In a bombshell disclosure about her personal life, Jennifer Aniston has revealed that the true love of her life was a man she dated more than 20 years ago. “He was my first love,” she said in a Jan. 7 New York Times Interview. “Five years we were together. he would have been The One. But I was 25, and I was stupid.”
While Jen didn’t identify her mystery beau, Star has learned that the man who captured her heart was actor Daniel McDonald — who tragically died from a brain tumor in 2007 at the age of 46. “They were most definitely in love,” Daniel’s older brother Casey now reveals. “I believed Daniel wanted to marry her. It was a remarkably profound relationship. But things happened, and they both moved on.”
Jen met Daniel in New York City in the early ’90s, following her split from actor Charlie Schlatter. But by 1995, they had gone their separate ways: Jennifer had move to Los Angeles and landed her breakout role on Friends, while her longtime love stayed in New York to work on Broadway. Daniel — a Tony-nominated actor and singer, who also appeared in films — went on to marry Moroccan-born actress Mujah Maraini-Melehi in 1999; Jen wed Brad Pitt a year later.
In 2007, Daniel’s life was cut short when he lost his battle with brain cancer, leaving behind his wife and two children. Jen presumably hadn’t spoken to him in years at the time of his death, but she admits that she still thinks of him often — and even gives him credit for helping her find her current love. “He must have sent Justin to make up for it all,” Jen said in the interview, referring to fiancee Justin Theroux, who friends say reminds the actress of Daniel in many ways.
It’s clear that Jen isn’t the only one who hold a special place in her heart for Daniel: Many of his friends and family members remember him as a wonderful man and a loving father. But Casey, for one, is touched to know that his brother made such a deep impression on the superstar actress. “I think it’s really extraordinary,” he says. “Jennifer’s remembering him now and seeing him in that capacity — in a spiritual way to impact her life.”