A friend for life. Ever since the early ’90s, Jennifer Aniston has been a household name. Whether she was starring in your favorite TV show or creating laughter in the latest rom-com, the actress always made a splash.
Though born in Los Angeles, Aniston moved to New York City at a young age and her father, actor John Aniston, didn’t let her watch TV. Little did he know, it became her passion. She joined the drama department at Manhattan’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and after graduating, she took on roles off-Broadway.
It wasn’t until 1994 that she landed the role of a lifetime, playing Rachel Green in Friends, an NBC sitcom about six friends living in New York City and drinking coffee. It skyrocketed Aniston to fame — and even created a hair phenomenon. The Rachel — the name of the layered cut her character rocked in the ’90s — was one that everyone wanted to have … except Aniston.
“I love [hairstylist] Chris [McMillan] and he’s the bane of my existence at the same time because he started that damn Rachel, which was not my best look,” she told Allure magazine in 2011. “How do I say this? I think it was the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen. What I really want to know is, how did that thing have legs? Let’s just say I’m not a fan of short, layered cuts on me personally, so I don’t love revisiting that particular era.”
Regardless, she couldn’t shake her iconic role, so much so that it held her back from different roles down the line.
“I could not get Rachel Green off of my back for the life of me. I could not escape ‘Rachel from Friends,’ and it’s on all the time and you’re like, ‘Stop playing that f–king show,’” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2020. “The Good Girl was the first time I got to really shed whatever the Rachel character was, and to be able to disappear into someone who wasn’t that was such a relief to me.”
She has since starred in dozens of films and series through the years. Scroll through the gallery below to see more highlights from her life.