Jennifer Garner Poses With Her Equally Gorgeous Mom and Sisters

by Antoinette Bueno 2:04 PM PST, February 17, 2015
Photo: Southern Living

Good looks clearly run in the Garner family.

Jennifer Garner poses with her mother Patricia, and her sisters, Melissa and Susannah, for the latest issue of Southern Living, in which she dishes about the Garner girls' close bond.

"Being the middle sister of these three girls is the relationship that defines me more than anything else," the 42-year-old actress surprisingly tells the magazine. "More than being my kids' mother, more than being my husband's wife, I’m first and foremost the middle Garner girl."

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The close-knit sisters, who "all talk on the phone a lot," also praised their mother for the values she instilled in them growing up.

"What my mom did that I valued so much was to not place beauty high on the list of priorities," Jennifer says. "It was a shock when I got to college to hear people say I was pretty."

That said, Jen points out the family's signature pout and jokes, "We are doing this shoot so people can finally stop asking if my lips are real."

Rather than an emphasis on good looks, a good work ethic was stressed early on.

"I always had a job," Jennifer says. "In high school, I worked at a men's clothing shop and babysat. In college, I worked at a summer stock theater for free, building sets and cleaning toilets."

Photo: Southern Living

Eventually, Jennifer decided to major in theater after reading Beth Henley's play Crimes of the Heart in college, which her mother admits she and Jennifer's father were nervous about.

"I think my husband worried that she would be poor her whole life, but bless his heart, he never told her not to do it," she recalls about Jennifer switching her major from chemistry.

Though looking back, the former Alias actress' talent was evident early on.

"Being the middle child, she was the clown," Patricia says. "I thought Jen would be a writer because she was always making up these little stories. .... We let the girls do their own thing. I have one daughter who has an MBA, one who is a CPA, and one who is an actress."

And now, Jennifer is working to instill the same values she had growing up in Charleston, West Virginia to her own three kids with husband Ben Affleck -- Violet, 9, Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 2.

"It's really important for my kids to see that everyone doesn't have the lives they see in Los Angeles," she stresses. "That doesn't reflect the rest of the world. I want them to grow up with the Southern values I had -- to look at people when they say hello and to stop and smell the roses. If I could do half as good a job as my mom did, I'd be pretty happy."

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Last September, Jennifer dished on how her relationship with Ben has changed over the years.

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