We all know Jennifer Aniston best for her role as Rachel on the 1990s hit sitcom Friends. (And for the infamous haircut by the same name.) But that’s not all Aniston has achieved in her decades-long career. This millionaire Hollywood actress has a plethora of film and TV accolades and guest appearances under her belt, not least joining Reese Witherspoon in the 2019 Apple TV+ series The Morning Show.
Despite being one of America’s most recognized celebrities, Jennifer Aniston’s life hasn’t always been so star-studded. Watch to the end to get the full picture of this Hollywood royal’s dramatic journey to the top.
Jennifer Aniston Thought “The Rachel” Was Ugly
If you were a teen in the 1990s, you or more than a few of your friends probably sported Rachel’s Friends do. The layered cut that framed the face quickly became one of the most popular haircuts of all time. You might be surprised to learn that Jennifer Aniston wasn’t a fan.
And as anyone who requested their hairdresser to copy it would discover, the hairstyle was hard to maintain. Aniston mentioned in a Glamor interview that she couldn’t do it independently because it required far too much skill with a hairbrush and blowdryer.
Jennifer Aniston Once Sold Weight Loss Products on the Radio
Take one look at Jennifer Aniston today, and you’d think that her career has always been smooth sailing. One of her first appearances was on The Howard Stern Show. The year was 1989, and she wasn’t there as a guest. Instead, she was peddling a popular weight loss product called NutriSystem. While Stern was not a complete gentleman on set–he reportedly complemented Aniston on her “full” chest and “sensual pout” before suggesting she model for Playboy–the two later became friends.
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Jennifer Aniston’s Father Didn’t Want Her to Become an Actor
With actors John Aniston of Days of Our Lives fame and Nancy Bow, who counts Beverly Hillbillies and The Wild Wild West among her TV credits, as parents, it’s no surprise that Jennifer Aniston craved the limelight from a young age.
Despite his TV success, her father pleaded with her not to get into acting. The rejection is brutal, he said. He advised her to pursue a more stable career, suggesting she become a lawyer instead. It seems Aniston was a devoted daughter. Her choice to take up acting was her one rebellion, she told the online magazine, Collider.
Jennifer Aniston Had Some Very Ordinary Jobs Before “Friends”
Like other aspiring actors trying to make it big in Hollywood, Jennifer Aniston took various jobs while working the audition circuit.
She waited tables, manned the reception desk at an advertising agency, and spent a memorable two days working as one of the infamous New York City bicycle couriers. She jokingly told The Mirror that while she was great at cycling quick-smart through the traffic, she was terrible at directions. A lot of people waited a long time for parcels that day.
Though Aniston didn’t know it at the time, her days working low-paid jobs would soon be a distant memory.
Teenager Jennifer Aniston Had a Secret Goth Side
In a 2016 interview for People’s “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” cover story, Jennifer Aniston admitted her high school style was tragic. It was the 1980s, and Aniston went through a bit of a rebellious goth phase. Her aim, she says, was to look as unattractive as possible.
Things didn’t get much better in the 1990s. Photos show Aniston in mom jeans, billowy blouses, and huge belts. Oh, and don’t forget those Western-style cowboy shoes. I thought they were so cool, she sheepishly admitted in the interview.
NBC Tricked Jennifer Aniston into Starring in “Friends”
As soon as Jennifer Aniston wrapped up her audition for the cast of NBC’s Friends, the show’s producers knew they’d found their Rachel. But Aniston, it seemed, had other ideas. She had already filmed a handful of episodes for a new sitcom on CBS called Muddling Through.
The show had yet to air, and CBS planned to launch it in their popular Saturday night slot. This presented a problem for NBC. If the show proved popular, their ideal Rachel would be unavailable.
NBC decided to run back-to-back movies based on famous romance author Danielle Steel’s novels in the same Saturday time slot. Ratings plummeted for Muddling Through as sitcom lovers tuned into the Steele bonanza over on NBC.
Believe it or Not, Jennifer Aniston Turned Down a Spot on SNL
The producers of Friends had one more obstacle to overcome before enticing Jennifer Aniston to sign up. She had received an offer to join the star-making cast of Saturday Night Live. How could an untested sitcom compete with SNL?
