LOS ANGELES — Jennifer Aniston is no stranger to fame, but there are still some aspects she hasn’t gotten used to. For instance, walking a red carpet still produces butterflies in her stomach. “It’s a fun excitement,” she says. “It’s sort of like going on stage, you know? It’s butterflies, it’s nerves, it keeps it new. Hopefully that fear will never go away.”
One thing she would like to go away, of course, would be all the tabloid speculation about her personal life — though that will probably outlast her pre-carpet jitters. Still, Aniston has learned how to weather the gossip storms, even if her family hasn’t.
“If I don’t know that it’s there, I’m just living my life, having fun doing my thing,” she says. “The only way I’m really privy to it is when I have to field questions from my family members, because, for some reason, they still believe it’s true.”
And given how often she’s on supermarket newsstands, that means a lot of concerned phonecalls. “You stay as far away from it as possible and just try to deal with the e-mails and phone calls from your mother, saying, ‘Are you adopting?’” Aniston says with an exasperated laugh. “‘Are you dating somebody?’ ‘No, Mom.’ ‘Well, Aunt Jean thinks…’ ‘No.’ ‘Are you getting married at Oprah’s? An $8-million wedding?’ ‘No. I told you, don’t believe it.’
Aniston would much rather people focus on her work, like her latest comedy, Just Go With It, in which she stars as the best friend and assistant to a plastic surgeon (Adam Sandler) who goes along with a harebrained scheme to pose as his soon-to-be ex-wife to assuage a new girlfriend’s fears that he’s not a philanderer. The movie takes a few jabs at plastic surgery enthusiasts early on — and even features a quick cameo by Heidi Montag — but it also gave Aniston a chance to think about the practice and its implications.
“I think there’s an extreme pressure on women and men to just stay young,” she says. “And the unfortunate thing is a lot of women who go too far end up looking a hell of a lot older than they actually are. It sort of has the reverse effect. So, talk to me in 10 years.”
Thanks to a much more A-list cameo, Aniston gets to spend a good amount of time in Just Go With It with Nicole Kidman, who pops up as her old sorority sister and nemesis. But it wasn’t Aniston’s first exposure to Kidman. “I had met her before and she was immediately disarming, so I knew how great of a girl she was,” Aniston says. “I knew how funny she was. She pretty much can do anything.”
But there was one thing Kidman couldn’t do, it turns out: truly embody a mean girl.
“Nicole was so sweet. She would always feel really bad after she had to do something a little snarky to me,” Aniston remembers. “We’d cut and she’d just come over and be like, ‘I’m so sorry.’ It’s so sweet.”