Jennifer Joanna Aniston (born
February 11, 1969) is an American actress. She established her acting
career in the 1990s with her role as Rachel Green in the U.S. sitcom
Friends, a role for which she won an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and
a Screen Actors Guild Award.
She has starred in Hollywood films. While most of her film roles have been
in comedies such as Bruce Almighty, Office Space, Rumor Has It, and the
romantic comedies Along Came Polly and The Break-Up, she has also appeared
in films from other genres such as the horror-comedy Leprechaun, the crime
thriller Derailed and the musical drama Rock Star.
Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, and grew up in New
York City. She is the daughter of actor John Aniston and actress Nancy
Dow. Aniston's father is a Greek American, born Yannis Anastassakis on the
island of Crete, Greece, while her mother is of Scottish-Italian descent
and was born in New York City. Aniston has two half-brothers, John Melick
(older) and Alex Aniston (younger). Aniston's godfather was the actor
Telly Savalas, her father's best friend. She lived in Greece for one year
as a child with her family, and they later relocated to New York City. Her
father has appeared in the soap operas Days of our Lives, Love of Life and
Search for Tomorrow. Aniston attended the New York Rudolf Steiner School
and graduated from Manhattan's Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music
& Art and Performing Arts. She worked in Off Broadway productions such as
For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker's Grave. She supported herself with
several part-time jobs, including working as a telemarketer, waitress, and
bike messenger. In 1989, she moved to Los Angeles, California.
Aniston moved to Hollywood and was cast in her first television role in
1990, starring as a regular on the short-lived series Molloy and in the TV
movie Camp Cucamonga. She also co-starred in Ferris Bueller, a television
adaptation of the 1986 hit movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The series,
however, was quickly canceled. Aniston then appeared in two more failed
television comedy shows, The Edge and Muddling Through, and guest-starred
on Quantum Leap, Herman's Head, and Burke's Law. After the string of
canceled shows, along with her appearance in the critically derided 1992
horror film, Leprechaun, Aniston considered giving up acting. Aniston's
plans changed, however, after auditioning for Friends, a sitcom that was
set to debut on NBC's 1994–1995 fall line-up. The producers of the show
originally wanted Aniston to audition for the role of Monica Geller, but
Courteney Cox was considered to be better suited to the role. Thus,
Aniston was cast as Rachel Green. She played the character of Rachel from
1994 until the show ended in 2004.
The program was successful and Aniston, along with her co-stars, gained
wide renown among television viewers. Her hairstyle at the time, which
became known as the "Rachel", was widely copied. Aniston received a salary
of one million dollars per episode for the last two seasons of Friends, as
well as five Emmy nominations (two for Supporting Actress, three for Lead
Actress), including a win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
According to the Guinness World Book of Records (2005), Aniston (along
with her female costars) became the highest paid TV actress of all time
with her $1 million-per-episode paycheck for the tenth season of Friends.
Jennifer Aniston has appeared in various commercials and music videos. In
1996, she was in Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers music video for "Walls".
In 2001, Aniston was in Melissa Etheridge's music video for "I Want To Be
In Love". She was cast in a Heineken commercial which was later banned due
to branding issues. Aniston has also been in commercials for L'Oreal hair
products. In 1994, Microsoft invited Aniston, along with Friends co-star
Matthew Perry, to shoot a 30-minute promotional advertisement for their
new operating system, Windows 95. She won critical acclaim for her
performances in The Object of My Affection (1998), a comedy-drama about a
girl who falls for a gay man, and in the low-budget 2002 film, The Good
Girl, directed by Miguel Arteta, playing an unglamorous cashier in a small
town. The latter film opened in relatively few theaters — under 700 in
total — taking $14M in the U.S. box office. In late 2005, Aniston appeared
in two major studio films, Derailed and Rumor Has It.
In addition to her career as a television actress, Aniston has enjoyed a
successful film career. Her biggest box office success to date was her
appearance in 2003's Bruce Almighty, in which she played the girlfriend of
Jim Carrey's title character. Aniston then starred in the 2004 film, Along
Came Polly opposite Ben Stiller. In 2006, Aniston appeared in the
low-budget drama, Friends with Money, which was first shown at the
Sundance Film Festival, received a limited release. Aniston's next film,
The Break-Up, which was released on June 2, grossed approximately $39.17
million during its opening weekend, despite lukewarm reviews.
