'When somebody follows you 20 blocks to the pharmacy, where they watch you buy toilet paper, you know your life has changed," Jennifer Aniston is quoted as saying on AskMen.com. Undoubtedly, Jennifer Aniston's life has changed considerably since she became a superstar and Hollywood sex symbol. Although her parents are both actors, Jennifer became far more famous than either her mom or her dad. Her father, John Aniston, has played a major role as Victor Kiriakis on the decades-old television soap opera Days of Our Lives since the mid-1980s, but Jennifer has made a far bigger name for herself in prime time and on the big screen. Thanks to her role as Rachel on the hit television show Friends, and no doubt in part also to her marriage to Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston might be more renowned than her now deceased godfather, Telly Savalas, well-known as his role as Kojak. Jennifer Aniston's impact on television has been considerable: she is a thirty-something actress who was making one million dollars per episode on Friends. Although the show has been retired, Jennifer Aniston shows no signs of quitting. In fact, her dedication to her acting career is causing some problems at home. Brad Pitt reportedly hopes to have children within the next few years, a notion that Jennifer can do well without while her career is "still hot," ("Brad and Jen's Marriage is in the Pits"). Tabloid gossip aside, Jennifer Aniston remains one of television, and perhaps the silver screen's, most loved stars. Male and female fans alike appreciate her physical features and her professional talents. Her appeal is universal, not simply because she has classic yet simple good looks but also because her personality seems approachable and real. Aniston does not come across as being a haughty superstar but rather, she seems just like one of our "friends."
Jennifer was exposed to performance art at a young age, as both her parents are actors. Her father John moved the Aniston family from Jennifer's birthplace in Sherman Oaks, California to his home country of Greece. In fact, the Aniston family name is an Anglicization of the Greek name Anastassakis (some web sites, like the "Jennifer Aniston Page," report the Greek family name as being Anistonopolous). After the family lived only about a year in Greece, they moved back to the United States: this time to New York City where John landed a role in a play called "Love of Life." While in New York, Jennifer's parents got a divorce. Jennifer, who was nine years old at the time, stayed with her mother. John Aniston went on to develop his small screen career on Days of Our Lives, while his daughter pursued art and acting in junior high and high school. Supposedly, John Aniston discouraged his daughter's acting ambitions (AskMen.com).
As early as age 11, Jennifer joined the Rudolf Steiner School drama club, and began her professional training while she attended the High School of the Performing Arts in New York City. "I was always fascinated by acting, ever since I saw Children of a Lesser God on Broadway. My experience at Rudolf Steiner encouraged me to pursue acting as a career. Steiner was a free-spirited school that encouraged creativity and individualism," (quote from "Jennifer Aniston"). Jennifer also liked to paint, and one of her pieces was featured in a special exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. After she graduated from high school, Jennifer pursued a stage acting career and landed roles in several off-Broadway productions such as "For Dear Life," and "Dancing on Checker's Grave." While she pursued a fledgling acting career, Jennifer also worked a fast-food restaurant in Manhattan called Jackson Hole.
Hungry for greater heights of stardom, Jennifer headed west to Hollywood. She soon met and dated future Friends co-star Matthew Perry and got her first television role in 1989 as a regular cast member of a show called "Molloy." At the same time, she played parts in other television shows like FOX's comedy "The Edge" and CBS's "Ferris Bueller." In 1993, she was cast in a horror film called Leprechaun. It wasn't until she was offered the script for a pilot called "Friends like Us" that Jennifer Aniston would get her real break.
Jennifer was originally asked to try out for the part of Monica Geller, but the spunky actress requested to audition as Rachel Green, a "suburban princess turned coffee peddler" instead (Fontana). Monica's role eventually went to Courtney Cox, and most viewers would agree that it would be hard to imagine their roles reversed. The series, simply titled Friends, launched in 1994 and was almost an instant success thanks to its young but talented cast. During her initial years on the show, Jennifer dated another actor named Tate Donovan, to whom she was supposedly engaged ("Biography for Tate Donovan"). According to the "Jennifer Aniston Page," Donovan couldn't handle the jealousy due to his girlfriend's rising stardom. Most of Donovan's acting efforts fell far short of being hits. When Donovan didn't show up for the premier of Aniston's 1998 film The Object of My Affection, the relationship was over.
Jennifer Aniston's career was just beginning, however. Friends took off like wildfire and led the ratings race for years. Friends also earned critical accolades, including a slew of awards in many different categories such as Outstanding Comedy Series. Jennifer Aniston contributed to the show's success and vice-versa; she won many awards for her performance on friends as Rachel Green, including an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Television fame completely transformed Aniston's life. According to the "Jennifer Aniston Page," "Her passions for things like antiquing, hiking, and traveling have been halted. She can no longer go out into public without being stopped for autograph requests or photos." Jennifer Aniston has in fact had several ongoing personal and legal problems with the paparazzi. In the year 2000, Aniston sued several tabloid papers, including Celebrity Skin, for a picture published of her sunbathing topless in her backyard. The photographer had ostensibly climbed a neighbor's eight-foot wall to take the telephoto shot, which to Aniston's dismay became widely distributed. In November of, 2003, photographer Francois Navarre agreed to pay her $550,000 in damages for taking the pictures, and Aniston settled out of court with the tabloid magazines for undisclosed amounts ("Aniston Settles Topless Photo Flap"). Her celebrity has also led to rifts between Jennifer and her mother. Jennifer cut off ties with her mother as a result, not even inviting her to the wedding with Brad Pitt.
Jennifer Aniston married celebrity heartthrob Brad Pitt on his birthday, July 29, 2000. Although she officially changed her name to Jennifer Pitt, her name will remain Jennifer Aniston for official acting credits. The couple is still married although some tabloid papers report the relationship is on the rocks in part due to Pitt's eagerness to have children. Brad and Jennifer also ran into some legal problems recently when Damiani International Jewelers reproduced their wedding rings. Pitt had designed the rings, which were embedded with diamonds and engraved with their names. The jeweler marketed reproductions as "Brad and Jennifer" rings, selling them for $1,000 a piece. The lawsuit was filed for $50 million but was settled, on the terms that Brad would be able to design a line of jewelry for the company and that Jennifer Aniston would model the products ("Brad Pitt, Aniston, Settle Ring Lawsuit").
Aniston is known for being physically fit. In 2002, Jennifer Aniston offered her costar Matthew Perry personal training services after Warner Brother producers complained about his having gained weight. People Weekly magazine listed her as one of the "Most Intriguing People" in 1995, and People magazine listed her as one of the "Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1999. She was named by FHM as being one of the sexiest women in the world in 2004, too (Fontana). Jennifer Aniston has also been lauded for her long blonde hair, which was touted as being "influential," ("Friends Rachels' Influential Hairdo"). Jennifer Aniston and her husband Brad Pitt have both been cited as being well-dressed celebrities as well, and model designer fashions with flair on-screen and at awards ceremonies.
Yet appearance and clothing aren't all that makes Jennifer Aniston a likeable star; through her performance on Friends, she has proven herself to be a compelling actress who also happened to be attractive. In fact, Aniston downplays her good looks. She is quoted as saying that she "was an unfortunate looking teenager...I never felt beautiful, ever," ("Jennifer Aniston"). Her budding movie career illustrates that Jennifer Aniston is flexible as a performer: earlier films she shot while on Friends include She's the One, (1996), Picture Perfect, (1997), Office Space (1999), and Iron Giant (1999). In 2001, she co-starred with Mark Wahlberg in a film called Rock Star, and in 2002 played the lead role in an acclaimed sleeper film called Good Girl. Owing to her continued fame and proven flexibility as an…