Jennifer Aniston Finally Took a Break During Covid

This one was a real break.

Jennifer Aniston
Michael Kors Collection bodysuit, skirt, and belt. Lisa Eisner Jewelry necklace. Sewit Sium bangle. Haute Victoire ring. Photo: Emma Summerton/Dawes+Co

Jennifer Aniston was, in fact, on a break as soon as the global pandemic began a year and a half ago. The Friends star tells InStyle's Laura Brown on this week's episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown that the Covid-19 pandemic allowed her to take a step back and "reassess" things in her life.

"I think for me, the good was really a big decompression and a really nice inventory of what's it all about when you're forced to not work," she says. "Idling is not preferable. I think it was really important for a big majority of those who were willing to let it be a reset. Let's slow down. Let's take all of this in and, and reassess, reevaluate, and excavate, and I'm sure we've all cleaned out that crap we don't need — literally."

But it wasn't long until our September cover star kicked her career back into drive, filming the highly acclaimed and Emmy-nominated Friends reunion, the second season of The Morning Show, and getting ready to begin production on Murder Mystery 2. The actress says she enjoys the work, just maybe not all the unnecessary parts of Hollywood that come along with it.

"It saves everybody a lot of money to not travel — and then have to create the venues and dress them all up," she says. "And do people really, really need all of that? Press junkets, red carpets, all of the sort of shiny-penny things. I mean, the work is what I love to do. It's the promotion of it that creates some stress in me. You get like a second of what it is that you're promoting. And then the rest of it is all salacious crap that you somehow got wrangled into talking about."

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InStyle Ladies First with Laura Brown

Duration: 46 minutes

This podcast may contain cursing that would not be appropriate for listeners under 14. Discretion is advised.

But of course there are positives that come along with the job and the industry — one of them being the five lifelong friendships she gained from the beloved '90s sitcom Friends. Aniston played the lost, twenty-something runaway bride Rachel Green, freshly kicked off her parents' tab, alongside Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, and Matthew Perry.

The show completely changed their lives and catapulted them into global fame, and the show's fandom only continues to grows as new generations are introduced to the hit through the marvel of streaming platforms. The highly anticipated reunion finally aired in May of this year, and the special event marked the first time in 17 years that the entire cast was together in the same room. Aniston recalls the real-life friends making a promise to never let it be that long again.

"We really did make a commitment to each other," she says. "We were like, 'That's the last time we wait that long just to see each other.'" And as much as the show lives on for all of the viewers — whether that be through binge watches or reunions — the cast's experiences of making the show have also stayed with them.

"This is eternal," she tells Brown. "Not just sort of out there in the ethers or on a television set once in a while that you've passed by, but in our body, in our DNA, in our hearts, in our bloodstream, the cells. It somehow was like a unicorn of an experience that I don't think really happens that often."

She continues, "And for whatever reason, we were all at the right place at the right time and created some little burst of something that landed its little flag on a lot of people's hearts around the world. I mean, obviously not everybody's hearts, but a good fair amount."

Over the course of her successful, 20-plus-year career, Aniston has had her ups and downs like everyone else. She attributes her healing to putting in the work in therapy — and finding it in herself to forgive others.

"Therapy [is] a wonderful amount of just trying to understand it and also give examples of what I do not want to become," she explains. "Watching behavior of what I will never become. Seeing people I love get lost, lose the plot. You can only help someone as much as they're willing to be helped."

"I do believe that at the core of everyone there is goodness," she says. "Watching people in my life go through hardships and just hold onto resentment and watching that eat them away. Forgiveness is not in their vocabulary. That's a real shame because I believe that that is really an important thing to be able to forgive people."

Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple, PlayerFM, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And tune in weekly to Ladies First with Laura Brown hosted by InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown, who speaks to guests like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Cynthia Erivo, Naomi Watts, La La Anthony, Ellen Pompeo, Rep. Katie Porter, and more to discuss current events, politics, some fashion, and, most importantly, the major firsts in their lives.

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