Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Jennifer Aniston's 20-year battle with learning difficulty revealed

The Friends star spent her childhood unaware of the clinical disorder

jennifer aniston
Bridie Wilkins
Bridie WilkinsSenior Health & Fitness Writer
Share this:

Jennifer Aniston spent the first 20 years of her life struggling with a learning difficulty she didn't know she had: dyslexia. 

The Friends star has since opened up about the disorder after being diagnosed, saying that she simply felt she wasn't as clever as the other children during school.

SEE: Jennifer Aniston reveals reason for huge 30lb weight loss at start of her career

WATCH: Jennifer Aniston films morning routine at stunning private home

"I thought I wasn't smart," she told the Hollywood Reporter. "I just couldn't retain anything. Now I had this great discovery. I felt like all of my childhood trauma-dies, tragedies and dramas were explained."

She went on the detail the moment she was diagnosed in her 20s.

SEE: Jennifer Aniston just revealed her secret smoothie ingredient – and no wonder she looks so good

jennifer aniston 20s© Photo: Getty Images

Jennifer Aniston was diagnosed with dyslexia in her 20s - she's pictured here, age 21

"I had to wear these Buddy Holly glasses. One had a blue lens and one had a red lens. And I had to read a paragraph, and they gave me a quiz, gave me 10 questions based on what I'd just read, and I think I got three right. Then they put a computer on my eyes, showing where my eyes went when I read.

"My eyes would jump four words and go back two words, and I also had a little bit of a lazy eye, like a crossed eye, which they always have to correct in photos."

According to MayoClinic, dyslexia is a "learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words". Anxiety and aggression are also listed as complications that can come from the disorder, since those suffering can feel so alone and frustrated, and that's exactly what Jen felt.

"My life was so out of control growing up," she added. "It's very important today for it to be in control. I have to bite my tongue sometimes if I'm on a movie, when I think I can figure out how to make this problem that they're having go smoothly. I just bite my tongue, especially with a bad director. Some directors are just like – oh God, oh God, oh God! I have to just suffer through it."

As for her anger, she's learnt how to interpret, and manage, it.

RELATED: Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian are all obsessed with this cult moisturiser

"I always thought, if you're angry you just don’t say anything," Jen explained. "I would come out passive, things would come out passively. But it doesn’t have to be black or white. You don’t have to be a hysterical human being and have veins popping out of your neck and turn bright red and terrify people – or else keep quiet and put your head in the sand.

"I used to loathe confrontation. Loathe it. I understood anger, but I didn't know that you should express it. Which has been something that I've really tried to work on."

Dyslexia Awareness Month begins on 1 October, and global charity Made By Dyslexia will be leading the charge with their This Is Dyslexia campaign.

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.