“She Was Very Critical of Me.” Jennifer Aniston Opens Up About Her Toxic Relationship With Her Mom
Jennifer Aniston is one of the most recognizable actresses in the world. She has been nominated and won numerous awards, and she’s appeared on the lists of the most popular, prosperous, and attractive women. And her role as Rachel Green on the iconic TV show Friends is considered to be one of the greatest television characters of all time. Hence, it may be a hard-to-believe fact that behind such a successful career and public life stands a complicated childhood story that Jennifer wasn’t ready to share until recently.
We at Bright Side want to share the story of Jennifer Aniston’s relationship with her mother, and how it affected her life, with our readers.
Jennifer’s mother was nearly perfect and wanted her daughter to also be perfect.
Jennifer’s mom, Nancy Dow, was an actress and model. She starred in many shows, including The Beverly Hillbillies and the iconic The Wild Wild West. Dow’s occupation strongly influenced the way she raised her daughter. “She was from this world of, ’Honey, take better care of yourself,’ or ’Honey, put your face on,’ or all of those odd sound bites that I can remember from my childhood,” remembers Aniston. Nancy was trying to make her daughter perfect:
“She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn’t. I never was,” says Jennifer.
Nancy provoked the toxic relationship with her daughter.
After her parents split up, Jennifer was left with her mother. The relationship worsened as Nancy tended to neglect her daughter’s emotions. “I was never taught that I could scream,” says Aniston. “One time, I raised my voice to my mother, and I screamed at her, and she looked at me and burst out laughing. She was laughing at me [for] screaming back. And it was like a punch in my stomach.”
In 1999 Nancy published a book called From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir. The publication hurt Jennifer so severely that she did not speak to her mother for many years. She did not even invite Dow to her and Brad Pitt’s wedding. Their relationship was completely ruined.
Mother and daughter didn’t reunite until many years afterward.
After Jennifer got divorced, she and Nancy started re-building their relationship. Speaking about their reunion, Jennifer said, “It’s been really nice. It’s crazy what, you know, your life kind of being turned upside down will lead you to. For us it was the time, and it was going to happen when it was supposed to happen. So this is good. It’s baby steps.”
Jennifer accepts everything that happened.
Nancy died in 2016. Later on, in 2018, remembering her mother, Jennifer admitted that, despite being harsh, her mother always only wanted the best for her. “My mom said those things because she really loved me,” said Aniston. “It wasn’t her trying to be [bad] or knowing she would be making some deep wounds that I would then spend a lot of money to undo. She did it because that was what she grew up with.”
“I think she was just holding on and doing the best she could.”
Now, Jennifer is rebuilding her relationship with her father.
The shared loss united Jennifer with her father, TV actor John Aniston. Throughout their lives, this father and daughter’s relationship was not smooth either. Jennifer had a hard time going through her parent’s divorce. She and her father didn’t see each other for a year after the divorce. Then, he got in touch with her. “He just called one day and said, “Let’s go see The Fantasticks,” remembers Jennifer. “So we had a little dinner and saw the show.”
Now, Jennifer and John have reconciled. They keep in touch, they call each other, and Jennifer posts touching archive pictures with John, saying, “Love you, papa.”
Did you know Jennifer’s not-so-bright childhood story? Or did you just know her for her career achievements?