ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

Since her debut in Friends, we have all admired Jennifer Aniston and for decades, we have been overwhelmingly jealous of her bouncy hair, her beautiful face, her quirky one-liners, her dazzling red carpet gowns, her riches, her string of gorgeous men and ultimately, her ability to seemingly have it all.

Little did we know that to get to where she is today, the Hollywood starlet had to overcome some of the most difficult personal and professional obstacles.

Let's take a look at some of the times when she overcame the odds and kicked life in the ass:

Her difficult relationship with her mother

Since Jennifer was a little girl, she has had a very complex relationship with her mother Nancy Dow. Following her parents' split, which tore her family apart when she was just 9-years-old, she lacked the supportive parental figure that she so craved.

In her latest interview with the Hollywood Reporter, she recently admitted that her "life was so out of control growing up" and referring to her mother, that she:

"She had a temper. I can't tolerate that. She was critical. She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn't. I never was. I honestly still don't think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine. She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty."
Young Jen with her mother Nancy and father John.
Young Jen with her mother Nancy and father John.

The final straw for Jennifer came when her mother tried to capitalize on the Friends star's success by writing the book entitled From Mother And Daughter To Friends: A Memoir. It was a tell-all about her turbulent relationship with her daughter and a hard-hit for Jennifer, who refused to speak to her for years.

For a young woman in the lime-light, it must have been extremely difficult not to be able to rely on a loving motherly figure. Still, Jennifer persevered and managed to overcome the two-decade long feud. This year, she finally put her past conflicts with Nancy Dow to bed:

"We're all fine [...] We're human beings. Human beings make mistakes. Human beings are not perfect. And by not forgiving someone, it's not allowing human beings to evolve and become better people."

Jen, you are an inspiration to us all!

Her struggle with dyslexia

Diagnosed with dyslexia in her early 20s, Jennifer always felt the impact of the disability on her education and self-image. Speaking of her school days, 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."

Unable to be a good student, she overcame her lack of self-esteem by developing her funny side. People at school liked her for it and she finally found something that she was good at... acting.

Getting typecast as Rachel from Friends

Naturally, we know Jennifer Aniston for her role of Rachel Green in Friends. Before I continue, relive her best moments of the series:

Oh how we loved her funny one-liners, her hilarious inability to do anything well (she was such a crappy waitress!), her flawed logic, her vanity and her attraction to terrible men (excluding Ross, of course).

No wonder that she became synonymous with her role and naturally, her infamous 'Rachel hair-cut' only added fuel to the fire. She was catapulted into the position of style icon, despite her stylist apparently creating the 'do' when he was stoned out of his mind. However, this did not stop millions of women worldwide trying to imitate the bouncy cut and understandably, it's prominence made Jen hate it even more! She recently admitted:

"How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I've ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs? Let's just say I'm not a fan of short, layered cuts on me personally, so I don't love revisiting that particular era."

Fair enough.

Despite becoming insanely rich (she was reportedly paid a whopping $1,000,000 per episode in the later series!) and becoming one of the most widely recognized stars on the planet, Jennifer found the sky-rocketing popularity difficult. In particular, she heavily battled with her Rachel typecast.

Yet, ever since the Friends credits rolled for the last time, Jennifer defied the odds and proved her worth in a myriad of fantastic films and romantic comedies such as The Break-Up, The Bounty Hunter, Horrible Bosses (1 & 2) and We're The Millers.

However, it is her current role in Cake that has really put an exclamation point next to her name. Take a look at her as a disturbed accident victim in the trailer:

Receiving both Golden Globe and SAG nominations for her outstanding performance, she has proven herself to be a woman of many abilities and faces. Naturally, she had some reservations, in particular with regard to negative reactions that she wouldn't be able to pull it off. She said:

"I've been told so many times 'You're not that type' that part of me went, 'Am I not? Can I really [do this]?' So it was like, 'I'm going to prove it to myself.'"

If Cake does not prove that she's not a Rachel typecast anymore, I don't know what does.

Being so unlucky in love

When they married in 2000, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were the most blindingly gorgeous couple in Hollywood until it all turned to ashes with their infamous break-up five years later. The breakdown of the marriage left her nursing a broken heart, with Angelina Jolie making matters worse by openly admitting to Vogue that her romance with Pitt began during their filming of Mr. & Mrs Smith, when her new lover was still married to his ex-wife.

Since her divorce, Jennifer has been linked to a very long list of Hollywood's high-profile bachelors that did not work out, deeming her as spectacularly unlucky in love in the media. From Hollywood's funny man Vince Vaughn, to notorious womanizer and pop singer John Mayer and rugged Scot Gerard Butler (amongst others...), her string of failed relationships suggested that she would never find true love.

Yet, when the odds seemed so against her, co-star in the film Wanderlust waltzed into her life and the rest was history.

Speaking of her love for Justin Theroux, she once gushed that:

“I would say I couldn’t be in a relationship without equality, generosity, integrity, spirit, kindness and humor… and awesomeness."

The universe is simply overjoyed that finally, she has been able to find her soul mate. Once and for all, she's proved that there was more to life than Brad Pitt and after a year of being together, Jen accepted Justin's marriage proposal and we all shed a tear in relief.

Getting older but still looking incredible

Last but not least, our Jen has somehow managed to defy the odds of nature by looking incredible despite time's clock ticking away in the background. Despite being 45-years-old, her age-defying figure and complexion has meant that she somehow wields the power to appear forever young.

I mean, let's just take a moment to take in her goddess-like glory at the SAG awards the other week:

She doesn't seem to have aged a single day since her days on Friends.

Here she is again looking phenomenal as nymphomaniac bitch boss in Horrible Bosses:

Once more, casually doing a pole-dance in We're The Millers:

And again...

Finally, as a 40th birthday present to herself, she posed wearing NOTHING but a tie for GQ:


Jen, you have defied time and oh boy, are we grateful!

However, when asked how she does it, she fails to understand what all the fuss is about:

“Women and men today in their 40s are so much healthier than they were 30 years ago in their 40s. It was a different time. We know how to take care ourselves.

Hopefully, by the time I'm in my 40s, I will be able wield such great wisdom.

What lies in store in the future for Jen?

Without a doubt, Jennifer has managed to give life back it's lemons and finally finding sanctuary in wonderful roles and a loving relationship, big things are most definitely in store.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, she does not know exactly what her future holds but is convinced that:

"There's something bigger I'm interested in doing [...] It could be more work, it could be more creativity, or getting more philanthropic in the world. It can look like a baby. It can look like a foundation. I know I have a bigger purpose. It's a puzzle, and I haven't quite put the puzzle together. But something greater is calling out to me."

What do you guys think? Where will life take her in the next few years?


Which is your favorite Jennifer Aniston film?

Sources:;;; WikiPedia;


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