Jen finally tells all
How therapy saved me
When Jennifer Aniston came across the script for her new movie Dumplin’, she knew she needed to play the part of Rosie, a former Texas beauty queen navigating a very complicated relationship with her daughter.
“It really resonated,” the actress confesses. “It was about this little girl wanting to be seen and wanting to be loved, and a mom who was too occupied with the things that didn’t quite matter because she didn’t know any better.”
It’s a mother-daughter dynamic Jennifer knows far too well. For much of her life, the 49-year-old had an extremely complex and difficult relationship with her own mum, former actress and model Nancy Dow.
“She was very critical of me,” Jennifer recalls of Nancy, who died at age 79 in 2016, after a long illness and a series of strokes. “Because she was a model, she was
gorgeous – stunning! I wasn’t. I never was. She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty.”
The former Friends star struggled to heal from the scars left by the tortured relationship and by her mother’s passing. But she was able to do it, she reveals, with the help of a counsellor.
“It takes a lot of therapy, but you do absolutely get over it,” Jennifer asserts, adding that she realised her mum’s hypercritical behaviour “was her projection – it had nothing to do with me”.
And these days, a source close the actress tells, “Jen’s moved on from it all. She’s doing great.”
Not long after her mum’s death, the star suffered more heartbreak. Her two-year marriage to actor Justin Theroux, 47, ended in February. This was followed by months of speculation about the break-up, with her past romantic choices under intense scrutiny.
But Jennifer insists she wasn’t crushed by the split and that she’s content with her life, despite constant speculation she’s desperate to be a mum. “There is a pressure on women to be mothers and if they’re not, then they’re deemed damaged goods,” the HorribleBosses star says. “Maybe my purpose on this planet isn’t to procreate. Maybe I have other things I’m supposed to do.”
Jennifer may not have kids of her own, but co-star Danielle Macdonald, 27, says she was overwhelmed by the A-lister’s maternal nature on the set of Dumplin’, which comes to Netflix this Friday.
“She’s just really warm – I instantly felt comfortable with her,” Danielle tells us, calling her onscreen mum “genuine” and “cool.” She adds, “Jen and I spoke about her past experiences and her experiences growing up. The connection between us was really effortless.”
While it hasn’t always been easy, Jennifer is happy with her life today.
“It’s awesome,” she says. “Growing up, I dreamed of being an actress. It doesn’t happen often, finding true
success. But I’m at this place in my life that I still get to do this and that’s really awesome.”
And those close to the star insist that’s not just talk. “She’s doing her thing exactly the way she wants to do it and really enjoying life,” explains our source. “Jen is very comfortable with where she is and believes that whatever her path is, it will present itself the way it should. She’s all about taking care of herself.”
Jen channelled her troubled relationship with her own mother (right) to play Danielle’s mum in Dumplin’ (above).
Jen’s best advice to moving forward after heartbreak is to look after yourself. And this little dumplin’ is doing just great!