Jennifer Aniston recently recalled a time in her life when her most famous acting role was all-consuming.
The 51-year-old “Friends” star came clean to The Hollywood Reporter during the magazine’s Drama Actress Roundtable about the challenge of prying away her sitcom persona of Rachel after the show had achieved peak popularity.
“I could not get Rachel Green off of my back for the life of me. I could not escape Rachel from ‘Friends,’ just Rachel from ‘Friends,’ it’s on all the time and you’re just like, ‘Stop playing this f—ing show,'” Aniston told the outlet. “I completely just fought with myself and who I was in this industry forever because it was just constantly about trying to prove I was more than that.”
‘The One After the Superbowl: Part 2’ Episode 13 — Air Date 01/28/1996 — Pictured: (l-r) Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, James Michael Tyler as Gunther (far back), Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller.
(Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Despite the show’s success, Aniston said she still felt the need to strip herself from the moniker in order for her career to form into something substantial and she opened up during the roundtable — which included Janelle Monae, Zendaya, Reese Witherspoon, Helena Bonham Carter and Rose Byrne — about how her role in the 2002 film “The Good Girl” aided in separating Aniston from Rachel.
“‘The Good Girl’ was the first time I got to really shed whatever the Rachel character was, and to be able to disappear into someone who wasn’t, that was such a relief to me,” she said. “But I remember the panic that set over me, thinking, ‘Oh God, I don’t know if I can do this. Maybe they’re right. Maybe everybody else is seeing something I’m not seeing, which is you are only that girl in the New York apartment with the purple walls.’”
“So, I was almost doing it for myself just to see if I could do something other than that,” Aniston added. “And it was terrifying because you’re doing it in front of the world.”
Don’t get her wrong — Aniston is incredibly appreciative of the opportunity she had to blossom into one of Hollywood’s biggest draws; while teasing the show’s reunion, she even admitted to “Friends” co-star Lisa Kudrow that she often watches the blooper reels.
“Here’s what I love, is when I watch an episode, I’ll usually remember where we broke during the scene,” she said of the series that aired from 1994 to 2004.