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Jennifer Aniston explains choosing ‘career over kids’ and reflects on relationship with her mother

Jennifer Aniston shot back at assumptions that she sacrificed her chance to be a mother for her acting career in her new cover story for The Hollywood Reporter.

The 52-year-old star of The Morning Show blasted people who opine about her life without knowing anything about her ‘personal’ or ‘medical’ history in the profile, which was published Wednesday.

Aniston also delved into her refusal to give in to victimhood like her late mother and lightened up a bit while gushing about her new-found love of pasta and acceptance of carbohydrates.

Setting the record straight: Jennifer Aniston, 52, fought back against critics who assume she gave up on the idea of children to further her career for the cover of The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment issue

The actress has been an in-demand star since her massively popular run on Friends in the 1990s and 2000s, but that has left her fans and critics feeling comfortable enough to make unwarranted assumptions about her private life.

Aniston admitted that ‘people certainly project onto you,’ but she said her ‘job’ was to ‘show you what I’m capable of, and you decide if you want to subscribe.’

‘I used to take it all very personally — the pregnancy rumors and the whole “Oh, she chose career over kids” assumption,’ she said.

‘It’s like, “You have no clue what’s going with me personally, medically, why I can’t … can I have kids?” They don’t know anything,’ she continued, calling the rampant speculation ‘hurtful’ and ‘just nasty.’ 

The interviewer, Lacey Rose, cued Aniston up by recalling a conversation she had with Gloria Steinem about women’s value being assessed based on whether or not they’re married and have had children.

‘She said, “I guess we’re in deep s***,”‘ Aniston recounted with a laugh, though she noted that some public figure like Dolly Parton somehow escape being defined by men or children.

Out of their depth: 'I used to take it all very personally — the pregnancy rumors and the whole “Oh, she chose career over kids” assumption,' she said, adding they have 'no clue' about her 'personally' or 'medically'

Out of their depth: ‘I used to take it all very personally — the pregnancy rumors and the whole “Oh, she chose career over kids” assumption,’ she said, adding they have ‘no clue’ about her ‘personally’ or ‘medically’

Double standard: She called the rampant speculation 'hurtful' and 'just nasty,' while pointing out how men aren't defined by marriage or children

Double standard: She called the rampant speculation ‘hurtful’ and ‘just nasty,’ while pointing out how men aren’t defined by marriage or children

‘No one’s tried to put her in a white picket fence,’ she said.

The Horrible Bosses actress pointed out the ‘double standard’ that many men benefit from.

‘Men can be married as many times as they want to, they can marry [younger] women in their 20s or 30s. Women aren’t allowed to do that,’ she said. 

Aniston also responded to Matt Damon’s contention that too much publicity can make audiences less interested in seeing an actor on the big screen.

She called it a ‘fine line to walk’ to maintain an air of ‘mystery’ while still living her life.

The pandemic had made it easier for the We’re The Millers actress to disengage, as she dealt more with ‘agoraphobia’ now.

‘I used to be like, “Let’s go to dinner,” and now I’m like, “No, let’s not. Come over, come over, come over.”’

The Emmy Award winner claimed she had only been to about five different restaurants since the start of the pandemic, and she liked to stick with those establishments because they required proof of vaccination to enter.

‘You know, someone literally called me a “liberal Vax-hole” the other day. I don’t understand the disconnect right now, being bullied for wanting people not to be sick? I mean, that’s what we’re talking about,’ she said.

Taking her own path: Aniston said her late mother Nancy Dow sat 'comfortably in victimhood' and said it was an example of 'what I'd never want to be'

Taking her own path: Aniston said her late mother Nancy Dow sat ‘comfortably in victimhood’ and said it was an example of ‘what I’d never want to be’

When she was quizzed about she avoided the kind of ‘public breakdown’ that has harmed the careers of other women entertainers like Britney Spears, Jennifer shared the painful example of her strained relationship with her mother.

She attributed her resilience to a ‘godsend of support — just so many evolved, positive people around me,’ including friends mentioned earlier like Courteney Cox, Jason Bateman and Jimmy Kimmel.

‘I also grew up watching someone [Aniston’s late mother Nancy Dow] sit comfortably in victimhood, and I didn’t like how it looked,’ she continued. ‘I knew that this person was giving me an example of what I’d never want to be, and I will never ever be that. I think it’s toxic, and it erodes your insides and your soul.’

