After Breaking The Internet By Joining Instagram, Jennifer Aniston Shared A Nostalgic Throwback Snap

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People have always been very interested in the personal life of actress Jennifer Aniston. So, when the star started up an Instagram account in October 2019, there was a colossal rush of interest. Several months on and Aniston’s social media is still extremely popular. And a recent throwback picture she posted gained her a fresh load of likes and comments.

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Aniston is most famous for Friends, the TV show which catapulted her and her five co-stars to fame. The show ended in 2004, but its fanbase is still very much alive and kicking. So, for Aniston’s Instagram debut on October 15, she posted a picture of herself and her fellow Friends hanging out.

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The picture featured Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc all posing for the camera. Aniston wrote for a caption, “And now we’re Instagram FRIENDS too. HI INSTAGRAM.” The internet immediately went wild, both for the pic itself and the fact that Aniston had finally joined social media.

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Yet just months prior, Aniston had stated a distrust for the whole concept of social media. Talking to InStyle magazine, she said that users of things such as Instagram were “doing it through someone else’s lens, which has been filtered and changed… and then it’s ‘like me, don’t like me, did I get liked?’ There’s all this comparing and despairing.”

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However, there was little despairing when Aniston posted her Friends picture. Instead, there was such a rush to follow the actress on the platform that Instagram actually – literally – broke. Some people found that the app had stopped working properly. As a consequence, these individuals weren’t able to follow Aniston’s new account.

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The hugely popular app quickly released a statement. A spokesperson for the company told CNN, “We are aware that some people were having issues following Jen’s profile. We are thrilled to have this ‘Friend’ as part of the Instagram community.” Yet even despite the glitch, Aniston gained a whopping amount of followers.

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Aniston even beat out the previous record holders for the fastest time to gain a million followers on Instagram. Not bad, considering this record had belonged to none other than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. But within a mere five hours and 16 minutes, Aniston had surpassed the million mark. And even after that, the followers just kept coming.

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In response to all the madness, Aniston posted a clip from her TV series The Morning Show, showing her character Alex Levy smashing a phone up. Beneath the video the actress wrote, “I swear I didn’t mean to break it… Thank you guys for the kind, glitchy welcome.” After that, she added a heart emoji.

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People were interested to see who Aniston was following on the platform. It seemed that first of all she had followed all her Friends co-stars, with the exception of Matthew Perry who didn’t have an Instagram. Courteney Cox welcomed her friend onto the app with a paraphrased quote from the show. She said, “Welcome to the social media world… it sucks. You’re gonna love it!”

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Aniston had also followed her friend and The Morning Show co-star Reese Witherspoon. In response, Witherspoon posted a picture of the two of them and wrote, “How’s that for some morning news?! @jenniferaniston has joined the @instagram world and now I can finally tag her in Friends memes! Welcome Jen!”

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A couple of days after all the madness, Aniston appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Naturally, the subject of her new social media account came up. Aniston described herself as “the most reluctant person to join Instagram.” But she said that “a lot of people” had persuaded her to do so.

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However, Aniston confessed, she had actually had a “stalker account” before joining Instagram officially. With that, she observed what was happening on the platform, but she didn’t post. She explained, “When I was thinking about doing this, I sort of figured it was time to kind of understand the world and dip my toe into this social media pool.”

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On October 23 Aniston gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times about her decision to join Instagram and why she’d mostly changed her mind about social media. She said, “I won’t let it be addictive. I decided to get two different phones. So one sits in my office and when that [Instagramming] has to happen, I’ll commit to that.”

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Aniston went on, “The thing I don’t want to do, which was always a hesitation for me in the beginning, is be consumed by it. I don’t want to become distracted like that. I already get distracted enough by other things in life.” But since joining the platform she had become more kindly disposed to social media.

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The actress said to the Los Angeles Times, “I’m very happy that it seems to have been a fun thing and that it seems to be well-received. I could see how it’s fun to creatively put those little bits together, be funny, make fun of yourself and have fun just in general. And being able to connect with fans and it makes them very happy.”

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Aniston concluded, “It’s not going away. I’m not going away just yet. If you can’t beat them, join them. There’s always going to be that one person that has something not nice to say. So whatever. You send good thoughts to them, like, I’m sorry that’s the way you have to live through this life. But there are other people having a really good time.”

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Ten days after Aniston joined Instagram, Business Insider did an analysis of what kind of shake-up she’d caused. They noted, “Aniston’s co-stars on Friends have each seen their Instagram followings grow by more than a million since the actress joined the platform… That excludes Matthew Perry, the actor who played Chandler Bing, as he doesn’t have an Instagram account.”

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Business Insider went on to say, “Considering Friends ended 15 years ago, there’s logically no other reason the Friends co-stars saw their Instagram followings boost so significantly other than Aniston’s emergence onto the platform.” The website decided to dub this trend “The Aniston Effect.”

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Aniston’s Instagram ended up shedding some light on her personal life, too. The actress’ romantic entanglements have long been a subject of headlines. As well as Friends, Aniston is also famous for being one side of a scandalous Hollywood love triangle. This, of course, refers to the one between her, her then-husband Brad Pitt, and fellow actress Angelina Jolie.

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The story goes that Pitt fell hard for his Mr. and Mrs. Smith co-star Jolie while still married to Aniston. Husband and wife announced their separation in January 2005, and then it became clear that Jolie was Pitt’s new girlfriend. Photos of the pair were suddenly in every tabloid magazine.

