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Why Jennifer Aniston Didn't Speak To Her Dad For Years — As She Shares Tribute For Her 'Sweet Papa' After His Death

Jennifer Aniston, John Aniston

Jennifer Aniston said goodbye to her father, John Aniston, who passed away on November 11.

Aniston, who has been vocal about her adoration for her father, penned an emotional tribute to her "sweet papa" on Instagram, describing him as "one of the most beautiful humans I ever knew."

Aniston's father, who famously starred in "Days of Our Lives," had walked out on Aniston when she was a child, leaving her in the care of her mother, Nancy Dow.

Did Jennifer Aniston have a relationship with her father?

Aniston had a tumultuous relationship with her father before forgiving him.

The "Friends" actress spoke candidly about learning that her father had left her in a 1999 interview with Rolling Stone.

"My mom told me. I went to a birthday party, and when I came back, she said, “Your father’s not going to be around here for a little while,'" Aniston revealed.

Aniston continued, saying that she didn't see her father until a year later when he suddenly called her one day.

"He just called one day and said, ‘Let’s go see The Fantasticks.’ So we had a little dinner and saw the show. After that, I started seeing him on weekends, and this new way of life just unfolded,” she recalled.

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Aniston and her father reconciled after his absence during her childhood.

"As best he could, my dad explained and apologized, and it’s enough. We’ve made up," she said. "There are still parts that are hard for me, but I’m an adult. I can’t blame my parents anymore.”

Aniston also paid tribute to her father in June 2022 at the Daytime Emmy Awards, presenting him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

"It’s an opportunity to not only pay tribute to a true icon in the daytime television world, but it’s also a chance to recognize the lifelong achievements of a great and well-respected actor who also happens to be my dad," Aniston said in her speech.

Despite Aniston eventually forgiving her father, her relationship with her mother was a bit rockier.

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Aniston and her mother, Nancy Dow, were estranged for years.

Before the death of Aniston's mother in 2016, the two had an extremely tumultuous relationship.

In a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Aniston opened up about some of the faults she found in her mother while growing up.

"She was critical. She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn’t,” Aniston said. “She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty.”

Aniston's relationship with her mother seemed to go downhill following her success with the debut of "Friends" in 1994. 

The actress was barely speaking to her mother, who in 1999 published the memoir "From Mother and Daughter to Friends," about their relationship.

Aniston was reportedly left enraged by her mother's book, and continued to ice Dow out of her life for several more years, including not inviting Dow to her 2000 wedding to Brad Pitt.

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It wasn't until Aniston and Pitt split, that she began speaking to her mother again.

In a 2006 interview with Vanity Fair, Aniston said that she and her mother had begun to "exchange messages."

"Our doors are open. We’re taking baby steps. It’s a good thing," Aniston remarked.

“I feel pretty good about the choices I’ve made,” she continued. “The choice of not speaking to Mom for a while—that’s ours. Nobody else has to understand it … I wouldn’t change my childhood, I wouldn’t change my heartaches, I wouldn’t change my successes.”

Aniston continued to speak about her mother following her passing in 2016, telling Elle in 2018 that her mom had left her with "deep wounds," though Aniston noted that it was unintentional.

"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,” Aniston told the publication.

“My mom said those things because she really loved me. It wasn’t her knowing she would be making some deep wounds that I would then spend a lot of money to undo. She did it because that was what she grew up with.”

Just recently, Aniston spoke about her mother with Allure for their November 2022 cover, telling the publication that she has since "forgiven" Dow.

"I forgave my mom. I forgave my father. I’ve forgiven my family. It’s important. It’s toxic to have that resentment, that anger," she said.

"I learned that by watching my mom never let go of it. I remember saying, ‘Thank you for showing me what never to be.'”

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.