Though she would spend most of her youth in New York, Jennifer Aniston was born Jennifer Joanna Aniston in Sherman Oaks, California, on February 11, 1969. She spent one year of her childhood at the age of 5 in Greece, the country where her father is from. Well connected to the business from the beginning – her father is veteran Days of Our Lives star John Aniston; her godfather is none other than Telly Savalas – Jennifer did not discover her own penchant for acting until attending the Rudolf Steiner School drama club at 11.
Aniston proved to be a talented painter during her stay at the Rudolf Steiner School (one of her pieces was displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art), but acting became her primary focus after graduating from New York’s prestigious High School for the Performing Arts in 1987, and she held roles in off-Broadway productions such as For Dear Life and Dancing on Checker’s Grave.
Though Friends launched Aniston’s career as a sitcom actress, her television debut was in 1989, when she starred in 1990′s short-lived series Molloy. Before long, Jennifer’s television resume had grown to include appearances in The Edge, a role in the ultimately unsuccessful attempt at adapting Ferris Bueller’s Day Off into sitcom format, and a part in an episode of Quantum Leap. In 1991, she landed a recurring role on Herman’s Head, while 1994 led her to a role in Muddling Through, the show that almost kept her from starring in Friends.
By 1994, it looked like Aniston was destined for a life of obscure parts in doomed television sitcoms. Despite being asked to audition for the role of Monica Gellar in a pilot for a sitcom at that point titled “Friends Like These” (a role that would eventually be filled by Courteney Cox), Aniston insisted on trying out for the part of Rachel Green, a spoiled suburbanite turned spunky coffee house waitress. The rest, as they say, is history — “Friends Like These” would become the mega-hit Friends.
Friends quickly inspired an obsessive following, as did Aniston’s signature hairstyle. Just as “The Rachel” fell out of popularity in the salons, Aniston began scoring roles in a series of romantic comedies – , She’s the One (1996), Picture Perfect (1997), ‘Til There Was You (1997), and The Object of My Affection (1998). She met fellow actor Brad Pitt in 1997, on a blind date set up by their agents. Jennifer married her boyfriend of 2 and a half years on July 29, 2000 in Malibu, California. Since their marriage, the two young stars took their place among Hollywood’s elite power couples.
She became estranged from her mother, Nancy Aniston ( Nancy Dow ), who made unflattering statements about her in a tabloid and later published a book called “From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir” in which she talked about her daughter’s life once more. Her mother wasn’t invited to her wedding because of that. However, Jennifer has been on friendly terms with her mother since fall 2005 (“We’ve exchanged messages. Our doors are open. We’re taking baby steps. It’s a good thing.” – Vanity Fair, September 2005).
relatively well-received supporting role in 1999′s Office Space. Though Rock Star was far from a massive success, Aniston’s talent for dramatic roles was finally given a proper outlet, and she went on to land the lead part in 2002′s The Good Girl. Receiving rave reviews for her portrayal as Justine Last, she was nominated for an Independent Spriti award as Best Female Lead and won the Teen Choice Awards in the Choice Movie Actress – Drama/Action Adventure category in 2003.
A year later, Jennifer starred alongside Jim Carrey in the romantic comedy Bruce Almighty, which became the years most watched comedy ($484,592,874 total gross with an estimated budget of $81,000,000!), and Friends began its final season. At one point in 2003, Jennifer was filming “Friends” (1994), Bruce Almighty (2003), and Along Came Polly (2004) simultaneously.
In January of 2004, Aniston starred in the number 1 comedy in America. Along Came Polly grossed 26.7 million dollars in its first weekend, knocking Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King out of the top spot at the box office. January also marked the end of our beloved Friends. The last episode ever of the hit sitcom was taped on January 23rd. In the US, 52.5 million viewers watched the finale on May 6, 2004, making it the most-watched entertainment telecast since the Seinfeld finale in 1998.
On June 13, 2004, Coco Riley Arquette, daughter of Jennifer’s friends Courteney Cox and David Arquette was born. Jennifer is Coco’s godmother. Jennifer sees her goddaughter almost every weekend because she regularly visits her friends.
After Along Came Polly and the end of Friends, Jennifer took some time off until she started filming Rumor Has It… from July 21 to October 26, 2004 and right after that her first thriller, Derailed, alongside Clive Owen from September to December 2004. It was filmed mainly in Chicago and London.
In January 2005, Jennifer and Brad Pitt announced their separation after 4 1/2 years of marriage. Divorce papers were filed on March 25th by Jennifer, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized on October 2, 2005. The two remained co-owners of their production company Plan B with producer Brad Grey for about a year. Jennifer is said to have left the company at that point because it grew too rapidly for her liking.
Jennifer is the first ever woman to be honored on the cover in the 10-year history of GQ’s “Men of the Year” issue series. She appeared on the cover of their November 2005 issue. The other, actual men of the year were 50 Cent and her The Break-Up co-star, Vince Vaughn.
Filming the independent movie Friends with Money, her first movie since the announcement of her separation with Brad Pitt, proved to be a very difficult task for everyone involved. The media scrutiny was overwhelming. Some paparazzi can be seen in a scene of the movie. In 2006, she released Friends with Money and the big hit with the ironic title The Break-Up. Friends with Money premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and got mixed reviews, mainly praising her portrayal of Olivia. The Break-Up was her first big hit after Friends, with a total of $204,999,686 at the box office worldwide. Jennifer and her co-star Vince Vaughn won a Teen Choice Award for Movies – Choice Chemistry in 2006. She met Vince Vaughn on the set of The Break-Up and dated him for over a year. They mutually agreed to end their relationship in December 2006.
