At the weekend she celebrated her 54th birthday.
And as her celebrations drew to a close, Jennifer Aniston reflected on “the two people who made her” by sharing a rare vintage photo with her parents.
The actress shared the throwback to her Instagram page, where a young Jennifer posed between her late mother and father, John and Nancy.
Jennifer and her rarely seen half-brother, John Melick, announced the death of their mother, Nancy Dow, in a statement on May 25, 2016.
The Friends star was estranged from her mother for years, and the couple reunited just two weeks before Dow’s death in May at the age of 79.
Throwback: Jennifer Aniston reflected on ‘the two people who made her’ by sharing a rare vintage photo with her parents (pictured John Aniston and Nancy Dow)
Meanwhile, Jennifer announced in December that her father had passed away at the age of 89.
Jen and her father also went through a notoriously difficult relationship, but they reconciled before his death, having previously called him every day during the coronavirus pandemic.
Alongside the picture, Jennifer wrote: “Thinking of these two people who made me as I bask in the afterglow of a beautiful birthday.
Thank you ALL for my beautiful birthday wishes. I have felt sooooo much love from so many and ALL of it will carry me through this wild and beautifully unknown year that lies ahead. I love you!’
She received many messages from celebrity friends and fans wishing her well on this milestone, including supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Meanwhile, comedian Chelsea Handler said: “Happy birthday you beautiful tush!! I am glad you are surrounded by such love.’
Model Helena Chirstensen wrote: “Wow that shot. I hope you had a wonderful day you gorgeous girl.”
And actress Rita Wilson wrote: “Such a touching photo…”
Alongside the picture, Jennifer wrote, “Thinking of these two people who made me as I bask in the afterglow of a beautiful birthday.”
Reaction: She received many messages from celebrity friends and fans wishing her well on this milestone, including supermodel Naomi Campbell
Reese Witherspoon shared a tribute to Jennifer on her own page, saying: “Happy Birthday! What a gift to come to work every day with my big sister on @morningshow.
“You always give the best advice and ENDLESS love and support. I [heart] You Jens! Everyone wishes her a happy birthday.’
Meanwhile, chat show host Jimmy Kimmel shared a montage of similar snaps, saying: “Happy Birthday to my friend from Friends. We do this one picture very well.’
Supportive pals: Reese Witherspoon paid tribute to Jennifer on her own page, saying: ‘Happy Birthday! What a gift to come to work every day with my big sister at @morningshow.
My friend of Friends! Meanwhile, chat show host Jimmy Kimmel shared a montage of similar snaps, saying: “Happy Birthday to my friend from Friends. We take this one picture very well
Jennifer’s father John was best known for his role in Days Of Our Lives. His first role on the show was in 1969 as Dr. Eric Richards, but he left the show after a year.
He returned to the soap opera as Victor Kiriakis beginning in July 1985 and played the character for more than three decades.
The role earned him a 2017 Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and a 2022 Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award
Tribute: Jennifer announced in December that her father passed away at the age of 89
John shared Jennifer with his ex-wife Nancy.
After 11 years of marriage, he left Nancy in 1979 when Jennifer was ten years old.
Jennifer opened up about the incident in an interview with Rolling Stone in 1999, saying it was the “most painful” time of her life before she reconciled with her father.
She said: “My mother told me. I went to a birthday party and when I came back she said, “Your father won’t be here for a while.”
Childhood photo: Jen and her father also went through a notoriously difficult relationship, but they reconciled before his death, having previously called him every day during the coronavirus pandemic
“She didn’t say he was gone forever. I don’t know if I blocked it, but I remember sitting there crying and not understanding that he was gone.
“I don’t know what I did later that night or the next day. All I remember is that it was strange that my father suddenly wasn’t there anymore. And he was gone for a while. About a year.’
Revealing that she hadn’t heard from him once in that time, she explained, “He just called up one day and said, ‘Let’s see The Fantastickes.’
“So we had a little dinner and watched the show. After that I started seeing him on the weekends and this new way of life just unfolded.”
Jennifer said she really wanted to please him so he wouldn’t leave her again and she asked him why he left.
Looking back: Jennifer has spoken out about the difficult relationship she had with her parents, including her mother Nancy Dow (right), but says she has forgiven them both
“Like I said, he’s not a good communicator. Maybe if my parents talked more. There were signs, but knowing my father, he probably didn’t say anything.
“But as best he could my father explained and apologized and that’s enough. We have made up. There are still parts that I find difficult, but I’m an adult. I can’t blame my parents anymore.’
She described her father as “tall, six feet two inches; a gentle giant, really. One of the nicest men you will ever meet. Incredibly shy and funny.’
In 2020, The Mail on Sunday reported that Jennifer has reconciled with her father and called him every day during the pandemic.
A source said: “Jen forgave her father for leaving a long time ago. But their relationship had its ups and downs.
“Jennifer hasn’t spoken to him in ages. But since the Corona crisis, she has been on the phone almost every day. And not just short conversations.’
Chip off the old block: John was an actor best known for his role as Victor Kiriakis on Days of Our Lives, which he began playing in July 1985
The insider added, “It’s like she’s realized life is very short and she wants her relationship with John to be the best it can be. He’s thrilled they’ve made up.”
In her tribute, Jennifer wrote, “Sweet papa… John Anthony Aniston. You were one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known.
“I am so grateful that you ascended to heaven in peace – and without pain. And on 11.11. not less!
“You always had perfect timing. This number will mean even more to me now forever. I will love you until the end of time.’
She added: “Don’t forget to visit.”
Open: Her father’s death comes after Jennifer opened up about the pain of her parents’ divorce and the forgiveness of both her mother and father later in life
John also had a son, Alexander, with his second wife, Sherry Rooney, whom he met while starring in Love of Life.
In an interview a few years ago, John was asked how he would like to be remembered.
After thinking about it for a moment, he simply replied, “He was a good actor.”
Her father’s death comes after Jennifer spoke about the pain of her parents’ divorce and forgiving her mother and father later in life.
Speaking to Allure last week, she said, “I think my mother’s divorce really screwed her up.”
But after years of reflection, she is now able to see some of the limitations that someone of her mother’s generation had to go through.
“In this generation, it wasn’t, ‘Go to therapy, talk to someone. Why don’t you start microdosing?’ You go through life picking up your child with tears on your face and you have no help,” she added in an apparent reference to her mother’s situation.
“I have forgiven my mother. I have forgiven my father. I have forgiven my family,” Jennifer revealed, which is a big deal considering she was estranged from her mother for years.
Now that she’s reaped the benefits of forgiveness, the Morning Show star said she now knows for herself how “important” it is to let go of hurtful moments entangled in resentment.
She said: “It’s toxic to have that resentment, that anger. I learned this by watching my mom never let it go.
“I remember saying, ‘Thank you for showing me what will never be.’ “So that’s what I mean by taking the darker things that happen in our lives, the not-so-happy moments, and trying to find places where they’re honored for what they’ve given us become.”