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Jennifer Aniston's Relationship with Her Mom Left 'Deep Wounds' & Resulted in a 15-Year Estrangement

Junie Sihlangu
Apr 09, 2022
06:00 P.M.
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Jennifer Aniston had a problematic relationship with her mother, Nancy Dow, leaving her with some severe trauma. It was so toxic that Jennifer had to make a tough decision that others might not have made.


Jennifer Aniston was born as an only child to parents John Aniston and the late Nancy Dow. On December 11, 1965, her parents were married until their divorce on August 20, 1980, and Dow was John's first wife. 

Jennifer's mother was a television actress and a model, while her father is also a well-known actor who's best known for his role in the famous soap opera "Days of Our Lives." He's also starred in 1951's "Search for Tomorrow" and 2007's "Journeyman."

Jennifer Aniston at the 57th Annual ICG Publicists Awards on February 7, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California, and Nancy Aniston posing at her friend's house on December 17, 1999, in the San Fernando Valley of California. | Source: Alberto E. Rodriguez & Paul Harris/Online USA/Getty Images


John remarried on June 14, 1984, to Sherry Rooney, and together they gave Jennifer a half-brother, Alexander Aniston. On the other hand, Dow was also married twice; her first husband was pianist Jack Melick.

They were married from 1956 until their divorce in 1961. The "The Beverly Hillbillies" actress, born in New York, had one child, son John Jr., with Melick before falling in love with Jennifer's father.


Jennifer Aniston as Jeannie Bueller in the film "Ferris Bueller" on June 19, 1990. | Source: Alice S. Hall/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images


In February 2020, the "Friends" actress opened up to fellow star Sandra Bullock for Interview magazine. Jennifer pointed to her background when asked what had kept her cheerful and optimistic and not to feel discouraged when things didn't go the right.

She explained that her resilience probably came from being brought up in an unsafe and destabilized household. The star shared how she watched the adults in her life being unkind to each other and saw certain behaviors that made her realize she didn't want to replicate them.

Nancy Dow posing for an image on December 17, 1999, in the San Fernando Valley of California. | Source: Paul Harris/Online USA/Getty Images


The actress also realized she didn't want to experience the feeling she felt in her body and wanted the same for those she came in contact with. "The Morning Show" star figured she had her parents to thank for her outlook.

In December 2018, she confessed to Elle how she'd grown with a "challenging upbringing." At the age of nine, she came home to find out her father had moved out one day.

Jennifer and John Aniston at the "Picture Perfect" New York premiere on July 28, 1997. | Source: KMazur/WireImage/Getty Images


Jenniffer ended up being raised in a single-parent home by her mother and didn't see her father until a year later. Having parents who divorced when she was young made her joke that she and her friends raised each other. 

The actress's mother was a critical person and quite focused on looks and often told her daughter to take better care of herself or "put your face on." Jennifer revealed that she failed to be the model child Dow wanted. 


Jennifer Aniston posing in an unspecified photo. | Source: Kurt Krieger/Corbis/Getty Images


What eventually caused Jennifer to be estranged from her mother for 15 years was when Dove wrote a book about their relationship. The book "From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir" came out in 1999.

It led to the mother and daughter not talking to each other for years. The "Murder Mystery" star shared how her childhood background led her not to find much importance in finding a partnership or marriage.

Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt captured in a photo on June 12, 1998. | Source: Barry King/WireImage/Getty Images


Jennifer's focus was more on finding a home that would feel safe, and coming from a divorced background meant she wasn't keen on the institution of marriage. Being estranged meant when she married Brad Pitt, the star didn't invite Dow.

She also noted how watching her mother sitting comfortably "in victimhood" made her realize she didn't like how that looked. Jennifer knew Dow was giving her an example of who she never wanted to be. 


Jennifer Aniston during the Apple TV+ segment of the Winter TCA Tour on January 19, 2020, in Pasadena, California. | Source: David Livingston/Getty Images


In her Elle interview, Jennifer said her mother had written negative things about her in the book because she loved her. She revealed that Dow wouldn't have knowingly caused "deep wounds" in her that she'd have to spend monies undoing.

The "Dumplin'" star said her mother did it because it was what she grew up with. The actress felt her mother was missing the essential things while holding on, struggling with finances, and dealing with a husband who'd left.


Jennifer defended Dow, noting how being a single mother in the 1980s would've been "pretty crappy" for her too. According to reports, the actress and her mother only reconciled after she and Pitt had separated in 2005.

However, despite their estrangement, Jennifer allegedly assisted Dow financially. The pair reportedly made their reunited two weeks before Dow died in May 2016, aged 79, but before she passed, she cut Jennifer out of her will.

Jennifer Aniston at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 19, 2020, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Leon Bennett/Getty Images


According to a report, the actress was allegedly left with nothing from her parent as Dow's belongings were left to another relative. An alleged source claimed the star's mother "changed her will about a year ago."

Jennifer [Aniston] said her critics didn't know anything and the rumors were just hurtful and mean.  

John Aniston, Jennifer Aniston, and John Melick at the screening of "Picture Perfect" on July 28, 1997. | Source: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images


Dow reportedly changed it without informing anyone else about it. After her mother's death, Jennifer released a statement where she announced the sad news and revealed her parent went "peacefully" while surrounded by friends and family.

According to her daughter and John Jr., the late actress had endured "a long illness." Jennifer concluded the statement by asking that her family's privacy be respected as they mourned their loved one's death. 


Jennifer Aniston at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images


In December 2021, Jennifer opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about why she didn't have children. People have wondered why the actress didn't have any offspring for many years even though she'd gotten married before.

The star was married twice before both marriages ended in divorces that played out in the media. She explained how she used to take it personally when pregnancy rumors involving her went around.


Jennifer revealed how one of the rumors or assumptions she heard or read about was that she chose to have a career instead of children. She said people didn't even know what was happening to her in her personal life.

The actress noted that they never considered that maybe she couldn't even have children for medical reasons. Jennifer said her critics didn't know anything, and the rumors were just hurtful and mean.