Jennifer Aniston: America’s favorite friend

Jennifer Aniston

America’s favorite friend finds her happily ever after.

By Nadine Bubeck

The one and only Jennifer Aniston has a resume most of us common folk dream of. Not only is she America’s favorite television friend, a bona fide movie star, and considered one of the most beautiful women in the world by numerous publications, the 47-year-old is also a dedicated philanthropist and spokesperson.

Early Life

Hollywood runs in Aniston’s blood. She’s the offspring of actor John Aniston and the late actress Nancy Dow. Her father is Greek, and her mother comes from Italian decent.

Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, but lived in Greece for a year with her family. They then moved to Pennsylvania, living with her grandmother in a cozy three-bedroom home. Her clan later relocated to New York City, where Aniston, despite her father’s television career, was discouraged from watching the tube. However, little “Jenny” snuck in covert television time and fell in love with the small screen.

When she was 6, Aniston began attending a Waldorf School, where she discovered a natural proclivity for acting. School and her newfound passion for acting was a good distraction from her parents divorcing. Eventually, Aniston graduated from Manhattan’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

The Beginning

Like many Hollywood wannabes, Aniston got her start pursuing Off-Broadway roles, while supporting herself with several part-time jobs. And yes, she had stints waitressing, just like her character in Friends. She was also a telemarketer and bike messenger. Who would have thought?

Aniston got a publicity boost after appearing on The Howard Stern Show as a spokes model for Nutrisystem. That same year, she made the leap to the West Coast, and Los Angeles became her home.

In 1990, she was cast in a short-lived series, Molloy, followed by co-starring in Ferris Bueller, a spinoff of the popular 1986 movie. However, both shows flopped. And, the failed attempts continued. Aniston then appeared in a handful of other comedy shows that didn’t make it big time. But, luck was on her side.

Friends to the Rescue

Aniston fell into a semi-depression after her stream of unsuccessful shows. It was a chance gas station encounter that changed her life.

Aniston ran into Warren Littlefield, a NBC big wig, while filling her tank at a LA gas station. Littlefield gave her the reassurance she needed, telling the hopeful actress to stick with it and keep trying. A few months later, he cast her in a show called Friends.

Originally, producers wanted Aniston to pursue the role of Monica Geller, but Courtney Cox was found better suited for the part. Thus, Aniston morphed into a perfect Rachel Green, and things skyrocketed.

The series, which started in 1994, was extremely successful––and lucrative. According to reports, Aniston received a whopping $1 million per episode throughout the last two seasons. She also earned five Emmy nominations, and was awarded Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. She also won two Golden Globes, and scored the coveted title of the highest paid TV actress of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records (2005). Not so bad for the former waitress.

In between shooting Friends episodes, Aniston took to the big screen, scoring roles in films such as She’s the One, Picture Perfect, Office Space, and The Object of my Affection. She also gained acclaim in a breakthrough role in the low-budget film, The Good Girl, playing a cashier who cheats on her husband.

More Movies

Clearly, our favorite girl next door was a natural at making movies. Her career showed no signs of slowing and she appeared in numerous flicks like Bruce Almighty, Along Came Polly, and Rumor Has It. She met her one-time boyfriend Vince Vaughn shooting The Break-Up, and was later cast alongside Owen Wilson in Marley & Me. And the hits continued, she co-starred in He’s Just Not That Into You, which grossed $178.8 million globally, according to reports.

By 2010, Aniston’s movies had grossed more than $1 billion in the United States, and nearly $2 billion worldwide.

Over the last few years, she joined fellow A-listers in movies such as Wanderlust, We’re the Millers, The Guardian, and Cake. Most recently, she co-starred in the romantic comedy, Mother’s Day, with gal pals Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson.

In September of this year, you’ll hear Aniston’s voice in the animated movie Storks. And just in time for the holidays, you’ll see her on the big screen in Office Christmas Party alongside Jason Bateman.

And There’s More

In addition to a glowing career in television and film, Aniston has appeared in various commercials and music videos. She also debuted a perfume via Elizabeth Arden, in addition to teaming up with other mainstream brands such as SmartWater, Aveeno Skincare, and Emirates Airline.

For the record, Aniston is as good hearted in real life as she seems on camera.

Aniston is a supporter of numerous philanthropies, including a grassroots organization helping orphans in Mexico. She’s done many commercials for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and is passionately involved in Stand Up to Cancer.

In 2007, Jennifer received GLAAD’s Vanguard Award for her contributions towards supporting the LGBT community, and she’s donated over $500,000 to Doctors without Borders.

“We live an extremely beautiful, fortunate life being able to do what we get to do for a living. And so it’s a way of being able to be in a position to do something for people who are less able. It’s something that makes my heart smile,” said Aniston in InStyle Magazine.

Personal Life

Aniston’s dating spreadsheet is just as impressive as her professional career.

Early on, Jennifer dated musician Adam Duritz, followed by actor Tate Donovan. But it was her high profile marriage to Brad Pitt that really got the public buzzing.

After marrying, Pitt and Aniston were considered a rare Hollywood success, but that title later diminished with a finalized divorce in 2005. Pitt eventually married Angelina Jolie, causing a public debate between fans rooting for either Team Aniston or Team Jolie. But, according to Aniston, “Nobody did anything wrong…It was just like, sometimes things happen.”

After her publicized divorce, Aniston dated actor Vince Vaughn followed by musician John Mayer. But in 2011, she fell head-over-heels for screenwriter/actor Justin Theroux. In 2012, the lovebirds purchased a Bel-Air home together for $22 million, and later married (in 2015) at their estate.

Final Thoughts

In 2005, Aniston became the first-ever GQ Woman of the Year. Meanwhile, People Magazine refers to her often in their list of the most beautiful women. She’s also a regular on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women, and Men’s Health once voted her the Sexiest Woman of All Time.

Of course, she also made women go ga-ga over her Rachel hairstyle and received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2012. According to Forbes, Aniston’s net worth is estimated to be $150 million as of 2014.

And she remains in the limelight in mainstream media.

Fans and followers are eagerly awaiting an Aniston offspring, but she’s yet to reproduce. In fact, in a recent Huffington Post essay, she wrote: “We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.”

These are wise words for women everywhere. Jennifer Aniston has surely created a happily ever after worth celebrating.