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Is Jennifer still trapped in Friends image?

With her most recent hits Marley And Me and He is Just Not That Into You, Aniston manages to distance herself a bit from the Rachel persona, but she will have to try harder.

tv Updated: Feb 11, 2009 12:47 IST

Television stars always fear being typecast in the role that made them famous. Now as Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston turns 40 Wednesday, she is still trying to shake off the girl-next-door appeal that her role as Rachel Green in Friends cemented.

With her most recent hits Marley And Me and He is Just Not That Into You, Aniston manages to distance herself a bit from the Rachel persona, but she will have to try harder.

She was actually asked to audition for the part of Monical Gellar, the cleanliness freak in the popular sitcom, but the part went instead to Courtney Cox. Aniston then ended up playing Rachel, for which Cox was the original choice.

Even getting the role of Rachel was all luck for Aniston. She was at that time involved with a show called Muddling Through and got to audition for Friends only because the other serial was shelved.

Before Friends happened, Aniston had to work as a waitress, telemarketer selling apartments, a messenger and a receptionist.

But Friends changed all that. She won several awards for her performance and for the past decade or so Aniston has used the platform created by the hit show to hoist herself into movies.

The fame of the TV show bordered on insanity at times. Her haircut was widely copied and she along with her co-stars could actually ask a cool $1 million for each episode. It was also on the show that she met her future husband Brad Pitt when he made a guest appearance. The two tied the knot in July 2000.

The only real notable role she played near the Friends fame era was in small independent film The Good Girl (2002). There were hopes that she would capitalise on this fame, but it was not quite so. She did, however, have an achievement of sorts.

In 2003 Forbes released their global celebrity list and their shock number one was Jennifer Aniston. This was despite the fact that she had not made much money and was not even that famous. She was also a constant subject for tabloids and celebrity magazines.

But soon her life took a turn for the worse. Though she scored hits with the comedy Along Came Polly, her personal life was coming apart. There were rumours that her husband Brad Pitt was having an affair with his Mr. And Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie. Allegations also swirled that Aniston had put her career before having children.

The couple were divorced in 2005. Pitt now has a family with Jolie, but Aniston has dated a string of men, including co-stars, like Vincent Cassel, Vince Vaughn and more recently musician John Mayer.

Aniston had much later tried clarifying the ugly marriage. "I've never in my life said I don't want to have children. I did and I do and I will!" she was quoted as saying.

She tried being dignified with Pitt when rumours about the Jolie affair were everywhere. She had said: "I choose to believe my husband. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised by anything, but I would much rather choose to believe him."

The actress is now on a comeback of sorts with Marley and Me and He's Just Not That Into You. And as she closes off another decade in her life, here's hoping she will become the true actress.

First Published: Feb 11, 2009 12:39 IST