Aniston said that instead of staying home and moping, she chose to ‘find a creative outlet and thrive, and that’s what I did,’ before joking that it was through filming her comedy The Break-Up.’

Back in 2015, Aniston previously told The Hollywood Reporter about how her actress mother had been ‘very critical’ of her because she couldn’t live up to Dow’s model looks when she was younger.

She also described how her mother — who died in 2016 — held ‘grudges’ that were ‘so petty,’ something she’s tried to ensure she doesn’t do.

Although their relationship was testy throughout the 1990s, the turmoil intensified after Dow published From Mother And Daughter To Friends: A Memoir, though they later reconciled following Aniston’s 2005 divorce from Brad Pitt.

She later struck up a relationship with actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux, and the couple married in 2015 before divorcing in 2017.

Difficult relationship: In 2015, Aniston previously told The Hollywood Reporter about how her actress mother had been 'very critical' of her looks when she was younger and held 'grudges' that were 'so petty'

Difficult relationship: In 2015, Aniston previously told The Hollywood Reporter about how her actress mother had been ‘very critical’ of her looks when she was younger and held ‘grudges’ that were ‘so petty’

Tough times: Although their relationship was testy throughout the 1990s, the turmoil intensified after Dow published From Mother And Daughter To Friends: A Memoir, though they reconciled following Aniston's 2005 divorce from Brad Pitt; Dow pictured in 2008

Tough times: Although their relationship was testy throughout the 1990s, the turmoil intensified after Dow published From Mother And Daughter To Friends: A Memoir, though they reconciled following Aniston’s 2005 divorce from Brad Pitt; Dow pictured in 2008

Elsewhere in her wide-ranging interview, Aniston admitted she was like so many other people who focused on improving their cooking in the early days of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

She admitted that she was surprised she ‘didn’t become bored immediately, which was partially due to her ‘love’ of cooking.

‘I wasn’t brilliant at it, but I found ways to make eggs every which way and I became a lover of pasta again,’ she shared, adding, ‘Carbs are not the boogeyman.’

‘Exercise and meditation and conversations,’ were also ways she kept herself busy and occupied during her time at home.

‘Like, you’d find yourself on a weekly Zoom circle where you’d get real metaphysical and woo-woo and talk about what’s it all about,’ she said.

Jennifer delved into her recent Friends reunion with the original cast, which most of them were unsure about until director Ben Winston helped put them at ease.

‘I don’t know if we were just seduced by his talent or his charm or a combination of all of it,’ she said.

Aniston said that ‘time travel is hard,’ and admitted that looking back on the ‘hardest time’ in her life on the reunion was difficult for her.

Letting loose: She admitted she became a 'lover of pasta again' after focusing on cooking in the early days of the pandemic. 'Carbs are not the boogeyman'

Letting loose: She admitted she became a ‘lover of pasta again’ after focusing on cooking in the early days of the pandemic. ‘Carbs are not the boogeyman’

The film and TV star also opined on how the focus on stars’ personal lives is no longer led by ‘the media,’ but by ‘regular people’ thanks to the advent of social media.

‘It’s almost like the media handed over the sword to any Joe Schmo sitting behind a computer screen to be a troll or whatever they call them and bully people in comment sections,’ she said. ‘And I don’t know why there’s such a cruel streak in society. I often wonder what they get off on.’

She also joked about previous speculation about her personal life: ‘Am I still having twins? Am I going to be the miracle mother at 52?’ she said, laughing.

Aniston sounded excited to be taking a break from the dramatic second season of her Apple TV+ series The Morning Show in favor of doing comedy with her longtime friend Adam Sandler on his Netflix sequel Murder Mystery 2.

She recounted having known him ‘forever’ and remembered a time he and fellow friend David Spade had set up a meeting between her and Saturday Night Live creator and producer Lorne Michaels, in which she opted not to appear on the series. 

‘”I hear women are not respected on this show,”‘ she said she told Michaels, though she later hosted SNL multiple times.

Leading men: Jennifer began dating Brad Pitt in 1998, and they married in 2000 before divorcing in 2005; pictured in 2004

Second husband: She struck up a relationship with actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux in 2011, and they were married from 2015 until their 2017 divorce; seen in 2017

Leading men: Jennifer began dating Brad Pitt in 1998, and they married in 2000 before divorcing in 2005. She struck up a relationship with actor and screenwriter Justin Theroux in 2011, and they were married from 2015 until their 2017 divorce


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