Luckily for Friends fans, Aniston turned the offer down. In an interview, she once told Oprah that she didn’t think the SNL set was the right fit for her, despite friends Adam Sandler and David Spade already working for the show.
Jennifer Aniston Has a Fear of Being Underwater
A lifelong fear of swimming and going underwater has challenged Jennifer Aniston throughout her acting career. She had a hard time filming Cake in 2015 when her character underwent water therapy to overcome addiction to prescription painkillers.
She told E! News that she was riding a tricycle near a pool when she fell into the water. Her brother tried to help her, but she wouldn’t let go of the bike. It makes you wonder how Aniston got on with the water fountain scene in the opening credits of Friends!
Jennifer Aniston Didn’t Speak to Her Mom for Years
Jennifer Aniston’s relationship with her model and actress mother, Nancy Dow, had been complicated since she was a small child. Dow was unforgiving of what she perceived as her daughter’s flaws, would hold petty grudges, and had a temper, Aniston once told The Hollywood Reporter. Aniston found it difficult to live under the shadow of such a stunning star.
At the peak of Friends mania, Dow wrote an exposing memoir called From Mother and Daughter to Friends. The tell-all book detailed the problems between Dow and her daughter, leaving Aniston feeling betrayed. Jennifer Aniston didn’t even invite her mother to her wedding to Brad Pitt.
Dyslexia Made Jennifer Aniston’s School Life Difficult
It wasn’t just home life that was tough for the young Jennifer Aniston. She also struggled with her schoolwork, but it wasn’t until she was in her 20s that she finally received her diagnosis of dyslexia.
Overnight, she went from believing she simply wasn’t that smart to understanding the underlying cause of her struggle to study. As she once told The Hollywood Reporter, I felt like it explained all my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, and drama.
Aniston is not alone in her diagnosis. Over the years, many celebrities have admitted to struggling with dyslexia–from Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise to Keira Knightly and Cher.
In Jennifer Aniston’s First Film, She Starred Alongside a Leprechaun
Could you ever imagine Rachel in a horror movie? Neither could we! But before her rise to Friends’ fame, Jennifer Aniston appeared in the 1993 low-budget slasher film, Leprechaun.
Unbelievably, Aniston is immensely proud of her role in the now cult classic film. Though maybe not so much when former husband Justin Theroux came across the movie when channel surfing together one night. I just kept walking in and out of the room cringing, she told Howard Stern on a 2019 airing of his radio show.
Jennifer Aniston Has Had a Hard Time Staying Married
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston got married in the ceremony of the year in 2000. When the Hollywood dream couple announced their divorce a mere five years later, the world collectively gasped in horror.
It wasn’t until after Pitt divorced Jolie that the former couple started to mend bridges. When Pitt asked to meet her to apologize for his past wrongs, Aniston was reportedly overcome with emotion. Pitt attended Aniston’s 50th birthday in 2019, and the couple was spotted looking at each other affectionately when they both won a SAG Award in 2020.
Her marriage to director Justin Theroux didn’t fare much better than the Pitt-Aniston union. The couple were married in 2009 and divorced just a few years later. She also dated musician John Mayer but broke it off with him when it was clear he was too busy for a committed relationship.
Jennifer Aniston Made a Triumphant Return to TV in 2019
Can you believe Friends has been off the air for almost 20 years? Since relinquishing her role as Rachel in 2004, Jennifer Aniston focused on her film career, starring in box office hits like Marley & Me and Office Christmas Party.
Aniston returned to television in 2019, this time as co-host with Reese Witherspoon on comedy-drama The Morning Show. Inspired by the #metoo movement, Aniston plays the part of a veteran TV host who is on the verge of getting canceled. While her character experiences ageism on the show, Aniston says her age has never held her back. I’m working more than I ever have, she recently told Reuters.
I mean, Aniston and Witherspoon each made a whopping $2 million per episode of The Morning Show!
And so ends our look into the fascinating life of one of the world’s most famous Friends. Did you beg your hairdresser for the Rachel haircut back in the 1990s? Or did you prefer the long blonde locks of Phoebe, the wacky character expertly played by Lisa Kudrow? Head to the comments and let us know your choice. Oh, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more celebrity insights.