Who Are Jennifer Aniston's Famous Parents?

There's no doubt that Jennifer Aniston has had good luck in Hollywood. For years, she's graced us with her magnetic on-screen presence in prominent television shows and movies. She played the hilarious and spirited Rachel Green in the hit NBC show "Friends," where we fell in love with the character's iconic '90s looks and evolution from spoiled rich girl to independent career woman.

Rachel Green entered the sitcom as a daddy's girl who wasn't exactly an expert on adulting. But after some trials and tribulations, she had to quickly adjust to the real world of working for that paycheck and navigating tricky relationships. What about Jennifer? Has any part of her life emulated the fictional New York City fashionista's? Is she a tried-and-true daddy's girl?

Life isn't a sitcom, and that certainly rings true when visiting Jennifer's backstory. With parents in the entertainment industry, one can instantly jump to conclusions about celebrity privilege. But it's not always easy being in a star-studded family, and the actor has certainly had her share of emotional ups and downs. Let's take a deeper look at Jennifer Aniston's multifaceted relationships with her famous parents John Aniston and Nancy Dow.

Jennifer Aniston paid tribute to her soap opera star dad

For Jennifer Aniston, acting runs in her blood. Her father is John Aniston, who starred as villain Victor Kiriakis in the soap opera "Days of Our Lives" since 1985, and was nominated for an Emmy in 2017. In 2022, he became the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys. In June, Jennifer honored her father, per Entertainment Weekly. Her comments were effusive, to say the least. She remarked, "It's an opportunity to not only pay tribute to a true icon in the entertainment world, but it's also a chance to recognize the lifelong achievements of a great and well-respected actor, who also happens to be my dad." 

There's plenty of evidence pointing to the father and daughter's admiration for one another. In 2013, Jennifer went on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" show to participate in a dramatic soap opera skit, where she dressed up as a French maid. Then, an older man walked through the door, and it was none other than Jennifer's dad John. She excitedly yelled, "Daddy!" and gave him a hug in a celebratory moment of art imitates life.

Despite their strong bond, there have been past challenges between the two. At age 9, her parents divorced, and Jennifer didn't have much contact with her dad. While there's sparse public information on the details, it's safe to say that period is over and the real-life Rachel Green is a fan.

Jennifer Aniston's relationship with her mother is more complicated

What's the deal with Jennifer Aniston's mother, Nancy Dow? For starters, she was a model and had a small number of acting credits, appearing in '60s TV shows like "The Wild Wild West." Dow's other claim to fame was a memoir she wrote called "From Mother and Daughter to Friends." This is where the drama takes off. This book, along with statements made to the press in 1996, caused a betrayal for Jennifer, per Rolling Stone. Before Dow's death in 2016, the two were estranged for years, which included no invite to Jennifer's 2000 wedding to Brad Pitt.

For this mother and daughter duo, there were past wounds, which Jennifer opened up about in a 2018 interview with Elle. She talked about her mother's fixation on looks, saying, "She was from this world of 'Honey, take better care of yourself,' or 'Honey, put your face on," or all of those odd sound bites that I can remember from my childhood." Even with her mother's criticisms, Jennifer was quick to defend her. She explained, "My mom said those things because she really loved me ... She did it because that was what she grew up with ... I think she was just holding on and doing the best she could, struggling financially and dealing with a husband who was no longer there."

Despite their strained relationship, it sounds like Jennifer has tried to empathize with her mother's differences.