Jennifer Aniston
Photo: Getty

The Friends reunion was even more emotional than what we saw on our screens.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer Aniston opened up about revisiting the set of the hit ’90s sitcom with her former costars earlier this year, admitting that the reunion unexpectedly made her confront “the hardest time” of her life.

“I think we were just so naive walking into it, thinking, ‘How fun is this going to be? They’re putting the sets back together, exactly as they were.’ Then you get there and it’s like, ‘Oh right, I hadn’t thought about what was going on the last time I was actually here,'” Aniston told the outlet. “It just took me by surprise because it was like, ‘Hi, past, remember me? Remember how that sucked? You thought everything was in front of you and life was going to be just gorgeous and then you went through maybe the hardest time in your life?'”

She went on to add that she had to walk out of the reunion while they were filming. “It was all very jarring and, of course, you’ve got cameras everywhere and I’m already a little emotionally accessible, I guess you could say,” she said. “I had to walk out at certain points. I don’t know how they cut around it.”

When asked what she thought her life would be like after the show ended, Aniston said her personal life had “shape-shifted.”

Related article: Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, And Lisa Kudrow Had A Mini Friends Reunion

'Friends' Reunion Special
Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc at the Friends reunion special.
Photo: Terence Patrick

“The career was one thing. I didn’t know what was coming, and that’s been nothing but blessed. It’s a different caliber of work but I love it, no matter what, even if it’s a terribly reviewed, dumb comedy, it doesn’t matter if it brings me joy,” the Morning Show actress explained. “It was more personal stuff that I had expectations about that sort of shape-shifted, so to speak. That was what was jarring, that we all had an idea of what the future was going to be and we were going to go hunker down and focus on this or that and then it all just changed overnight, and that was it. But again, everything’s a blessing if you’re able to look at life’s ups and downs in that way. And if it all hadn’t happened, I would not be sitting here the woman that I am.”

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Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004, coincided with Aniston’s marriage to Brad Pitt, which lasted from 2000 to 2005 and was obsessively covered—particularly during its painful dissolution—by the tabloids. Though she doesn’t name Pitt specifically during the THR interview, she does address what it’s like having to go through deeply personal matters in a public spotlight.

“I also grew up watching someone [Aniston’s late mother, actress Nancy Dow] sit comfortably in victimhood, and I didn’t like how it looked. I knew that this person was giving me an example of what I’d never want to be, and I will never ever be that,” she said. “I think it’s toxic, and it erodes your insides and your soul. And listen, is it a sliver of an annoyance to have to publicly go through dark shit in front of the world? Yes, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s all relative. So, I had a choice to make: Either I’m going to surrender into bonbons and living under my covers or I’m going to go out there and find a creative outlet and thrive, and that’s what I did. It just happened to be with a movie called The Break-Up. [Laughs.]”

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.

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