Once known for having the most requested copycat haircut in history, Jennifer Aniston has accrued A-list status in the past decade as Brad Pitt's ex-wife and of course, the much-loved Rachel in 'Friends'. Always emerging to face the world with a smile on her face, this canny actress's star will be at the forefront of the Hollywood Walk of Fame for many years to come.
Jennifer Joanna Aniston was born on 11 February 1969 in LA. Her Greek-born father, John (real name Yannis Anastassakis), had been brought to the US when he was 10 and was an actor, starring in TV series such as 'Combat!' and 'I Spy', and her mother, Nancy, was also an actress.
When John's stint in NBC's longest running soap 'Days of our Lives' ended in 1970, so did his steady income and so, when Aniston was five, he uprooted the family back to his home city, Athens, in order to retrain for a medical profession. The Anistons remained in Greece for a year until a call from his agent saw John returning to New York with the family to take a three-year part in 'Love of Life'.
But this re-ignited success coincided with Aniston's parents divorcing in 1978, when she was nine. In a bid to reunite them, she started to play up at school – the famous Rudolf Steiner school known for its strict policies, in a hope that her parents would be forced together when called to the principal's office! Despite lacking in drive when it came to her education, Aniston revelled in her time spent at the drama club and after catching an episode of 'Fame' on TV, she knew where her career destiny lay, going on to enroll at the 'real life' Fame, the New York High School of Performing Arts.
Graduating in 1987, Aniston decided against going to college and began working as a waitress in Hollywood while auditioning for roles. Her first television part came in 1990 in the comedy series 'Molloy' and next she took a longer-stint in the widely panned adaptation of the hit film, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'. Luck wasn't on her side after she won several roles in what transpired to be a succession of cancelled programmes and for a while she considered giving up acting altogether.
But fate would save her when she successfully auditioned for a new comedy series called 'Friends Like These'. Originally asked to play the character Monica Geller, she convinced the producers that she'd be better suited instead for the part of Rachel Green. The audition was a success and in 1994 the first episode of the shortened-title, 'Friends' aired. The rest is history as they say and Aniston would play the part of Rachel for the next ten years, propelling her name to A-list stardom and losing a stone and a half in weight in the process.
Like her fellow cast members, Aniston wanted to use her free time to progress her film career but initially it seemed she never quite picked the right project to propel her beyond her recognition as Rachel. 'She's The One' (1996) was followed by 'Picture Perfect' (1997) but although they were both entertaining in a 'DVD night-in' kind of way, both came and went without critics even batting an eyelid.
But meanwhile her love life looked to be hotting up. After spending two years living with the actor Tate Donovan, they split it 1998 and her agent thought it would be a good move to set her up on a blind date – who transpired to be Brad Pitt. Just two years later, the couple married in a $1 million ceremony in Malibu where Aniston reportedly vowed to make Pitt's favourite banana split and Pitt promised to find a balance on the thermostat.
But the end of their marriage would be sealed when Pitt began shooting the film 'Mr and Mrs Smith' in 2005 with renowned bad girl, Angelina Jolie. Despite being papped holidaying in the Caribbean with 'Friends' pal Courtney Cox and her husband David Arquette in January 2005, just a few days later Aniston announced her separation from Pitt.
In October, their divorce was finalised and media speculation was rife as to the reason why Hollywood's hottest couple had decided to go their separate ways. Some headlines claimed that Aniston's refusal to have children had created a divide between them but she fiercely denied this. And by 2006, Jolie had come clean that she and Pitt had fallen in love on the set of 'Mr & Mrs Smith' and despite denying pursuing him as he was "married to his best friend", the pair went public on their relationship not long after his divorce and have remained together ever since, their brood extending to six children (three adopted) at last count.
Despite being so publicly torn from her relationship, Aniston refused to hide away and wallow in self-pity. Her career had seen a hiatus since her starring turn in 2002's low-budget flick 'The Good Girl', which was a surprise hit - taking $14 million at the box office and showing off her talents as a 'serious' actress. She'd also won her first Emmy (after two previous nominations on the trot) in 2002 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and earned critical acclaim in 'Bruce Almighty' alongside Jim Carey (2003). Not only that, but after starting out on a healthy $35,000 per episode for the first series of 'Friends', her pay cheque for the final season in 2004 rocketed to a grand $1 million.
Pitt may have got the girl, take two, but Aniston has earned even more fans through her steadfast resolve not to play the bitter ex-wife. Her career has gone from strength to strength – a turn in 2006's 'The Break Up' led to huge box office success and even a brief romance with co-star Vince Vaughn, who Aniston described as bringing her "back to life" after her divorce.
She followed this up with an equally successful appearance in 'Marley & Me' in 2008, which was a commercial hit, grossing over $242 million from a budget of just $10 million. Furthermore, the movie co-starring Owen Wilson also set the largest Christmas Day box office ever after achieving $14.75 million in ticket sales.
Buoyed by the success of the film, Aniston went on to star, alongside an ensemble cast including Ben Affleck, Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson, in 2009 romantic comedy 'He's Just Not That Into You', another commercial hit. The same year also saw her appear in 'Love Happens' with Aaron Eckhart, and 'Management', her first effort as Executive Producer.
In 2010, Aniston teamed up with Scottish actor Gerald Butler for 'The Bounty Hunter', which despite receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews, did well at the box office. 'The Switch', which she produced, was her next effort and the movie received mixed reviews from critics. She has been busy in recent times and appeared in 'Just Go with It', 'Wanderlust' and 'Horrible Bosses' in 2011.
Since then, she has acted in an episode of 'Burning Love' in 2012. Next year, she will feature in 'We're the Millers' as well as 'Miss You Already'. Aniston is also expected to appear in a as yet unnamed film by Elmore Leonard.
In an interview with Justin Theroux, Jennifer's co-star in 'Wanderlust', the actor raved about appearing alongside the 42-year-old.
He described the experience of working with the award-winning actress as "amazing" and described her as "fantastic, the classiest lady I know". Theroux went on to explain that Jennifer would make him blueberry smoothies packed with antioxidants when he caught a cold on set, and would give him Chinese herbal medicines if he was "feeling low".
After appearing in 'Wanderlust' together Aniston and Theroux started dating. They had been close friends for years but only took their relationship to the next level after this film. They have been virtually inseparable ever since and are now set to tie the knot. It was reported on 13 August 2012 that Theroux proposed to the actress on Friday 10 August while they were out celebrating his birthday.
A spokesperson for Theroux told People: "Justin Theroux had an amazing birthday on Friday, receiving an extraordinary gift when his girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston, accepted his proposal of marriage." Hopefully this will put paid to the rumours that the actress has not been able to get over Pitt.
Jennifer is almost as well known for her looks, not to mention that Rachel haircut, as she is for her work as an actress, and a recent interview with her fitness trainer in Glamour magazine revealed some of the star's body secrets.
Mandy Ingber, Aniston's trainer, explained that she does "flow yoga" with the actress, which "involves moving frequently and holding various poses". She explained that this is then interspersed with toning exercises, such as leg lifts, squats and lunges.
Aniston said of herself that she has been accused of being both too thin and too heavy at various points in her career, so her philosophy is to "stop trying to please everyone".
One of the richest women in the entertainment industry, according to Forbes, Aniston has not only won a Golden Globe, but also picked up 22 other gongs and 44 award nominations over the course of her career. Her resilience and determination have proven that she will always remain one step ahead – whatever the world throws at her and she is arguably one of the most respected and highest earning actresses in Hollywood. Add to that her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she was awarded on 22 February 2012, Aniston is one of the top actresses in the industry.