Jennifer Aniston Talked Growing Up in a Home That Was "Destabilized and Felt Unsafe"

Aniston recalled "watching adults being unkind to each other" as a kid.

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For the latest issue of Interview magazine, Sandra Bullock interviewed her close friend and cover star Jennifer Aniston—and the result is an intimate insight into Aniston's personal life. The actor spoke about her difficult childhood (her father left when she was nine, while Aniston and her mother shared a lengthy estrangement, as Elle reports), and the impact of her formative years on the person she is today.

Bullock asked Aniston, "Anyone who has the honor of being in your home and in your life doesn’t want to leave because it’s safe, it’s emotional, it’s joyous. What is it that allows you to stay buoyant and keep from getting discouraged when things don’t go the right way?"

"First of all, that was the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me," Aniston responded. "I think that it comes from growing up in a household that was destabilized and felt unsafe, watching adults being unkind to each other, and witnessing certain things about human behavior that made me think: 'I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to experience this feeling I’m having in my body right now. I don’t want anyone else that I ever come in contact with ever to feel that.'"

"So I guess I have my parents to thank," she continued. "You can either be angry or be a martyr, or you can say, 'You’ve got lemons? Let’s make lemonade.'"

Speaking to Elle in 2018 about her Netflix movie Dumplin', in which she played a pushy pageant mom, Aniston discussed her "challenging upbringing," commenting on the similarities between her on-screen character and her own mother. "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."

"My mom said those things because she really loved me. It wasn’t her trying to be a bitch or knowing she would be making some deep wounds that I would then spend a lot of money to undo. She did it because that was what she grew up with," Aniston reflected. "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."

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Emily Dixon
Morning Editor

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.