Aniston’s father, John Aniston, has starred on “Days of Our Lives” since 1985, and her mother, Nancy Dow, was a model and actress, starring in ’60s shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “The Wild Wild West.” But they weren’t exactly receptive to their daughter following in their footsteps. In 2015, Aniston told Collider that while she had a love for the theatre growing up in New York City, her parents were pretty strict on her time in front of the television.
“I was also going to a Waldorf school, which didn’t allow you to watch television, but I could go to the theatre,” she revealed, adding, “my dad (John Aniston) was on a soap opera, and is still on a soap opera. So, I wasn’t really allowed to watch television, unless I was home sick, and then they allowed me to watch TV.”
In 2012, she revealed that her father actually strongly discouraged her from entering the acting business, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “My dad’s advice has always been: ‘Don’t do it. Become a doctor. Become a lawyer.’ He didn’t want me to be heartbroken because he knew it was a tough business. It compelled me to go for it even harder. Do what keeps you happy, and don’t ever let people box you in.”
She had plenty of jobs before landing her first acting gigs.
After pursuing musical-theatre roles in high school, Aniston began auditioning in both New York City and Los Angeles, holding down several less-than-glamorous jobs while she focused on her career. At a 2011 press conference for her movie “Horrible Bosses,” she said, “The toughest job I’ve ever had was being a bike messenger in New York City. I was 19.”
She added that her worst day on the job was “probably driving into a door that was open. I’m just very uncoordinated and extraordinarily klutzy. And I just never should have been allowed on a bicycle with cylinders.”
She apparently lasted only two days, telling Collider, “I worked at an advertising agency as a receptionist. I worked two days as a bike messenger. It was really wrong to put me on a bike in New York City with taxi cabs. And I worked at an ice cream place in Lincoln Center. And then, I waitressed for about two and a half years.”
In 1996, Aniston told Rolling Stone that she eventually set her sights on Hollywood, taking a job as a telemarketer, quipping that she was “selling [her] soul,” before snagging her first acting roles.
Aniston said she rocked a goth look in high school.
These days, she’s an A-list celebrity, but her high school years were a different story. She told People magazine in 2016, “High school was tragic. Just not well-informed. You know, you’re experimenting. It was the ’80s and I looked like a goth nightmare.”
“I wasn’t going for most beautiful,” she added. “It was, ‘how can I be the most rebelliously unattractive?'”
She was on four different TV shows before “Friends.”
Few fans realise that Aniston had been on four short-lived sitcoms before landing the role that made her famous. At 21, she starred alongside “The Big Bang Theory” and “Blossom” star Mayim Bialik on Fox’s “Molloy,” a brief TV adaptation of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” in 1990, a Fox sketch comedy series called “The Edge” in 1992, and a CBS comedy called “Muddling Through” in 1994, which was right before she landed the role of Rachel Green.
She told Collider in 2015, “I just had this deep feeling in my gut that somehow something was going to happen, and I just had to be patient.”
Adam Sandler revealed that Aniston turned down a spot on “Saturday Night Live” to star on “Friends.”
Aniston flexed her comedic chops early, and nearly starred on “SNL.” But in 2011, longtime “SNL” cast member Adam Sandler revealed to Oprah that Aniston turned the role down to star on “Friends,” sharing, “I remember being on the ninth floor where Lorne Michaels’ office was, and seeing Jen come in. I was like, ‘Oh, my God. There’s Aniston. Is she about to be on our show?'”
Aniston said of declining the spot. “They thought I was making a huge mistake.”
Someone else was being considered for the role of Rachel Green.
It’s hard to imagine anyone else as Rachel Green, but Aniston told Collider that she nearly swapped roles with costar Courteney Cox.
She said, “No, they wanted Court to play Rachel. Unbeknownst to each other, I wanted to play Rachel and she wanted to play Monica. It worked out perfectly.”
She hated her famous haircut.
Throughout the late ’90s, women everywhere tried to emulate “the Rachel,” Aniston’s signature hair look in the early episodes of the show.
But even though Aniston’s hair has inspired trends ever since, it seems she’s not a fan of her most-famous haircut.
She has worked with stylist Chris McMillan ever since, but told Allure in 2011, “I love Chris, and he’s the bane of my existence at the same time because he started that damn Rachel, which was not my best look. How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen.”
