Jen fi­nally tells all

How ther­apy saved me

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Woman’s Day This Week -

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!

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