"I'm at a Crossroads": Jennifer Aniston Charts Her Own Course

Having gracefully navigated the pitfalls of fame, Jennifer Aniston—who stars in this month's raunchy comedy Office Christmas Party—plots her next destination.

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(Image credit: Michelangelo di Battista)

Jennifer Aniston likes working from home, and once you see her home, it's not hard to guess why. Up, up, up the steep, windy roads of Los Angeles you go, through discreet, dark-green gates that open as if by magic, and into a sumptuous modernist compound that might best be described as "The Aman That Friends Built." Aniston stands waiting in the massive front doorway—tiny, tanned, and smiling. "Hi!" she says, ushering me inside along with her three boisterous dogs (Dolly, Sophie, and Clyde), who are clearly working hard not to jump up on the guest.

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(Image credit: Michelangelo di Battista)

At 47, Aniston has the wry humor of someone who finds life alternatingly fascinating and baffling. Her feet are bare; her hair is tawny, her husky-blue eyes twinkling. "Come on in," she says, guiding me through the house—a charcoal-toned hugeness of glass and air with dark wood floors and endless views out over the city. The art is big and modern, the furniture long and low, with a few well-chosen statement pieces: A Chagall here, a massive amethyst crystal there, a pair of oversize ebony hands framing the fireplace. "I get very involved with doing my houses," says Aniston, who bought the place with her then-boyfriend, Justin Theroux, in 2012, and was married to him here last year. "Luckily, I worked with an architect who didn't mind."

People tend not to mind when it comes to Jennifer Aniston. In fact, most of America can't get enough of her, even though it's been 22 years since Aniston first leaped into our living rooms as the spoiled-but-lovable Rachel Green on Friends. She is the reason people drink Smartwater and use Aveeno skin cream and Living Proof haircare products and will see this month's comedy Office Christmas Party, costarring Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn. (Think The Hangover meets Ferris Bueller's Day Off—plus drunk Santas.) "People just love her," says Aniston's best friend and producing partner, Kristin Hahn, who recently produced the indie dramas Cake and The Yellow Birds with Aniston. "It's a blessing and a curse."

Here, a few highlights from our interview, in our December issue on newsstands November 15:

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(Image credit: Michelangelo di Battista)

On why she decided to write her Huffington Post op-ed: "My marital status has been shamed; my divorce status was shamed; my lack of a mate had been shamed; my nipples have been shamed. It's like, Why are we only looking at women through this particular lens of picking us apart? Why are we listening to it? I just thought: I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human."

On what's next for her: "This is a time when I'm not completely sure what I'm doing. I'm at this sort of crossroads trying to figure out what inspires me deep in my core. What used to make me tick is not necessarily making me tick any- more ... The most challenging thing right now is trying to find what it is that makes my heart sing."

"I have worked too hard in this life and this career to be whittled down to a sad, childless human."

On her husband Justin Theroux: "Why is he the right person for me? All I know is that I feel completely seen, and adored, in no matter what state. There's no part of me that I don't feel comfortable showing, exposing. And it brings forth the best part of myself, because I care about him so much. And he's such a good person. It hurts me to think of anything hurting him."

On how she picks her acting roles: "You have to be so madly in love with it and think, I will be so upset if I don't go and play this person...Especially these days, with Justin in Melbourne. It has to be worth it."

Read the full interview and see more photographs in the December issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands November 15. And for a little behind-the-scenes action to hold you over, see more of Aniston at her cover shoot here:

Featured Music: Gia Sky - "Wasteland" (ft. Aubrey Wood)