The actress, 54, opened up about her childhood during a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal while appearing on the cover of its September issue. She confessed that, after she saw the dynamic of her parents, John Aniston and Nancy Dow - who divorced in 1980 - it hasn’t been easy for her to get into a relationship herself.
“It was always a little bit difficult for me in relationships, I think, because I really was kind of alone. I don’t know,” she said. “My parents, watching my family’s relationship, didn’t make me kind of go: ‘Oh, I can’t wait to do that.’”
Aniston added that she didn’t want to make changes to herself for the sake of her partner, which has made it “easier” for her to stay single.
“I didn’t like the idea of sacrificing who you were or what you needed, so I didn’t really know how to do that,” she continued. “So it was almost easier to just be kind of solo. So I didn’t have any real training in that give-and-take.”
The Friends star continued to acknowledge that, as she’s focused on her career and own desires, it can also make it difficult for her to enter a relationship.
“It’s just about not being afraid to say what you need and what you want. And it’s still a challenge for me in a relationship,” she said. “I’m really good at every other job I have, and that’s sort of the one area that’s a little…”
This isn’t the first time that Aniston has opened up about how she’s been impacted by her parents’ divorce. During an interview with Allure in November 2022, she spoke candidly about her estranged relationship with Dow, who died in 2016, and said that her mother’s divorce “really screwed her up”. She also recalled that when she was a child, she wasn’t necessarily open about her parents’ divorce.
“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,” she said.
She also acknowledged how her parents’ dynamic went on to encourage her to leave home, explaining: “My house was not a fun house to live in. I was thrilled to get out.”
However, according to Aniston, she went on to forgive her mother, father, and family, since she realised it was “toxic to have that resentment” and “anger” towards them.
“I learned that by watching my mom never let go of it. I remember saying: ‘Thank you for showing me what never to be,’” Aniston said. “So that’s what I mean about taking the darker things that happen in our lives, the not-so-happy moments, and trying to find places to honour them because of what they have given to us.”
Regarding her own relationships, Aniston married Brad Pitt in 2000, before the beloved Hollywood couple split in 2005. She married Justin Theroux in 2015, and got divorced in 2018. Although her two marriages didn’t last, Aniston has been very open about how she still views both of them as “very successful”.
“And when they came to an end, it was a choice that was made because we chose to be happy, and sometimes happiness doesn’t exist within that arrangement anymore,” The Morning Show star said during a 2019 interview with Elle.
She continued: “Sure, there were bumps, and not every moment felt fantastic, obviously, but at the end of it, this is our one life and I would not stay in a situation out of fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being able to survive. To stay in a marriage based on fear feels like you’re doing your one life a disservice