This FRIENDS Star Reveals Painful Childhood with a Dad Who Abandoned Her and a Mom Who Was Severely Critical

This FRIENDS Star Reveals Painful Childhood with a Dad Who Abandoned Her and a Mom Who Was Severely Critical

She is a successful actress but people still cared to focus on her troubled relationships alone. She underwent quite a bit of trauma as a child due to her parents but chose to rise above her circumstances.

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Jason Merritt

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on June 21, 2019. It has since been updated.

We know her as America's sweetheart but hardly do we know the pain and trauma that Jennifer Aniston has traversed through in her childhood to get where she has. The worse part is that the source of her heartbreak was her mother, who was overly critical of her. She did not have a happy family and much like her character in the popular show FRIENDS, her parents were separated. There are many ups and downs in her life most of us don't see behind her funny side.


From growing up with a judgmental mother to being abandoned by her father, and very public heartbreaks, she has fought all of that on her own. Eventually, she stopped looking towards others for her own happiness and preferred the company of her pet dogs to men. She is still close with her former castmates Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow and has built a family with on-screen friends.

But before she became the success she is today, there are many things that shaped her life. Here are the things you didn't know about her struggle:

1. Her father abandoned them

The Days of Our Lives actor John Aniston left his wife Nancy Dow and Jennifer in the 1980s, leaving Nancy to be a single mom.






2. She grew up with an overly critical mother

Nancy Dow was a model and former actress, who wanted her child to be a beautiful and perfect too. "She was a model and she was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like," The Horrible Bosses star has said, according to Daily Mail.


“She was critical,” Aniston said. “She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn’t. I never was. I honestly still don’t think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine. She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty.”





3. Her mother dismissed her feelings

“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,” Aniston revealed, according to HuffPost. “And it was like a punch in my stomach.”



4. Young Jennifer thought she was stupid, but it turned out to be undiagnosed dyslexia

She had a hard time in school and wasn't as successful there as she was on screen. She thought she wasn't smart and has struggled for years with dyslexia. She was diagnosed with the learning disability only as an adult. “Now I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, dramas were explained," she told the Independent.






5. Despite a successful acting career, her mother wasn't happy

Their feud started in the 90s and Jennifer couldn't take the judgment anymore. They didn't speak to each other for more than 10 years.



6. She found friends who became family 

The cast of Friends was encouraged to really get to know each other and all of them bonded well and spend 10 years together. They were there for each other then and are still close. 


7. Courtney Cox was her pillar through more attacks from Nancy

Nancy had continued to slight Jennifer through interviews so Courtney Cox and then-husband David Arquette took out a full-page advertisement to honor her for winning Showest Female of The Year award in 2005, according to Scoopwhoop. The ad said, "Congratulations Jennifer. Your enormous heart makes you an incredible actress and a beautiful friend. We love you. Courteney, David, and Coco.




8. She was so heartbroken she did not invite Nancy to her wedding with Brad Pitt 

Their feud was so big and her mother had become so difficult that Jennifer chose to not invite her to the wedding.


9. After the divorce with Brad Pitt, she was more alone

The divorce had been very public and immediately after, he was seen becoming a part of Angelina Jolie's life and family. Jennifer had been devastated.


10. She found love again though 

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux were married for a few years happily and they quietly went separate ways in 2017.


11. She has learned to accept herself just the way she is 

She no longer thinks that just because she doesn't have a child or husband she should feel any less successful. She enjoys the company of her three dogs and believes that men may come and go, but a pet's love is forever.

12. Her friends are still her pillars

Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, and Jennifer recently celebrated Cox's 55th birthday and the ladies are still together having fun.


13. "A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top."

She doesn't think that her purpose was to procreate. She is successful, has a good career and friends, and that makes her happy.



She has weathered many a storm and continues to blaze her way through them!