Jennifer Aniston OPENS UP ABOUT HER SOME DEEPLY PERSONAL PAIN BEHIND
JENNIFER ANISTON HAS SPENT MOST OF HER ADULT LIFE IN THE SPOTLIGHT, WITH ALL ITS GLARE. AT 53, SHE OPENS UP ABOUT HER PATH TO LEAVING REGRETS AND SOME DEEPLY PERSONAL PAIN BEHIND.
If we’re being literal, the hills above western Los Angeles are actually the only place where Jennifer Aniston is the girl next door. That’s what people called her for a long time. The girl next door, which is a ’90s euphemism that means she’s unintimidating, approachable. But here, along avenues of impermeable iron gates, among houses hidden behind hedges grown to make sure you know your place, the vibe is pretty intimidating. To live here, one assumes, you have to have achieved a certain kind of Olympian status, like having been among the most beloved figures in American pop culture for 30 years.
This is what I’m thinking when the gates to her house swing open and I enter onto a pea stone car park. Pruned trees, gurgling fountains, 500-foot-tall front doors. Then suddenly, there’s a lot of barking and Aniston’s familiar voice, somewhere inside, reprimanding her dogs. When she opens the door — ripped jeans, tank top, barefoot — Aniston looks like she could be the owner’s out-of-town friend crashing here for a few days
She welcomes me into the house, which looks like a comfortable art gallery and smells like a box of new shoes transported in a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk full of gardenias. “Excuse my frazzledness,” she says, seeming pretty unfrazzled, as we walk into her kitchen. “I just had a whole thing happen at work.” She’s in the middle of filming the third season of The Morning Show. “I just [found out I] have a few pages to learn of a huge interview scene.”
“Our interview can be a dry run,” I propose. Yes, this will be my dry — exactly. That’s exactly right.” Aniston at her most Aniston. It’s that thing she does. She murmur repeats — part bumbling professor, part conspiratorial best friend.
Immediately, she’s welcoming: “Can I make you a shake? I’m having a shake.” I am not about to refuse a homemade shake from Jennifer Aniston. Sure. Great.
“I want to introduce you to my dogs.” She opens the door to where they’ve been relegated. “Clyde is amazing, but Chesterfield gets barky. You have to ignore him. Even if he licks your hand and you’re like, ‘Oh, there’s my in,’ he will jump and it seems scary.” I do as I’m told: aloof and indifferent. I could be a French waiter.
“Okay, I’m making us a shake. Here we go.” I lean against her kitchen island and watch as Aniston begins to assemble the ingredients. Back and forth to the refrigerator, in and out of cabinets, collecting little containers of powders and a thing of nuts and then ground-up some- things and there’s a banana and then shavings of something elses. Am I okay with chocolate-flavored things? “Yep, but I’m a vegetarian so just no bacon, please.”
“Ha! I’m not going to put the bacon in! I’ll leave out the bacon. I’ll leave out the bacon.” Murmur, repeat, perfect timing.“Let me blend this. Hold on.” She blends. Chesterfield — a big white husky? shepherd? lab mix? — starts barking. She pours two tall glasses of smoothie. “Whoa, I hope you like sweet things,” she says. “Cheers.”
About a year ago, Aniston launched a hair-care line, LolaVie, with a simple and ambitious mission: “Create a product that is good for the environment, good for our hair, take out all the crappy chemicals, and have it perform,” says Aniston.
Then she says, “I hate social media.” This is unexpected. What do you mean? “I’m not good at it.” This seems…counterintuitive. As you may be aware, about three years ago, Aniston joined Instagram. She opened an account, posted a photo of the cast of Friends, and in the following hours, the platform rushed to accommodate so many thousands of Jennifer Aniston followers that it crashed. Is that what she means by not being good at it? Like, is it hard because you’re too popular? Like in a job interview when they ask you your biggest weakness and you say I guess I work too hard sometimes?
“It’s torture for me. The reason I went on Instagram was to launch this line,” she explains. “Then the pandemic hit and we didn’t launch. So I was just stuck with being on Instagram. It doesn’t come naturally.”
I ask her about this. How, to people like us, who came of age before InstaChat and SnapTube and FaceTik, social media can seem unnecessarily punitive, like checking in with the meanest girl from high school every 10 minutes to confirm you’re still a loser.