A Look At Jennifer Aniston's Complicated Relationship With Her Parents

Jennifer Aniston may be one of the most famous women in Hollywood today. However, before rising to fame on the TV show "Friends" and starring in other projects such as "The Morning Show," "Horrible Bosses," "Murder Mystery," "The Object of My Affection," "Picture Perfect," and more, the actor had some insider knowledge about the entertainment industry thanks to her parents. Jennifer was born to actors Nancy Dow and John Aniston. During her career, Dow was known for her roles in "The Wild Wild West," "The Beverly Hillbillies," "The Ice House," and "Pure" (via People Magazine).

Meanwhile, Jennifer's father, John, has appeared on "The West Wing," "Gilmore Girls," "Search for Tomorrow," "Journeyman," "Love of Life," and "That Girl." However, he is best remembered for his decades-long run as the wealthy and powerful Victor Kiriakis on the long-running soap opera "Days of Our Lives."

Jennifer grew up around show business and ultimately decided to follow in her parents' footsteps as an adult. Unfortunately, she wouldn't be able to lean on her parents for support and guidance much, as she had a rocky relationship with both her mother and her father over the years. Through the decades, Jennifer's relationships with her mother and father played out in the media.

Jennifer Aniston's parents divorced when she was young

Jennifer Aniston's parents, Nancy Dow and John Aniston, were married from 1965 until 1980, divorcing when their daughter was just 9 years old. Years later, Jennifer spoke out about the toll that her parents' marriage and divorce took on her growing up. "My house was not a fun house to live in. I was thrilled to get out," she told Allure in 2022. "I think my mom's divorce really screwed her up," she added. "Back in that generation it wasn't like, 'Go to therapy, talk to somebody.

Why don't you start microdosing?' You're going through life and picking up your child with tears on your face and you don't have any help."

Jennifer went on to reveal that her mother never let go of her resentment, causing her to exhibit toxic behavior. The "Friends" star added that Dow's inability to deal with some of the trauma in her own life set an example of sorts to her daughter, revealing the kind of person she never wanted to become.

For Dow's part, she wrote a memoir about her rocky relationship with Jennifer in 1999, which caused a huge rift between the mother and daughter that resulted in a years-long estrangement.

Nancy Dow wrote a book about her relationship with Jennifer Aniston

When Nancy Dow released the book "From Mother And Daughter To Friends: A Memoir," she wrote about her relationship with daughter Jennifer Aniston, and revealed that the "Cake" star had sought our psychiatric help to deal with "boyfriend problems" as well as some old issues with her father. "You spend all this time raising a child, with a lot of good intentions, and you feel you have failed. It makes you feel very ashamed," Nancy wrote (via Mama Mia).

After the book was published, she and Jennifer didn't speak to each other for 15 years. Nancy even missed out on her daughter's wedding to Brad Pitt.

In 2005, Jennifer opened up about her estrangement from her mother, revealing that she didn't regret the time the two spent apart. "I feel pretty good about the choices I've made. The choice of not speaking to Mom for a while—that's ours. Nobody else has to understand it," she said. In 2015, Jennifer spoke out about her younger years with her mother, revealing that she always wanted a beautiful model-like daughter. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer called her mother "critical" and "unforgiving," and added that she held grudges, which Jennifer found to be "petty.


Sadly, Nancy passed away in 2016. However, sources told In Touch Weekly that she and Jennifer had seen each other just weeks before her passing, per Hollywood Life.

Jennifer Aniston also had a complicated relationship with her father

While Jennifer Aniston had years' worth of drama with her mother, Nancy Dow, she also endured a complicated relationship with her father, John Aniston. When John and Nancy split, it came as a surprise to Jennifer, whose mother told her that her father had left the family at the age of 9.

"I went to a birthday party, and when I came back, she said, 'Your father's not going to be around here for a little while,'" Jennifer told Rolling Stone in 1999. After that, Jennifer didn't have contact with her father for an entire year until one day he called her, and the two met to have dinner and see a show. The two began to see each other on the weekends, but Jennifer still considered her father's exit from the family as one of the most "painful" times in her life.

Jennifer later recalled asking her father about the way he left the family, but he had trouble explaining his thoughts and feelings.

"He's not a good communicator," she explained, per Hollywood Life. When asked what John had taught her about fatherhood, the "Morning Show" star didn't have much of an answer due to her estrangement from John in her younger years. "He wasn't around to do that. Maybe don't marry a Greek man, and just stick around. That'll do it," she stated.

Jennifer Aniston grew closer to her dad in her adult years

Although Jennifer Aniston and her father John Aniston had a rocky relationship in her younger years, the two did grow closer when Jennifer became an adult. In June 2022, Jennifer appeared in a video at the Daytime Emmy Awards to honor her father, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on "Days of Our Lives" and other television shows.

"It's an opportunity to not only pay tribute to a true icon in the daytime television world, but it's also a chance to recognize the lifelong achievements of a great and well-respected actor who also happens to be my dad," Jennifer said in a pre-recorded speech (via Entertainment Weekly).

Sadly, just five months after Jennifer honored her father's big award show moment, John passed away at the age of 89. Following John's death, Jennifer took to Instagram to share a sweet tribute to her late father. "Sweet papa...⁣ John Anthony Aniston, you were one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew. I am so grateful that you went soaring into the heavens in peace — and without pain," she wrote, adding photos of the two of them together throughout the years.

While Jennifer has suffered a lot of heartbreak due to her relationship issues with both her mother and father, she says that she's forgiven her family for all of the pain of the past.

Jennifer Aniston has forgiven her parents

After years of dealing with hurt feelings and family trauma, Jennifer Aniston knew she had to move on and live her own life. "We've made up," she told Rolling Stone of her relationship with her dad in 1999. "There's still parts that are hard for me, but I'm an adult.

I can't blame my parents anymore," she added. Decades later, Jennifer told Allure that she had forgiven her parents for the mistakes they had made in the past.

Although her life was greatly impacted by Nancy Dow and John Aniston's decisions, marriage, and divorce, the actor claims that she's put the past behind her. "I forgave my mom. I forgave my father. I've forgiven my family," she told Allure in 2022. "It's important," she said of forgiveness. "It's toxic to have that resentment, that anger. I learned that by watching my mom never let go of it," she added.

Sadly, Jennifer's time with John and Nancy has passed. However, she can look back on the good times they had together and know that her experiences with her parents have made her who she is today. She told Vanity Fair in 2015 that she wouldn't change anything that's happened to her, revealing that it's "all in the past."

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