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Jennifer Aniston: Much more than Brad Pitt's ex-wife

Actress Jennifer Aniston has the look of an innocent and sweet girl-next-door, but underneath that demure exterior is a strong woman who always appears to keep it together as she rises above the trials and disappointments in her life. She is best known for her role as Rachel Green on the sitcom 'Friends,' where she played a spoiled little rich girl. Her second claim to fame is her real-life role as the betrayed wife of actor Brad Pitt.

Actress Jennifer Aniston signs bottles of "Jennifer Aniston"
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Jennifer Joanna Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, on February 11, 1969, to parents who were both in show business. Her father, is the handsome Greek actor Yannis Anastassakis , otherwise known as John Aniston. He was revered in the daytime soap 'Days of our Lives' in the long-standing role of Victor Kiriakis. Her mother, Nancy Dow, was a television and movie actress. Her parents divorced when Aniston was just nine years old, and went on to marry others. Aniston's two half-brothers, John T. Melick and Alexander Aniston, are rarely in the public eye, and most star watchers have never heard about them.

Aniston graduated in 1987, from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, in New York. Following her schooling, she dabbled in off-Broadway shows, until her West coast move to Los Angeles in 1989. Most people don't realize that Aniston had a short-lived role as Courtney on the sitcom 'Molloy,' and a 20-episode run on the FOX comedy 'The Edge' and a bit shorter role on the television sitcom Ferris Bueller. In 1994, she made it big with the long-running ten-year-hit, 'Friends,' where she also became fast friends with fellow actress Courteney Cox. The role of Rachel Green earned her a 2003 Golden Globe, a 2002 Primetime Emmy Award and a 1996 Screen Actors Guild Award.

In 2000, Aniston continued her lucky streak, when after a two-and-a-half-year courtship, she married the sweet, sensitive, leading-man Brad Pitt. Less than five years later, rumors surfaced that Pitt was having an affair with his onscreen love, Angelina Jolie. The marriage fell apart and Aniston slowly recovered and moved on to date a string of men such as 'The Break-up,' actor Vince Vaughn, model Paul Sculfor and musician John Mayer. The divorce was instrumental in repairing Aniston's ten-year-long feud with her mother, a rift that occurred after her mother divulged unflattering personal information about Aniston, while on a talk show.

The cheerful coffee-shop waitress from 'Friends' moved on to a big-screen career as primarily a rom-com actress, but she still emerges periodically on the small screen with guest spots on such shows as the creepy psycho-drama 'Dirt,' '30 Rock' and 'Cougar Town.'

In 2010, Aniston teamed up with Justin Bateman in 'The Switch,' and is slated to appear with him once again in 'Horrible Bosses' in July 2011, along with the star-studded cast of Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey. Look for her also to appear in the October 2011 release of 'Wanderlust,' with Paul Rudd, Alan Alda and Malin Akerman.


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