Although it has been more than a decade since Jennifer Aniston starred as Rachel Green in the role that made her famous on the 1990’s hit Friends, she remains a Hollywood superstar and doesn’t appear to be disappearing from the public eye anytime soon. She is constantly photographed and mentioned in the tabloids, has managed to maintain a busy movie career, and is frequently named one of the “Best Dressed” on any red carpet she walks.
From the days when she was seen as the jilted one in one of the country’s most high profile couples to today, when her body is constantly being scrutinized for any signs of pregnancy, it is hard to get away from Jennifer Aniston, both in magazines and on the internet. Of course, this might lead you to believe that you know everything there is to know about her. However, you might be surprised.
From her family’s original last name to who slapped her on the streets of NYC, here are 20 things you didn’t know about Jennifer Aniston
Although she tries to adhere to a healthy diet, when she feels the need to cheat, she opts for salty over sweet.
According to a 2016 interview Jennifer did that was published in People magazine, "Whatever my guilty pleasure is in terms of a greasy meal or some sort of saucy, salty or savory. I'm not much of a sweets person, so my treat would never really be sweets." She also admitted that she isn’t quite as strict when it comes to her diet as she used to be.
She has a famous godfather.
Jennifer’s godfather is actor, director, and producer Telly Savalas, who starred in several hit TV shows and movies, such as Kojak and Birdman of Alcatraz. Telly and Jennifer’s father, John Aniston, were best friends when Jen was born in 1969. Jennifer attended Telly’s 1994 funeral after his death from complications related to bladder and prostate cancer.
Jennifer prefers a certain style of jeans.
In a 2015 interview, Jen reported, “"My husband loves me in skinny jeans.” However, she admitted that she has a “love/ hate relationship” with the tight fitting jeans and actually prefers wide legged jeans. She said, “I personally love a nice flared option, kind of a '70s vibe or a ripped-up jean or something that's kind of loose." Apparently, she prefers comfort over fashion.
A painting she did hung in one of the most prestigious art museums in the world.
At the very young age of 11, Jennifer accomplished a feat that many artists only dream of. One of her paintings hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. At the time, she was a student at the Rudolf Steiner School, an elementary school with a curriculum based in the arts, including drama, artistic movement, instrumental and vocal music, and crafts. Although her focus was on acting, she showed significant artistic talent.
Chaz Bono was one of her high school classmates.
As a teen at LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in NYC, Jen went to school was Chaz Bono, who was known as Chastity at the time. The two were actually good friends who hung out together. Chaz, who was the child of Cher and Sonny Bono, knew what it was like to have a parent who was famous. (At the time, Jen’s father was a soap opera star on Days of Our Lives.)
Jennifer has a problem letting go a particular type of shoes.
In a 2015 interview with Bobbi Brown, Jennifer stated that she really prefers heels over flats because she likes a bit of height. In particular, she has a great love of wedges. In fact, she admitted, “Once I find a beautiful wedge, I will never, ever, ever let it go.”
Jen went through a Gothic period.
According to Jen, she looked like a “goth nightmare” in high school, which was back in the 1980's. In fact, she said, "At one point, my hair was shaved about an inch above the ear. I had the short hair and the big black outfits and the black liquid eyeliner that made me look like a vampire, with all sorts of pins sticking out of my body parts." Obviously, she has since grown out of this phase.
She and Justin Theroux opted for a non-traditional honeymoon and invited a few friends along with them.
When Jen and Justin headed to the Four Seasons Hotel in Bora Bora after their 2015 wedding, they had quite the entourage of their closest friends with them. They included Jason Bateman, Courtney Cox, and Chelsea Handler. However, they had a good reason for this, according to an interview Justin did. He said, “We had thought about it; we could just do a normal honeymoon, or we could go with some friends, keep the party going, relax, and have fun. It was really special, it was really beautiful.”
As a child, she was slapped by a very unlikely culprit.
Growing up on New York City’s swanky Upper West Side, you would assume that Jennifer lived a completely charmed life. While she mostly did, she also had her fair share of weird experiences, including the time she was slapped by a man dressed like Santa Claus. In a 2006 interview, she explained that she and a friend were walking down Broadway after a dance class when the man “backhanded me really hard” for no apparent reason. She also said that nobody bothered to stop to see if she was okay. In the end, she said, “Very strange. It’s fun growing up in New York.”
Although she was not diagnosed until she was in her 20’s, Jen struggles with dyslexia.
