She needed years of therapy to cope with the abandonment issues she suffered after her father walked out on her as a child. But now Friends star Jennifer Aniston has reconciled with her dad John because of the coronavirus pandemic. A source close to the 86-year-old, who is a veteran US soap star, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Jen forgave her father for walking out a long time ago. But their relationship has had its ups and downs.
‘Jennifer didn’t speak to him for ages. But since the coronavirus crisis she has been on the phone almost every day. And not just brief conversations. It’s like she has realised life is very short and she wants her relationship with John to be the best it can be. He’s thrilled that they have reconciled.’ The rapprochement is particularly welcome as Jennifer – who is about to earn £2million from a Friends reunion – also had a strained relationship with her mother, Nancy, refusing to speak to her for 15 years after she published a tell-all book.
Greek-born John walked out on Nancy, a model, in November 1979, after 11 years of marriage. At the time their daughter was ten. Jennifer, now 51, recalled: ‘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 for ever. 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.’ Then he suddenly got back in touch. Jennifer recalled: ‘He just called one day and said, ‘Let’s go see The Fantasticks.’ ‘So we had a little dinner and saw the show. After that, I started seeing him on weekends, and this new way of life unfolded.’
Jennifer added that her father ‘was not a good communicator… but, as best he could, he explained and apologised, and it’s enough. We’ve made up. There’s still parts that are hard for me, but I’m an adult. I can’t blame my parents any more.’ Jennifer famously fell out with her mother for writing a cash-in book shortly after she became a superstar in Friends. The actress refused to speak to her mother for 15 years and didn’t even invite her to her 2000 marriage to Brad Pitt.
The pair had reconciled by the time of Nancy’s death in 2016, but Jennifer recalled: ‘She was a model and it was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like. ‘I did not [become] the model child she’d hoped for. This little girl just wanted to be loved by a mum who was too occupied with things that didn’t quite matter. She was very critical of me.’
The source said Aniston’s relationship with her father has been equally fraught: ‘They have gone through long periods where Jen didn’t talk to him. John’s a proud man but not emotional. He’s never understood how volatile Jen’s emotions have been. ‘But since the coronavirus crisis she’s been an amazing daughter. He says she’s calling constantly to check on him. They obviously can’t see each other but they have spoken more in the past few weeks than they ever have.’ John has starred on Days Of Our Lives since 1985 – the same daytime soap opera that was incorporated into the plot of Friends. The main cast members of the hit 1990s sitcom are to get back for a one-off, big-money televised celebration of their show once social distancing rules are relaxed.