In 2015, she elaborated a little more on why she hates “the Rachel,” telling the magazine, “He gave me the Rachel, which was a big, horrible mistake. I mean, it was great at the time, but it was a never-ending legacy for some reason. And it only lasted for about six months because it just was hard to do. I loved it, but I couldn’t style it on my own. So Chris also just has that way of [making me be] completely reliant on him.”
Aniston is mortified by her first big-screen role.
These days, she’s a romantic comedy queen, venturing out into other genres as well, including dramas, but her first big-screen role came in the campy horror cult classic “Leprechaun,” and it seems Aniston has some feelings about the flick.
In 2014, she appeared on “The Graham Norton Show,” and when Norton asked if she’d seen the movie about a killer leprechaun recently, she said, “Actually, it was a mortifying moment when [ex-husband] Justin [Theroux] and I had just started to date. He was flipping through the channels and he stumbled upon that. And that was our next two hours, much to my embarrassment.”
She has a reported net worth of $US240 million and remains one of the highest-paid TV actors of all time.
As of 2018, Aniston has a reported net worth of $US240 million due to her acting roles on the big and small screen, lucrative endorsement deals, and her own production company.
The “Friends” cast famously upped their earnings to around $1 million per episode during the show’s 10-year run, and according to USA Today in 2015, they still earn $US20 million per year due to syndication and streaming rights of the NBC sitcom.
Adding to her “Friends” money, in 2018, according to the New York Times, Netflix paid a reported $US100 million to keep the show on their streaming service throughout 2019, with Lad Bible reporting that each star likely earned 2% of those earnings, netting to an additional $US2 million each.
Aniston has made cameo appearances in three music videos.
You can catch a glimpse of the “Mother’s Day” star in three different music videos – 1996’s “Walls (Circus)” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 2001’s “I Want To Be In Love” by Melissa Etheridge, and, of course, 1995’s “I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts with her “Friends” costars.
She revealed she has dyslexia in 2015.
Aniston told The Hollywood Reporter that she always struggled with education and, in turn, her self-esteem, until she was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disorder, in her early-20s.
She said, “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.”
To compensate for her worries, she said she focused instead on making people laugh in school.
A traumatic experience in her childhood led her to fear water as an adult.
At a screening for her 2015 movie “Cake,” Aniston revealed that she had a difficult time filming swimming scenes in the movie because she has a major fear of being underwater.
According to E! News, she said, “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 me]. So, I can’t go underwater and no one will believe me. I honestly can’t.”
She seems to have remained friends with many of her famous exes, including Brad Pitt, John Mayer, and Justin Theroux.
In 2019, Pitt attended Aniston’s star-studded 50th birthday party, and so did John Mayer, who spoke highly about her after their breakup.
Her ex-husband Justin Theroux reportedly wasn’t in attendance at the party but posted a sweet Instagram message in honour of her big day.
She has been open about how important therapy is in her life.
In 2018, when she was promoting “Dumplin” in an interview with Extra TV, Aniston talked about the pressures of fame and her tumultuous relationship with her late-mum, saying, “How lucky I am I got through that without having any emotional scarring,” adding, “I’ve been in therapy for years.”
In 2015, she told The Hollywood Reporter that her beloved therapist died unexpectedly around the time that she was divorcing Brad Pitt, sharing, “It was at a crazy time, right when we were going through our divorce and everything. But I learned so much in the four years I worked with her, that when she did pass away I remember thinking, ‘Wow, everything that we talked about and discussed, it’s allowed me to be really peaceful about it all.’ I mean, there were human moments. But I was really shockingly OK.”
Her honeymoon with Theroux was a group trip with close friends.
Instead of opting for a traditional honeymoon after their 2015 nuptials, Aniston and Theroux celebrated their union by taking their friends with them, inviting famous pals like friends like Chelsea Handler, Jason Bateman, and Courteney Cox to the Four Seasons resort in Bora Bora.
Theroux dished on the friends trip to Extra TV, revealing, “It was a fantastic honeymoon. We had thought about it; We could just do a normal honeymoon, or we could go with some friends, keep the party going, relax, and have fun. It was really special, it was really beautiful.”
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