In a 2015 interview with Hollywood Reporter, Jen revealed that she had been diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability in her 20’s, which actually came as somewhat of a relief. She mentioned that growing up, “I thought I wasn’t smart. I couldn’t retain anything.” She also said that her extreme struggles with reading hurt her self-esteem while she was growing up and is the reason she rarely reads.
She had quite an array of jobs before she finally made it as an actress.
Like many people trying to become famous, Jen tried her hand at several jobs between acting auditions. She started out as a bike messenger, although she has said that she wasn’t particularly good at it, thanks to being “not so good on the directions.” Next, she turned to waiting tables, which was even worse. According to Jen, “I was very friendly but clumsy and generally incompetent.” She also took on a number of roles as an extra in different TV series, including Search For Tomorrow, which her father was starring in.
Her dad wanted Jennifer to become a lawyer.
Despite the fact she struggled in school, thanks to her undiagnosed learning disability, Jennifer’s dad thought she should work to become a lawyer instead of an actress. However, he had a good reason for discouraging her from following in his acting footsteps. He told her, “I do not want your heart broken. The rejection is brutal. Please, please, please don’t do that. Become a lawyer.
She is absolutely terrified of going underwater.
While doing interviews for her 2014 film Cake, Jen let it slip that the pool scene required an astounding 30 takes because she is so scared of having to go underwater. Apparently, when she was a child, she was riding a tricycle around a pool and ended up driving her trike right into the swimming pool. As the trike floated to the bottom and her brother tried to pull her out, she wouldn’t turn loose of the handlebars. Eventually, he got her out, but she still hasn’t been able to get past the experience.
As a child, Jen was slightly cross-eyed.
Jennifer has said in several interviews that she has a “little bit of a lazy eye, like a cross-eye” that always has to be corrected in photos. She mentioned that the condition was the result of a weak muscle in her right eye. While we are on the topic of Jen’s eyes, here is another interesting fact. Although her eyes are brown, she usually wears contacts that are tinted blue
In one of her first roles, she played Blossom’s stepsister.
Jen was cast in the role of Courtney Molloy in the 1990 Fox series Molloy. The show’s star was Mayim Bialik, who went on to star in Blossom. The show ran from July 25 until August 29, 1990 before it was cancelled (7 episodes actually aired on TV) due to poor ratings, leaving two episodes unaired. This was actually Jen’s first TV appearance.
Her family’s last name has not always been Aniston.
When Jennifer was born on February 11, 1969, she was named Jennifer Joanna Aniston, although her father had only recently adopted the last name. His original last name was Anastassakis, but he opted to change it because it was too hard for most people to pronounce. He got the idea from good friend and eventually Jennifer’s godfather, Telly Savalas. (On a side note, Jennifer shares her middle name with her paternal grandmother.)
Her marriage to Brad Pitt started with a blind date.
Once referred to as “Hollywood’s Golden Couple,” Jen first met Brad Pitt after being set up by their respective agents on a blind date. They immediately clicked and were married on July 29, 2000 in a lavish ceremony held on a Malibu estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The ceremony had everything from tens of thousands of flowers to a gospel choir, four bands, and an elaborate fireworks display. In March 2006, they announced they were separating after 4 ½ years of marriage
If she had not made it as an actress, Jen wanted to be a therapist.
When Jen starred in the 2014 comedy She’s Funny That Way, she played a therapist, which just happens to be her alternative career aspiration. In a 2012 interview, she stated, "I don't know why. I was just always the girl that people would come and talk to about their problems, and I still am." By the way, Jennifer has also admitted on multiple occasions that she has seen a therapist for several years herself.
She was not a fan of her iconic haircut.
Jennifer first debuted “The Rachel” in 1994 after her stylist Chris McMillian created the highlighted and layered shaggy cut while he was high. Despite the fact that America absolutely loved the hairstyle and women flocked to their own hairstylist in an effort to replicate the look, Jen did not feel the same way. She admitted in a Glamour interview, "I was not a fan of the 'Rachel'. That was kind of cringe-y for me. Looking back — honestly, even during that time — I couldn't do it on my own. I needed [my hairstylist] Chris [McMillan] attached to my hip. Left to my own devices, I am not skilled with a hairbrush and blow-dryer."
Jen is the actual owner of Pat the Dog.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Pat the Dog is the name of the big white dog that is seen in Joey’s apartment on Friends. The dog eventually became a running gag on the show. In fact, when Joey was forced to sell everything in his apartment, Ross went to the trouble of tracking the dog down and buying him back for Joey. In real life, Jennifer owned Pat, who was given to her by a friend as a congratulations for getting the role of Rachel on the show.
Written by Garrett Parker
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