Jennifer Aniston has had a very good month, even by Jennifer Aniston standards. The 47-year-old actress has cemented her status as a kind of living-well guru, and last week, People named her the World's Most Beautiful Woman for a second time. Before her heady dramatic turn in The Yellow Birds later this year, Aniston is returning to her light-hearted roots this weekend with a role in Garry Marshall's star-laden rom-com Mother's Day. In light of her standout month, here, five things you may not know about Jennifer Aniston.
1. In what has to be one of the most ironic fun facts, the Friends star was actually discouraged from watching television as a child. "I was going to a Waldorf school, which didn't allow you to watch television, but I could go to the theater," Aniston once said. "My dad was on a soap opera, and is still on a soap opera. So, I wasn't really allowed to watch television, unless I was home sick." Her father, who has starred on Days of Our Lives since 1985, also discouraged his daughter from following in his footsteps. "He said, 'I do not want your heart broken. The rejection is brutal. Please, please, please don't do that. Become a lawyer.'"
2. Aniston's first brush with fame was on The Howard Stern Show in 1989. At the time, Aniston was 20 years old and just getting her start, with one show at the Public Theater under her belt. She appeared as a spokesperson for the weight-loss plan Nutrisystem, and claimed to have lost 15 pounds on the program.
3. While promoting her 2014 film Cake, Aniston revealed that shooting the pool scene required 30 takes, due to her crippling fear of water. "I was a kid and I was riding this tricycle around a swimming pool and I drove my tricycle into the swimming pool and I didn't let go and my brother tried to [help]," Aniston has said. "So I can't go underwater and no one will believe me. I honestly can't."
4. It's hard to imagine Aniston as anything else but Rachel Green, but the actress almost appeared on an entirely different NBC show: Saturday Night Live. Adam Sandler recalled some mid-'90s casting drama on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2011: "I remember being on the ninth floor where Lorne Michaels's office was and seeing Jen come in. I was like, 'Oh my God, there's Aniston. Is she about to be on our show?'" When he found out that Aniston had turned it down for another project, Sandler was dumbfounded. "[I remember thinking], 'She said no?' She's going to do that Friends? What the hell is Friends? That was the truth."
5. In what could easily be the premise of a Friends episode, producers wanted Courteney Cox to play Rachel and Aniston to play Monica. Cocreators David Crane and Marta Kauffman had a very specific idea of how they imagined the fastidious younger Geller. "[Cox] had this cheery, upbeat energy. We thought, Well, that's not how we envisioned Monica," Kauffman once said. "And then she came in and did it, and we went, 'Huh!'" Aniston also reportedly had her eye on Rachel from the start. "Unbeknownst to each other, I wanted to play Rachel and she wanted to play Monica," Aniston has said. "So it worked out perfectly."
See photos of Jennifer Aniston through the years: