She's a Hollywood A-lister who looks a decade younger than she is, which would usually make her unpopular among the grumpy, envious (i.e. normal) Earth folk. But somehow Jennifer Aniston has remained a woman we can empathise with, and not just because most of her films flop.
Something about Aniston has stayed vulnerable, despite her wealth and glamour. She made her name as Friends' Rachel, a woman plagued by self-doubt, prone to humiliating gaffes, and often unlucky in love.
She hooked the world's most eligible bachelor in Brad Pitt, but that just led to more sympathy when she lost him to Angelina Jolie, a toxic combination of rampant sexuality, jaw-dropping beauty and life-risking philanthropic heroism (I'm sure the waves of well-being towards Aniston have multiplied as Brad and Angie plan their 'wedding of a lifetime').
This week she told a story which might explain that vulnerability. "I remember being seven and asking my mom if I was as pretty as my friend Monique," she said. "And my mom looked at me and said, 'Oh honey you're so funny'." It could just be a cute anecdote, but Aniston has long had a troubled relationship with her mother (above), whom she once called a "disease" in her life. The two spent a decade not talking. Failing to assure your fretful daughter that she's pretty might sound like nothing, but it shows a distinct lack of the supportive kindness young girls depend on their mothers to have. She's successful and glamorous, but Aniston's lifelong anxieties show that no one escapes a cold, insensitive mum unscathed.