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From an outside perspective, it probably looks like Jennifer Aniston has a perfect life. With an enviable Hollywood career, millions in the bank, so many friends (and Friends), plus looks that never fade, it’s true that this A-lister has plenty to be thankful for. But like the rest of us, Aniston’s personal history is more complex than it seems.

It all goes back to Aniston’s childhood and the difficult relationship she had with her mother. In a 2018 interview with Elle magazine, the Morning Show actress opened up about tension with her mom and how she’s learned to forgive her.

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston | Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Jennifer Aniston has acting in her blood

Aniston was born on Feb. 11, 1969, to actress mother Nancy Dow and Greek actor father John Aniston. Even though her parents were both in the business, they didn’t promote it for their daughter and even discouraged her from watching television at home. Her dad John actively tried to keep Jen away from Hollywood. Obviously, it didn’t work.

“My dad’s advice has always been: ‘Don’t do it. Become a doctor. Become a lawyer.’ He didn’t want me to be heartbroken because he knew it was a tough business. It compelled me to go for it even harder,” Aniston said during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Do what keeps you happy, and don’t ever let people box you in.”

Aniston got into acting at 11 while attending the Waldorf school. She appeared in off-Broadway shows and had a few bit parts before landing her breakout role playing Rachel Green on the NBC sitcom Friends.

She had a complicated relationship with her mother

Relationships between moms and daughters can be difficult, but the one between Aniston and her mother was especially challenging. During the Elle interview, the Emmy award winner revealed the root of the problem. “She was from this world of, ‘Honey, take better care of yourself,’ or ‘Honey, put your face on,’ or all of those odd sound bites that I can remember from my childhood,” she explained.

But despite those issues, Aniston said she harbors no hard feelings. “My mom said those things because she really loved me. It wasn’t her trying to be a b***h or knowing she would be making some deep wounds that I would then spend a lot of money to undo,” Aniston said. “She did it because that was what she grew up with.”

In her memoir, Aniston revealed that she went through a tough period with her mom and didn’t even invite her to her 2000 nuptial ceremony with Brad Pitt. But the mother/daughter duo made their peace before Dow died in 2016.

Jennifer Aniston has always relied on her chosen family of friends

Just like on the hit show that made her famous, Aniston has always felt a deep affection for her chosen family of friends and counted on them to make up for the issues she had with blood relatives. As Nicki Swift reported, the A-lister spoke fondly of her close circle of friends.

She said: “We always joke that we raised each other, we mothered each other, we sistered each other, we’ve been kids to each other.”

Families are complicated, but love doesn’t have to be. It’s good to know Aniston has found her true tribe out there.