Jennifer Aniston Looks Back on the ‘Magic’ of Friends and What She’s Learned About Life

Revered for her style and grace, the Emmy winning actress is still captivating audiences on ‘The Morning Show’ while keeping it real with her fiercely loyal group of friends

There are three boxes in the garage of Jennifer Aniston’s Los Angeles home that she absolutely treasures.

“They’re filled with trinkets and journals and pictures. Just life,” the Emmy winning actress-producer, 55, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview for the magazine’s 50th anniversary special issue. “If anybody wants to find out the truth of everything, they can just go in there.”

No doubt the memorabilia reflects the LolaVie founder’s fiercely loyal group of friends and her beloved dogs. Not to mention her three decades in Hollywood—from her roles in movies like The Break-Up, Cake and Murder Mystery to her current portrayal of news anchor Alex Levy on Apple TV+’s The Morning Show.

Video placeholder imagePeople 50th Anniversary JENNIFER ANISTON Photographed 2/27/24 - at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, CA

But of course the most indelible are surely from the 10 seasons she starred as Rachel on the megahit comedy Friends, whose cast was first featured on PEOPLE’s cover in 1995.

When did you realize you wanted to be an actress? 
Probably when I was onstage for the first time when I was about 11. I was in a Nativity play, and I played the archangel. From that moment on I caught the bug. 

What advice would you go back and give yourself when you were starting out?
That feeling when it wasn’t about “making it” but just working—maintain that.

What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way? 
There’s so many. Patience, to be kind, to respect your fellow actors. And just tell the truth.

People 50th Anniversary JENNIFER ANISTON Photographed 2/27/24 - at Smashbox Studios in Culver City, CA
Jennifer Aniston for PEOPLE’s 50th Anniversary Issue

Your style has become iconic. Do you still get nervous on the red carpet?  
Always. Always. Right now, literally in this chair.

What was it like getting your Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2012? 
It was a really special day. And I still have that dress. Like I do pretty much all my clothes from every decade.


Looking back on that first Friends feature in PEOPLE, do you remember how it felt—knowing it was all just beginning?
Oh, everything was the most exciting thing on the planet. It was just magic. Nothing was not exciting. And it’s still exciting, but we’ve had more experiences. We’ve learned more lessons. There’s a little more behind us.

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