In 2007, Aniston guest starred in an episode of Courteney Cox Arquette's
series Dirt, playing Arquette's rival, Tina Harrod. In addition to acting,
Aniston has also directed a hospital emergency room-set short film called
Room 10, starring Robin Wright Penn and Kris Kristofferson; Aniston has
noted that she was inspired to direct by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who
directed a short film in 2006.
Forbes listed Aniston as the 10th richest woman in the entertainment
industry for the year 2007. She is behind such powerhouses as Oprah
Winfrey, J. K. Rowling, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Jennifer
Lopez and is ahead of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the Olsen
twins. Aniston's net worth is approximately $110 million. Aniston was also
included in the annual Star Salary Top 10 of trade magazine The Hollywood
Reporter for 2006. According to Forbes in October 2007, Aniston was the
top-selling celebrity face of the entertainment industry. In 2008, Aniston
landed the seventeenth spot on Forbes Celebrity 100 list based on
"earnings and fame." Forbes listed Aniston's earnings as $27 million.
Aniston appeared in the third episode of Season 3 of NBC's 30 Rock playing
Liz Lemon's old college roommate who stalks Jack Donaghy.
Aniston appears nude in a series of photographs that are published on the
cover and inside pages of the January 2009 issue of GQ. She tells the
magazine that she feels more comfortable today than she did in her
twenties or early thirties. "I'm healthier. I'm more at peace in my mind
and with my body," Aniston says. She also appears nude in The Break Up.
On December 25, 2008, Marley & Me, in which Aniston starred alongside Owen
Wilson, was released. It set a record for the largest Christmas Day box
office ever with $14.75 million in ticket sales.It earned a total of $51.7
million over the four-day weekend and placed #1 at the box office, a
position it maintained for two weeks. The total worldwide gross was
Her next film in wide release, He's Just Not That into You, opened in
February 2009. The movie made $27.5 million, ranking #1 at the box office
in its opening weekend. While the film received mixed reviews, Aniston,
along with Jennifer Connelly and Ben Affleck, are often praised by critics
as being the stand-outs in the film.
As of 2009, Aniston's movies have grossed $900,618,847 in the United
States and over $1,508,048,564 worldwide.
On July 16, 2009, Aniston received an Emmy nomination in the category of
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on 30 Rock
After dating her Ferris Bueller TV costar Charlie Schlatter in 1990, she
began a relationship with Daniel MacDonald in 1991, which continued until
1994 shortly before she was cast in Friends. She briefly dated musician
Adam Duritz in 1995 and from 1995 to 1998, she was romantically involved
with actor Tate Donovan and the couple were reportedly engaged.
In 1998, she began dating actor Brad Pitt and married him on July 29,
2000, in a lavish Malibu wedding. For a few years, their marriage was
considered the rare Hollywood success. However, the couple announced their
separation on January 6, 2005. Pitt became involved with actress Angelina
Jolie, though Pitt has denied cheating on Aniston with her. Pitt and
Aniston were seen together publicly after announcing their separation,
even at a dinner party for Aniston's birthday, and friends of the couple
had declared they were reconciling. Aniston, however, filed for divorce on
March 25, 2005. It was finalized on October 2, 2005. Media reports
speculated that the split was due to Aniston's refusal to have children
with him. Aniston denied that this was the cause of their split in an
August, 2005 Vanity Fair interview, stating, "...I've always wanted to
have children, and I would never again give up that experience for a
Aniston revealed that her divorce prompted her to reach out to her mother,
Nancy, from whom she was estranged for nearly a decade. They initially
became estranged when Nancy talked about her daughter on a television show
and later wrote a book entitled, From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A
Memoir (1999). 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, which she does not
regret, was "seven very intense years together" and that "it was a
beautiful, complicated relationship."
Following her divorce, Aniston began a relationship with actor Vince
Vaughn, with whom she costarred in The Break Up, but relationship troubles
were reported in September 2006, followed by a confirmed split in December
of that year. She briefly dated model Paul Sculfor for a few months in
2007 and in February 2008, she began dating singer John Mayer. The couple
had broken up in August, but resumed the relationship in October, before
splitting again in March 2009.
Aniston has had two septoplasties to correct her deviated septum—one which
was incorrectly done in 1994 and the second in January 2007. Septoplasty
is a surgical operation that helps alleviate a common condition that can
lead to breathing difficulty and trouble sleeping. She is the godmother of
Coco Riley Arquette, the daughter of her good friends, actors Courteney
Cox and David Arquette.