Jennifer Aniston is revealing that she started hosting well-being seminars for friends including Sandra Bullock after spending a week “under my covers” following the success of her television comeback, The Morning Show.
The actress, who marked her 51st birthday on Tuesday, opens up about the struggle of going from “a thousand miles an hour to zero,” in a candid new interview conducted by Bullock for Interview magazine, during which the two also discussed dating the same actor, bonding over booze and navigating Hollywood in their fifties.
“You were just so intrigued by all this new health information that was coming out,” Bullock says to Aniston during the interview. “It’s mental health, physical health, well-being, joy, and you started inviting us all to these lectures at your house where we could all learn together. You forced us out of our shells to participate. In this day and age, when everyone’s glued to their iPhone, it’s a great gift you’re giving everyone you love, because you’re like, ‘I plan on living to at least 115, and I’d like all my friends to be with me.’”
“I loved doing that,” Aniston responds. “That came about right when The Morning Show came to a close, and I found myself going from a thousand miles an hour to zero. I was under my covers for a week going, ‘What do I do with my life?’”
“It’s always been this dream of mine to have these little salons, where you find these wonderful minds to come in and speak and share the wealth,” Aniston continues. “There’s no point in living to be 90 when you’re not thriving. If your body starts to break down then your mind breaks down, and your consciousness breaks down, and then you’re of no use to the world.”
Clearly taken aback from the success of The Morning Show, which she wrote and co-produced with Reese Witherspoon, Aniston said that ratings were the furthest from her mind when she started working on the series.
“Honestly, I think there was no attachment to a result, and I think that’s a real key to success in life, to not worry about the landing, but enjoy the experience,” she says. “That’s what we did. We were focused on making something really great and interesting and a bit daring, and trying to be as honest as we could. But I think it’s about not having an attachment to the outcome.”
“It’s not [easy,]” she adds. “I’ve never been that person pacing around on opening night saying, ‘What is the box-office?’ I try to put it away when it’s done. We were having a writers’ meeting yesterday, and I was saying, ‘I feel so proud to be a part of something that people say so many nice things about.’ It’s so rare. I mean, for some people it’s not that rare, but in my case, it’s hit or miss, and that’s okay. I’ve never had it take me down because that’s not gonna be the thing that takes me down.”
While the aftermath of The Morning Show may have caused Aniston to question what she should do next, she noted how things have changed for the better when it comes to the opportunities actresses face as they age.
“Think of the generation ahead of us. So many of those women were put out to pasture when they were 40, and the fact that we get to still be working and are actually coming into our most creative adventures ever at this point in our life -- we’re rewriting that narrative that society sort of plastered on us,” she says. “I remember the messaging to me even in my 30s was, ‘Don’t play a mom, and if you do play a mom make sure it’s to a 3-year-old kid.’ That’s not the case anymore.”
“You’ve sustained the same career from the time you were in your 20s,” she says to Bullock. “Is it just a fortunate window of time that we got to enter into the business when we did, and so this moment is happening? Whatever it is, we won’t ever be able to know because who gives a sh** -- it’s happening.”
Aniston credited fellow actresses like Bullock for helping end the notion that female actresses have shelf lives. She also noted the importance of women supporting women in the cutthroat world of entertainment, where she made unexpected key friends in her early days.
“When I landed in Los Angeles at 20-years-old and I fell into those girls who are still sitting around [my dinner] table today, they were on a different path,” she says. “I’d never had a circle of women who got together and talked forever. I was like, ‘God, these California people don’t shut up. They talk about their feelings and cry in front of each other.’ I said to myself, ‘Here I am, a girl who grew up in New York City, and now I find myself in Laurel Canyon, wearing a flowery dress and someone put a crystal around my neck and is burning sage around my head. I have landed on Mars.’”
“But I really think it was something that saved me,” she adds. “This is a really tough business that we’re in that is not always kind or inclusive or supportive. A lot of the time, it’s the opposite. I remember going to auditions and girls would never want to share anything. Or they would talk to you during your auditions to distract you when they knew you were trying to work on your stuff.”
Today, Aniston’s the one who’s lifting up her friends while oozing positivity, perseverance -- and well-being seminars. Bullock commented on how anyone lucky enough to be welcomed into the Friends actress’ home and life feels safe.
“What is it that allows you to stay buoyant and keep from getting discouraged when things don’t go the right way?” Bullock asks Aniston.
“I think that it comes from growing up in a household that was destabilized and felt unsafe,” Aniston shares. “Watching adults being unkind to each other, and witnessing certain things about human behavior that made me think: ‘I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to experience this feeling I’m having in my body right now. I don’t want anyone else that I ever come in contact with ever to feel that.’ So, I guess I have my parents to thank. You can either be angry or be a martyr, or you can say, ‘You’ve got lemons? Let’s make lemonade.’”
Aside from girl talk and wellness lectures, what do Aniston and Bullock do when they get handed lemons? Mix them into a drink, it seems! Bullock recalled how the two bonded over booze back in the day, and pointed out that her social life “comes to a screeching halt” when Aniston is out of town.
The actresses met through their mutual ex-boyfriend, actor Tate Donovan, at a Golden Globes party.
“We were introduced by our former boyfriend,” Bullock says. “I say ‘our’ because you and I both partook of this one human being. We both partook of Tate. Who was a very patient human being, given that he dated us both.”
They then found themselves at the same wedding where, Aniston recalls, “I sent you a note and you sent me a shot.”
“I was looking for tequila, but for some reason there was just Jack Daniels,” Bullock explains. “Who drinks Jack Daniels at a wedding? Maybe brown liquors were in at that time. Maybe tequila hadn’t found its groove like it has now. I sent you a shot, and I recall that we went back and forth a few times, and if I’m not mistaken, that was the first time I got sick drinking with you.”
“I’d never had Jack Daniels until then, and I have not had a sip of it since,” Aniston replies.