Jennifer Aniston: My “First Love” Died, “Would Have Been The One”
Jennifer Aniston refers to the tragic death of her “first love” in a revealing New York Times interview in which she talks about trying to shed the legacy of “Friends” and the problems facing women in Hollywood.
After mentioning her relationship with fiancé Justin Theroux, the actress draws a line between her beau and a boyfriend she never appreciated, who later died of a brain tumor. “He was my first love — five years we were together,” says Aniston. “He would have been the one. But I was 25, and I was stupid. He must have sent me Justin to make up for it all.”
Referring to the engagement ring Theroux gave her, Aniston observes, “It’s a rock, I know. He rocked it up. It took me a while to get used to it. I’m not a diamond girl. I’m more Indian jewelry and stuff.”
The star’s performance in the independent film Cake is winning raves and earning her Oscar buzz, and Aniston tells the outlet she sees the moment as her best chance “take away the cloak of Rachel,” her iconic character on “Friends.” Aniston laments, “You have to do something really dark to be taken seriously, I guess.”
That said, she understands why people have such a hard time separating her from the sitcom role that has defined her since the 1990s. “If you’re in someone’s living room every week for 10 years and every day on God knows what network, people are going to have a hard time saying, ‘O.K., we’re going to see you do what now?’ without making associations,” says Aniston.
She continues, “It’s a Catch-22. It’s like: ‘I know I can play this part, you just have to let me.’ And then it’s ‘I can’t let you play that part, because I’ve never seen you do it.’ There were jobs that I really wanted and would fight and fight for and then the obvious previous Oscar winners would get them.”
Aniston is sick and tired of the media’s obsession with putting her in headlines with ex-husband Brad Pitt and his new wife Angelina Jolie. “It’s ridiculous — that the two names have to go into the same sentence and there has to be a compare-and-despair thing,” says the actress. She’s also unwilling to talk about the recent Sony hacking saga, and Jolie’s involvement: “I don’t want to give any fuel to the fire.”
Beyond her frustration with how people focus on whether her Cake character is likable, Aniston is annoyed with how Hollywood’s women are scrutinized in a way men never are. She explains, “You don’t see a lot of men getting asked: ‘Why aren’t you married? Why aren’t you having children?’ You don’t get the ‘Well, they seem to play the same thing over and over again,’ and some of them do… We’re very much a sexist society.”
As for tabloid culture and its treatment of stars, Aniston remarks, “I really do think you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You either are too fat — ‘Oh my God, she’s gained weight, getting chubby, mid-40s spread!’ — or ‘She’s so skeletal, get some meat on her bones!’ I’ve been on too-thin lists. I’ve been on what-happened-to-her lists.” Hopefully, Cake gives people a reason to talk about more than just her physical appearance. What do you think about what Aniston says?