Life hasn’t always gone the way Jennifer Aniston planned.
Growing up, the Cake star struggled in school. “I thought I wasn’t smart,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter in a wide-ranging interview. “I just couldn’t retain anything.”
It wasn’t until her early 20s that Aniston, now 45, figured out what was wrong: She was dyslexic.
“The only reason I knew [that I had it] was because I went to get a prescription for glasses,” she says. “I had to wear these Buddy Holly glasses. One had a blue lens and one had a red lens. And I had to read a paragraph, and they gave me a quiz, gave me 10 questions based on what I’d just read, and I think I got three right. Then they put a computer on my eyes, showing where my eyes went when I read. My eyes would jump four words and go back two words, and I also had a little bit of a lazy eye, like a crossed eye, which they always have to correct in photos.”
Once she received her diagnosis, Aniston says that everything became clearer – including her painful past.
“Now I had this great discovery,” she says. “I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies, dramas were explained.”
Love and Marriage
Now happily engaged to Justin Theroux, she says “it was his humor, mainly” that drew her to him.
“He’s the easiest guy to hang around; he was so completely in his skin,” she says. “It was the first time I remember being so comfortable [with a romantic interest], like with all my gay friends.”
But don’t ask Aniston when she’ll walk down the aisle.
“We don’t have a date,” she says. “I wouldn’t tell you if we did.”
As for having children: “Listen, that’s a topic that’s so exhausted,” she says. “I get nervous around that, just because it’s very personal. Who knows if it’s going to happen? It’s been a want. We’re doing our best.”
So what do Aniston and Theroux like to do together? For one thing, they watch their guilty pleasure: The Bachelor.
“Last year, [friends] were saying ‘It’s The Bachelor, it’s premiering tonight!” she recalls. “And I was like, ‘Oh, guys! Seriously? The Bachelor? That’s been on for 15 years or something.’ And Justin and I, just for fun, watched. And two hours later, we were addicted. It was like junk food. We were sad when it ended.”
And as for her four marriage to Brad Pitt, Aniston is clearly tired of fielding the same questions over and over.
“We’re not in daily communication,” she says, “but we wish nothing but wonderful things for each other. Nobody did anything wrong. It was just like, sometimes things [happen]. If the world could just stop with the stupid, soap-opera bulls—. There’s no story. I mean, at this point it’s starting to become – please, give more credit to these human beings.”
Her Career – and That Oscar ‘Snub’
As she gets older, Aniston is taking more risks in her career. She took the lead role in Cake, despite naysayers who thought she wasn’t right for the role.
“I’ve been told so many times ‘You’re not the type’ that part of me went, ‘Am I not? Can I really [do this]?’ ” she says. “So it was like, ‘I’m going to prove it to myself.’ There was a confidence in knowing that I’m capable of doing this after so many years of being able to ‘show up.’ I took out a tool bag I hadn’t used.”
The role garnered her raves and accolades – but no Oscar nomination.
“I know a lot of people were sorry,” she says. “I feel I’ve gotten such wonderful love – I had almost more phone calls and flowers than I did for any other nomination [in the past].
Finding Her Center
So who is the person who Aniston would most like to meet? The Dalai Lama.
“I’d love to meet him,” she says. “From the things I’ve read about him, books and lectures, he seems like pure joy, pure, pure, pure enlightenment.”
For herself, Aniston is trying to meditate more.
“I’m on a really good personal strict regime,” she says. “These days, I’ve been [doing it] every day. I have a little place at home, and I do it for about 20 minutes, at different times, usually right after a cup of coffee and before chaos starts.”