Jennifer Aniston reveals how witnessing her parents' divorce in childhood left lasting impacts for her current relationships

“It was almost easier to just be kind of solo”

Jennifer Aniston
(Image credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

Jennifer Aniston has shared that witnessing her parents' divorce during her childhood has left a lasting impact on her current relationships.

Currently in the spotlight for her brilliant work on AppleTV+'s The Morning Show, season 3 of which is soon to be released, and her hilarious portrayal of Audrey Spitz in Murder Mystery 2, which was filmed in the stunning scenery of Hawaii and France and left many fans needing the movie's ending explained, Jennifer Aniston has now opened up and revealed some candid insight into her childhood and the lasting impact her parents' divorce has had on her. 

Speaking to WSJ. Magazine, the actress revealed that witnessing her parents’ failed marriage still affects her own relationships. She said, "It was always a little bit difficult for me in relationships, I think, because I really was kind of alone. My parents, watching my family’s relationship, didn’t make me kind of go, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to do that’.”

Anniston's father, the Greek-born American actor John Anthony Aniston, left her mother, Nancy, when she was just 10-years-old, leaving the actress estranged from her father for several years before they reconnected. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she recounted, "I went to a birthday party, and when I came back, my mother said, 'Your father's not going to be around here for a little while.'

"She didn't say he was gone forever. I don't know if I blocked it, but I just remember sitting there, crying, not understanding that he was gone. I don't know what I did later that night or the next day. I don't remember anything other than it being odd that all of a sudden my father wasn't there. And he was gone for a while, about a year."

jennifer aniston with feathered and layered hair

(Image credit: getty images)

The ordeal, Anniston shares, has left her unsure of how to navigate relationships. She told WSJ., “I didn’t like the idea of sacrificing who you were or what you needed, so I didn’t really know how to do that. So it was almost easier to just be kind of solo. So I didn’t have any real training in that give-and-take.

“It’s just about not being afraid to say what you need and what you want. And it’s still a challenge for me in a relationship."

The candid admission, as heartbreaking as it is, came as no surprise for fans of Anniston as she has previously opened up about the difficulties she faced in childhood and the impact they've left on her life. 

Speaking to her friend Sandra Bullock for Interview Magazine, she described her childhood, saying it was “destabilised and felt unsafe,” leaving her forced to make peace with the fact that she could not change it. “I guess I have my parents to thank,” she said. “You can either be angry or be a martyr, or you can say, ‘You’ve got lemons? Let’s make lemonade.’” 

But while her childhood may have impacted the way Anniston views her relationships, she has still been incredibly 'successful' in love. She told Elle Magazine, "My marriages, they’ve been very successful, in [my] personal opinion. And when they came to an end, it was a choice that was made because we chose to be happy, and sometimes happiness doesn’t exist within that arrangement anymore. 

"Sure, there were bumps, and not every moment felt fantastic, obviously, but at the end of it, this is our one life, and I would not stay in a situation out of fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being able to survive. To stay in a marriage based on fear feels like you’re doing your one life a disservice.”

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.