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Some people even capitalized on the story by creating “Team Jolie” and “Team Aniston” t-shirts. But technically, neither of them won. By September 2016 Jolie had filed for divorce from Pitt, requesting custody of the pair’s kids. Though they had been together 12 years, they had been officially married for only two.

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After all that, some people hoped Aniston and Pitt might get back together. And soon fans realized they could track Aniston’s Instagram to see whether she still mentioned her famous ex. They were thrilled when she hit “like” on a picture of him after he won big at the 2020 Golden Globe awards.

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And Pitt wasn’t the only ex that Aniston seemed to still be friends with. When Aniston joined Instagram, many people noticed that she and her one-time husband Justin Theroux were interacting on the platform. Aniston and Theroux were together from the year 2011, marrying in 2015 and divorcing two years later.

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Later, Theroux told the media he’d been one of the people caught in the Aniston-created Instagram problem. On October 22 he told Entertainment Tonight, “She said, ‘You haven’t followed me,’ and I said, ‘Of course I followed you!’ And she’s like, ‘No you haven’t!’ I realized I was one of the people caught in the glitch.”

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But on December 26, the day after Christmas, Aniston posted a throwback picture of herself with one of the most important men in her life – and it was neither Pitt nor Theroux. It was, in fact, her father, John Aniston. The actress captioned the photograph, “Christmas with one of my creators.”

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Accompanying the first photo of a young Aniston with her dad was a picture of the two of them as adults. The actress wrote, “Then and now #TBT,” and added, “Love you, papa,” alongside an emoji heart. Many people commented on the touching post, including some of Aniston’s most famous friends.

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Reese Witherspoon dropped by and posted two more little hearts to show her appreciation. Chris McMillan, the famous stylist who created Aniston’s iconic “Rachel” haircut, wrote, “STACHE MAN. I love these pics.” And a Friends fan chimed in with, “You mean to tell me Dr. Green isn’t your dad?!”

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Aniston’s father is also in the acting business. Ever since 1985 he’s played the character of Victor Kiriakis on the soap Days of Our Lives. Sound familiar? As fans will remember, Days of Our Lives also had a part in Friends, as the show that Joey Tribbiani ended up having on-off acting roles on.

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Aniston doesn’t speak all that much about her relationship with her dad, but it seems to have been a complicated one in the past. Aniston’s parents divorced when she was still young, and in 2011 she told James Lipton, “It was pretty crappy. I came home from a birthday party and he was moved out.”

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The divorce left Aniston with her mother Nancy, and the actress has often spoken of their strained relationship. In 2015 Aniston told The Hollywood Reporter that, “She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn’t. I never was. I honestly still don’t think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine. She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty.”

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Aniston went on, “One time, I raised my voice to my mother, and I screamed at her. And she looked at me and burst out laughing. She was laughing at me [for] screaming back. And it was like a punch in my stomach.” However, mother and daughter did reconcile before Nancy’s death in 2016.

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To compound all that, John never wanted his young daughter to follow in his footsteps and become an actor. Aniston told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012, “My dad’s advice has always been, ‘Don’t do it. Become a doctor. Become a lawyer.’ He didn’t want me to be heartbroken because he knew it was a tough business. It compelled me to go for it even harder. Do what keeps you happy, and don’t ever let people box you in.”

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There were rumors over the years that Aniston and her father were not close. When the actress became engaged to Justin Theroux in 2012, the Days of Our Lives star reportedly said to Celebuzz.com, “It’s the first I’ve heard about it. It’s a surprise to me. I’ll have to look online.”

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However, according to the New York Daily News, Aniston’s father had actually known but was playing dumb for her sake. The actress’ publicist said, “John did know about the engagement, but did not know when we would go public with it. So, when he was caught off guard on the phone, he didn’t want to be tricked. So he pretended not to know.”

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Yet rumors that Aniston had little to no relationship with her father still persisted. In June 2016, not long after Nancy’s death, the website RadarOnline.com ran the headline, “Heartless! Jen Shuns Her Ailing Dad On Father’s Day” and claimed that Aniston “failed to visit” her “forlorn figure” of a dad.

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And a few months later the same website reported that Aniston was “currently at odds with her ailing father.” According to an anonymous apparent insider, “John has been on pins and needles for Jen to announce she is pregnant ever since she married Brad Pitt in 2000. But when they divorced five years later without having kids, those dreams were dashed.”

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The insider declared, “There were times Jen thought about adopting like her good friend Sheryl Crow, who adopted two boys. But because she’s been working on one project after another, there just hasn’t been time to make that happen… John’s only hope of being a hands-on granddad was if Jen had a child.”

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Yet there was nothing to substantiate that story at all. There was no comment from any official sources, only that of the alleged insider. But several years after the rumors of a rift first appeared, Aniston seemed to be informing the world that all was well with her father by posting the pictures and the touching caption.

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Hopefully, Aniston’s Instagram is helping her to defy tabloid rumors. And it’s certainly been a major boon for her fans as well. They’ve been granted a big behind-the-scenes look at the star’s life. For example, in January 2020 Aniston posted a picture of herself dressed up for the Golden Globes.

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As of January 2020, Aniston’s Instagram has over 23 million followers – even though she’s only ever posted a grand total of 21 posts. It’ll be exciting to see what else she puts on her account as the year continues on. There’s still plenty of opportunity for the Friends star to break the internet a second time.

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