Watching Her Parents Divorce Affected Jennifer Aniston's Relationships All Her Life

Jennifer Aniston was one-half of the most famous will-they won't-they couples in TV history. For 10 whole seasons, Ross and Rachel went from "Friends" to partners to enemies to lovers... then the cycle repeated. In real life, the A-list actor has had her fair share of ups and downs when it comes to romance. Notably, her very public split from Brad Pitt (and his consequential marriage to Angelina Jolie) became tabloid fodder for years, if not decades. According to the "The Morning Show" star, her parent's divorce forever impacted her perspective on relationships.

John Aniston and Nancy Dow — both successful actors in their own right — married in 1965 and called it quits in 1980. Jennifer was just 9 years old at the time of their split. According to the "Friends" star, their marriage was pretty rocky. "Watching my family's relationship didn't make me kind of go, 'Oh, I can't wait to do that,'" she told The WSJ Magazine in a 2023 conversation, continuing, "I didn't like the idea of sacrificing who you were or what you needed..." 

For her, it was easier to fly solo. Although she's at the top of her game when it comes to Hollywood stardom, the romance arena is trickier for Jennifer — she struggles to communicate her needs and wants. "[It's] still a challenge for me in a relationship," she explained. Although the A-lister's connection with her father was strong up until his heartbreaking death in 2022, she went years without speaking to her mother, who didn't even attend her first wedding. 

Jennifer Aniston has been married twice

Jennifer Aniston has been married twice: first to Brad Pitt, from 2000 until 2005, and next to Justin Theroux from 2015 until 2017 (they'd been dating since 2011). Although both marriages ended in divorce, Aniston considers her marriages to be "very successful," per Elle. "Why do we want a happy ending? How about just a happy existence? A happy process?" she asked, adding, "That's part of sexism—it's always the woman who's scorned and heartbroken and a spinster." She doesn't believe in staying in relationships out of obligation or fear — that would inhibit growth. This mindset is in part thanks to her parents. "I'm sure, because I was from a divorced-parent home, that was another reason I wasn't like, 'Well, [marriage] looks like a great institution,'" she explained.

What's more, the Golden Globe winner is still friendly with both of her ex-husbands. "We don't talk every day, but we call each other. We FaceTime. We text," Justin Theroux told Esquire, adding, "Like it or not, we didn't have that dramatic split, and we love each other." Although it took Jennifer Anniston nearly two decades to fully open up about her divorce from Brad Pitt, she's never minded sharing a few details, like how their relationship wasn't "that bad," per Vogue. Brad Pitt even attended Jennifer's 50th birthday party. "Brad and I are buddies, we're friends," the sitcom star told Howard Stern in a 2021 interview (via E! News).

Jennifer Aniston's friendships have remained solid for decades

Although Jennifer Aniston might struggle in the romance department, she's never had too much trouble when it comes to her friendships. She and her "Friends" co-stars, for instance, are still in touch — Jennifer is even in a group chat with Lisa Kudrow and Courtney Cox. The entire cast will sometimes plan dinners together, and, as she assured on "The Howard Stern Show," none of them get on her nerves. Aniston also has a decades-long friendship with Adam Sandler, and the duo have collaborated on several movies over the years. "We were friends before 'Friends,'" Jennifer Aniston said on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" recalling their first meeting in the early '90s. "We must have been real family in another life."

Chosen family has always been a big part of Aniston's life, especially in the midst of family drama. Her long-time pal and producing partner, Kristin Hahn, has even called her A-list bestie the "glue" that holds their "Friends"-like friend group together, according to Elle. Sometimes art imitates life. Her other close companions in the Hollywood industry include her "Morning Show" co-star Reese Witherspoon, Kerry Washington, and Drew Barrymore (just to name a few). These ladies regularly appear on her Instagram account. "Thank goodness for girlfriends" she captioned a spring 2023 video montage. Clearly, John Aniston and Nancy Dow's messy divorce didn't get in the way of their daughter's friendships; if anything, it strengthened them.