Nancy Dow, Jennifer Aniston’s Mother, Dies: A Look Back at Their Relationship

Jennifer Aniston and Nancy Dow
Nancy Dow and Jennifer Aniston Paul Harris/Online USA via Getty Images; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Mourning mom. Jennifer Aniston and her loved ones are grieving the death of her mother, Nancy Dow, who passed away after a long illness at age 79 on Wednesday, May 25. The pair had been estranged for nearly a decade, but reconciled in recent years.

Dow, an actress and model, was married to Aniston's dad, soap opera star John Aniston, for 15 years. Following their 1980 divorce, the Friends alum lived with Dow in New York and grew up Greek Orthodox. Her older half-brother, John T. Melick, moved to Los Angeles. (Dow had Melick with her first ex-husband, Jack Melick. John Sr. later welcomed son Alexander John "AJ" Aniston with his second wife, Sherry Rooney.)

Aniston, 47, and Dow would have a falling out years later, at the height of her fame, after Dow penned the 1999 memoir From Mother and Daughter to Friends. Aniston didn't invite Dow to her 2000 wedding to Brad Pitt, but they would reconcile after her divorce.

John Melick, Jennifer Aniston and John Aniston
Tate Donovan, John Melick, Jennifer Aniston and John Aniston at a screening of 'Picture Perfect' in 1997. The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Last year, Aniston opened up about her relationship with Dow in a candid interview. She marveled over her mom's beauty, and revealed that the two were "fine" after their rift. (It's unclear whether Dow attended Aniston's 2015 nuptials to Justin Theroux.)

"She was critical. 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," Aniston told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty."

Jennifer Aniston and John Aniston
Jennifer Aniston and her dad, John Aniston, pose on February 22, 2012 in Hollywood. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Aniston recalled one time where their personalities particularly clashed. "She had a temper. I can't tolerate that. If I get upset, I will discuss [things]. I will never scream and get hysterical like that. [But] I was never taught that I could scream," she told THR. "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."

The TV and movie star, meanwhile, appears to remain close with her 82-year-old dad. Back in 2012, he supported her at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony. The following year, the longtime Days of Our Lives actor surprised her during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Through it all, Aniston has learned a lot from her famous parents. "Time moves really quickly these days, I don't know why. How many times did our parents say, 'Stop wanting everything to rush'? You want summer to be over, you want Christmas to be over, you want this to be over, you want everything to be over just so you can get to the next thing," she told THR last year. "And boy, you really wish you'd listened to a lot of the things they said."

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