Fresh from the mammoth success of box-office blockbusters Marley & Me and He’s Just Not That Into You, America’s sweetheart has just turned 40 and she’s loving it! To celebrate, she’s set to star in a steamy calendar slated for release this summer, and if rumours are to be believed, she may just woo back a certain Mr. Pitt in the process! In this Enigma exclusive Lucy O’Loughlin talks to the irrepressible Jennifer Aniston about life, love and staying forever sexy.
There’s just something about Jennifer Aniston. Her most recent works pulled in revenues that made her record-breaking Friends paycheck look like peanuts (by Season 10, Aniston raked in $1 million per episode). Last year’s Marley & Me drew more than $140 million (with the largest Christmas Day box office ever at $25 million), while He’s Just Not That Into You was the No. 1 movie in the States for weeks. Although she’s been hit by the recession like everyone else, Aniston ranked as the 10th-richest woman in Hollywood in 2007 and is still up there with the likes of Oprah and Martha Stewart when it comes to bank statements.
She worked her way up through soap operas and sitcoms, at various times holding down jobs as a bike messenger and telemarketer while living the life of so many struggling actors in New York. She made the cross-country pilgrimage required of all wannabe American thespians, from New York’s theatre scene to sunny LA, where physical perfection always trumps artistic talent. The city of dreamers was kind to Aniston, she soon found work on the series Molloy. A few years after her arrival, she was cast in the role of Rachel Green on Friends. Aniston first auditioned for the role of Monica Geller until Courteney Cox proved to be perfect for it. So Aniston became Rachel. From 1994 to 2004, audiences welcomed her and her five friends into their homes and lives. Aniston received SAG awards, Emmys and Golden Globes for stealing our hearts.
A successful leap to the big screen saw the actress holding her own alongside the biggest names in comedy, including Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty (2003), Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly (2004) and Vince Vaughn in The Break-Up (2006). But during her ascent to the top, Aniston’s off-screen love life received as much publicity as her films. Following a failed engagement to actor Tate Donovan, she found love with none other than Brad Pitt in 1998 – ironically enough just after filming a movie called Picture Perfect. The pair, who wed in a luxurious Malibu ceremony in 2000, seemed to be Hollywood’s golden couple. But their spotless image was shattered in 2005 when Jennifer filed for divorce amid rumours Brad was having an affair with his Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie. Angelina and Brad have always denied their romance began while Brad was still married, but, well…
While the highly publicised break-up left Aniston labelled as a wronged woman, she says there are no bad feelings between her and her ex-husband. Again, the sweet, forgiving girl next door… if only we all could be so saintly. Or look so damn good doing it! After being romantically linked with Vaughn and British model Paul Sculfor, she dated musician John Mayer from April 2008 to April 2009. Her break-up with Mayer (eight years her junior) seemed to have left her broken, until she had a ‘revelation’ with her latest movie, Baster. The movie is about… we’re not sure how to say this delicately… a woman who artificially inseminates herself with a turkey baster. And accidentally uses the sperm of her best friend, (played by Jason Bateman from Arrested Development). We’re not saying Aniston will resort to such desperate measures herself, but she does make a strong statement for women achieving what they want, with or without men! Read on for Jen’s take on the subject…
You’ve worked with some sexy co-stars lately. Any favourites?
Ha, Marley! Men come and go but there is no relationship like the one you have with a dog. But they don’t live as long as they should. You have to say goodbye too soon. It makes me so sad. But their love is unconditional and I love that.
Any words on Brad?
The sad thing, for me, is how it’s been reduced to a Hollywood cliché. But I don’t regret any of it. I wouldn’t know what I know now if I hadn’t been married to Brad. I really love him and I will love him forever.
Your latest movie Baster examines the question of whether women need men, even to have children! What do you think?
I never liked Sex and the City, the thing where women only feel empowered once they find ‘The Man’. It is just not up my alley. I don’t believe in it. I’m going to have children, I just know it. The women who inspire me are the ones who have families and children. Why would I want to limit myself? I want to have it all. Ideally, I’d like a couple of kids, but who knows? I feel like that’s in my future and I’m on the verge of it in some way.
Now that you are an established Hollywood actress, are you still proud of Friends?
Very much so. I’ve experienced some of my most emotional moments when cancer survivors have wept in my arms with gratitude or when one girl told me how she and her dying mother watched episodes of Friends to get through the ordeal. It’s very powerful to have been part of something that has been a marker in people’s lives.
Would Friends be a hit show today?
It’s hard to tell – that was a different time. Now TV has too much to do with celebrity. And we have reality television, where people try to become celebrities.
Any chance of a Friends movie?
I hope not!
Marley and Me proved a box office hit. Is the film industry feeling the effects of the global recession?
They’re certainly not making as many movies. At the film festivals studios that would maybe buy six to eight films are buying two. It’s a lot harder for independent films especially. It’s the same as everywhere else – jobs being cut back.
Do you prefer independent movies or blockbusters?
They both have such great aspects to them. Independent movies are great as you have more freedom – unless you have a film like Marley & Me where you are creatively fulfilled. Independents are fun because you don’t have time to really stop and there is a bit more creativity. You don’t have the money to slow down!
He’s Just Not That Into You had an amazing cast. How was it making the movie?
I just wish it had been called She’s Just Not That Into You! That would have been more empowering. Maybe we’ll do a follow-up…
You turned 40 this year, are you getting more conscious of your appearance in terms of diet and exercise?
I’m a realist and I know that if I were to eat nothing but junk food I would not get hired for the parts I normally would. So taking care of what I eat is important.
Do you worry about growing older?
I did flip out slightly when I found a long grey hair one day, but that’s life! Getting older is just part of life. It’s an experience!
Any tips for ladies approaching the big Four-Oh?
You realise that it just gets better. I have my health, I have my friends and I have my loved ones. I’m extremely lucky. I’m thirty-10! I don’t feel 40!