The same year, Jennifer adopted Dolly, a white German shepherd. She is her second dog. Norman, a Welsh Corgi-terrier mix, was born around 1996. While Norman is happy to lie at his mom’s feet, Dolly prefers Jennifer’s lap.
In 2006, Jennifer also made her directorial debut with the short film Room 10, starring Robin Wright Penn and Kris Kristofferson. She directed it with her longtime friend Andrea Buchanan. It was based on Glamour reader Colleen Goldrick’s real life story. Jennifer has mentioned that she was inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow who directed a short a year earlier. The film got great reviews and was shown at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, CineVegas International Film Festival, and the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
Membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (also known as the Oscars) is by invitation only. In 2007, Jennifer was one of 115 people who were invited to join. The 2007 release also stated that it has 5,835 voting members, with actors constituting the largest voting bloc.
After her much buzzed about appearance on best friend Courteney Cox’s FX show Dirt in March 2007, Jennifer had another guest spot on television. She was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role of Claire Harper on 30 Rock (November 2008).
Management was filmed from October to November 2007 but didn’t have a limited release in the USA earlier than May 5, 2009. However, it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2008. It was another independent movie for Jennifer.
In September of 2007, Jennifer shot He’s Just Not That Into You, a box office success worldwide. It was released a year later around Valentine’s Day. The movie had an all-star cast, including Ben Affleck (as Jennifer’s boyfriend), Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Kris Kristofferson and others. Jennifer was the only one of the cast to be nominated for an award (People’s Choice and Teen Choice Awards 2009/2010).
In March 2008, Jennifer and her longtime friend Kristin Hahn, officially formed Echo Films, a production company that will focus on “stories about people finding their voice and finding their way because they help us as listeners.”
The same month, she started shooting Marley & Me in Floria, Ireland and Pennsylvania. The movie opened with a record on Christmas Day 2008 and grossed $242,717,113 worldwide. The movie is based on the best-selling book by John Grogan. Jennifer was nominated for her portrayal of Jenny Grogan at the Kids’ Choice Awards and Teen Choice Awards in 2009.
A year later, in March 2009, Jennifer broke up with her on-off-boyfriend, singer John Mayer. They had been dating since March 2008, broke up in August the same year, got back together in October. They appeared on the red carpet of the Oscars together in February 2009. A month later, they called it quits.
In Love Happens, the main character of the movie is played by Aaron Eckhart, making Jennifer’s role more of a supporting role. Due to tough competition, it didn’t do all that well at the box office. But it did bring in more than its budget, so it was a successful small movie.
2010 promised to be a very busy year for Jennifer. She had two movies to promote that year with The Bounty Hunter (co-starring Gerard Butler) and The Switch (co-starring Jason Bateman) while shooting Just Go With It with Adam Sandler in the summer.
Her fragrance called “Jennifer Aniston” made its debut at Harrod’s in London in the summer of 2010. It was originally slated to be called “Lolavie” – a personal meaning for Jennifer – but it sounded too much like Marc Jacobs’ “Lola” and her name was the only thing they could clear quickly enough. In May 2011, it celebrated its US debut at Sephora in New York. Proceeds go to one of Jennifer’s favorite charities, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
On her birthday in 2011, on February 11, Just Go With It came out in theaters. It is one of Jen’s most successful films, box office- wise. It has made $214,945,591 worldwide and co-stars her friend of over 20 years, Adam Sandler as well as Nicole Kidman, Brooklyn Decker and Nick Swardson.
In March of 2011, a Smartwater ad with Jennifer was expected to gain about 1 million hits on YouTube but surprised the producers by quickly getting over 9 million hits. It’s a parody of other YouTube videos and was a very successful ad for Jen as their spokesperson.
Jennifer has sold her 10,000 square feet Los Angeles home and has said that she is looking for a place in New York. Rumor has it she has already found an apartment in the West Village. She still has her old house from her Friends days and has thought of renovating that one, so she seems likely to live a bi-coastal life if all rumors are true.
She rightfully received the Decade of Hotness award at the Spike Guys Choice Awards in June 2011 and “being this side of 40, [the honor] is not lost on [her].” Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day presented her the award. She thanked her friend and yoga instructor, Mandy Ingber and promised to “downdog [...] until the fat lady sings.”
Jennifer gained a lot of critical acclaim for her role in Horrible Bosses, in which she plays Charlie Day’s sex-obsessed dentist boss. The film also stars Jason Bateman (making this their third time working together after The Break-Up and The Switch), Jason Sudeikis, Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell and Kevin Spacey.
On July 8, 2011 (coinciding with the release of Horrible Bosses), she had the honor of placing her hand and footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in front of friends, fans and journalists. Her friends Chelsea Handler and Jason Bateman held speeches about her while other friends such as Andrea Bendewald, Chris McMillan, boyfriend Justin Theroux and Kristin Hahn watched on. Jennifer has also been announced as one of the stars to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.
On October 7, 2011, Wanderlust will be released in the US. The film co-stars an old friend, Paul Rudd, as well as Jennifer’s current boyfriend Justin Theroux. This will be Jennifer’s second R-rated movie in 2011 after Horrible Bosses.
Jennifer’s publicist has said that she will start her next film in the winter. She is keeping herself with busy with traveling plans and her production company Echo Films.