Jennifer Joanne Aniston was born Jennifer Anastassakis on Feb. 11, 1969, in Sherman Oaks, Calif.
She was born to actor John Aniston (originally Ioannis Anastasakis) and his then-wife Nancy Dow. Her father was of Greek descent, and her mother was Scottish and Italian. The couple separated when Aniston was 9 years old.
Aniston has two half-brothers, John Melick, who’s older, and Alex Aniston, who’s younger. Her godfather is the late actor Telly Savalas, who was her father’s best friend. The family spent some time living in Greece when Aniston was a child.
Aniston's father appeared in the soap operas "Love of Life" and "Search for Tomorrow," which were filmed in New York, so she spent much of her childhood in Manhattan. Later, they moved to Los Angeles, where her father starred in the soap opera, "Days of Our Lives."
Aniston attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts and became a member of the drama club. One of her friends at school was Cher’s daughter, Chastity Bono.
After high school, Aniston began to work on off-Broadway shows such as "For Dear Life" and "Dancing on Checker’s Grave." She supported herself through working as a telemarketer and a bike messenger.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Aniston was a Nutri-System girl for the Howard Stern radio show. She soon moved to Hollywood and won her first television roles, including on the series "Molloy" and "Camp Cucamonga." She was also a co-star on the television show "Ferris Bueller," an adaptation of the movie, "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off."
Next she was in two more failed sitcoms, including "The Edge" and "Muddling Through." She guest-starred on shows such as "Quantum Leap," "Herman’s Head" and "Burke’s Law." She was then featured in the movie "Leprechaun."
After all these failed shows, Aniston considered giving up acting, but then came the audition for "Friends," a new NBC sitcom for fall 1994-1995. Originally the producers wanted her to audition for the role of Monica Gellar, but she convinced them she was better for the role of Rachel Green. She won the role and remained on the cast for the duration of the series, from 1994-2004.
The show became a phenomenon, and made Aniston and the rest of the cast into superstars. Aniston's haircut at the time even became known as "The Rachel," and was widely copied.
For the last three seasons of the show, Aniston received a salary of $1 million per episode. She also garnered three Emmy nominations, and one win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a series.
Aniston has also starred in various smaller feature films, including the cult hit "Office Space," "Picture Perfect" and "The Good Girl." In 2003, Aniston starred opposite Jim Carrey in "Bruce Almighty," which was a hit at the box office, grossing $243 million. Her next film, "Along Came Polly" with Ben Stiller, also did well in 2004.
In 2005, Aniston starred in two films, "Rumor Has It" and "Derailed," both of which grossed about $30 million at the box office.
In 2006, Aniston starred in the low-budget film "Friends With Money" with several other well-known actors, including Frances McDormand and Joan Cusack. Aniston's latest movie, "The Break-Up" with then-rumored boyfriend Vince Vaughn, hit theaters in June 2006.
In her younger years, Jen dated actor Tate Donovan and Adam Duritz of the rock group Counting Crows. She married actor Brad Pitt in Malibu on July 29, 2000.
The two separated in January 2005, and Jen filed for divorce later that year. There was no official statement about what caused the breakup, but speculation was that Brad had an affair with actress Angelina Jolie, with whom he co-starred in the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."
Jolie and Pitt denied this rumor, but began publicly dating soon after the movie came out. Pitt has since adopted two of Jolie's children, and Jolie gave birth to Pitt's biological child in May 2006. They now have a fourth child, son Pax Thien, who was adopted from Vietnam.
Stargazers speculated that the Pitt-Aniston split came about because Aniston was uninterested in having children, a claim she denies.
Though Aniston's relationship with her "Break-Up" co-star Vince Vaughn had been rumored for months, the two were in a full-fledged relationship by October 2005. The couple split in December 2006 after having battled both breakup and marriage rumors over the course of their year-long relationship.
Aniston has since been linked to several men, including 36-year-old British model Paul Sculfor.
2006 "The Break-Up" — Brooke
2007 "Friends with Money" — Olivia
2005 "Rumor Has It" — Sarah Huttinger
2005 "Derailed" — Lucinda Harris
2004 "Along Came Polly" — Polly Prince
2003 "Bruce Almighty" — Grace Connelly
2002 "The Good Girl" — Justine Last
2001 "Rock Star" — Emily Poule
1999 "The Iron Giant" — Annie Hughes (voice only)
1999 "Office Space" — Joanna
1998 "The Object of My Affection" — Nina Borowski
1997 "Picture Perfect" — Kate Mosely
1997 "'Til There was You" — Debbie
1996 "She's the One" — Renee Fitzpatrick
1996 "Dream for an Insomniac" — Allison
1993 "Leprechaun" — Tory Reding
1994-2004 "Friends" — Rachel Green