It seems like just yesterday that season one of Friends aired. We all wondered: “is this good enough to stay on TV? We’ve already got Seinfeld and Frasier; do we really need yet another New York City sitcom about people that just can’t get it right?” Apparently, we did: Friends ran for ten years, giving us some tearful moments, belly-aching laughs, heartfelt sighs, and plenty of terrible jokes that we’d be repeating for the rest of our lives. We all loved Friends and we’ve all been prone to flip on reruns of the show at odd hours of the day when we assuredly were shrugging off more pressing responsibilities. Then, with the creation of Netflix’s online streaming, we all got addicted to the show again. It’s shocking how long we’ll plant ourselves in front of the show, as if we’ve never seen it before! We’ve gotten pulled in all over again by this quirky, ridiculous group of friends that have entirely too much free time on their hands (they spend so much time just hanging out; how do they afford to live there?).
Though it seems like no time has passed since we first met Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Joey, it’s been decades since their foray into the sitcom began. And all those characters we met along the way, boyfriends and girlfriends of the main characters, coworkers, frenemies – it’s been ages for them, too, even though we’re more likely to know them by their character names than their real names. We’ve all kept up with the main cast but where did all these other characters go, the ones that drove the show forward? Check it out: here are our favorite secondary characters from Friends and where they are now.
We’re not talking about Janice’s ex-husband; we’re talking about Phoebe’s cop boyfriend! Gary showed up in season five and, though their relationship didn’t last overwhelmingly long, his time with Phoebe was all about the sex. Phoebe wasn’t the only one that benefited from her overly-sexual relationship; their sex-talk motivated Monica to get more intimate with Chandler!
So where did Gary go after he shot a bird outside of Phoebe’s window (yeah, that’s why they broke up; wow, he was kind of crazy)? Actor Michael Rapaport has gotten plenty of work over the years and still acts today, though he’s best known for his work in The 6th Day and Men of Honor. He also had starring roles in Hitch and the more recent movie The Heat. He’ll be starring in two different TV series coming out late this year and early next year, Crisis in Six Scenes and New Edition, respectively.
Shortly after Monica and Chandler got married, they were ready to start having kids. Though they couldn’t have kids themselves, they found a great woman having twins that let them adopt her children: Erica! The adorably sweet, yet incredibly dim-witted woman, was the source of a lot of humor throughout the pregnancy.
That adorably sweet young woman was Anna Faris! Anna was doing great in her career when she came on to Friends; she’d already made her mark with the Scary Movie franchise and starred in movies like Lost in Translation and The Hot Chick. But after she left the sitcom, she went on to gain incredible success in her professional career with movies as awesome and diverse as Brokeback Mountain, The House Bunny, and What’s Your Number? Now she has her own sitcom with Allison Janney, Mom, and is married to Chris Pratt. Life is pretty awesome for Anna!
David was always an awkward guy. One of Phoebe’s few long-term boyfriends (arguably her first serious love interest), David and Phoebe went together very well until he abruptly was called away to work in Minsk. Though he returned on a few occasions to try to win back her affections, the relationship was never able to be reconstructed.
David was played by comic genius Hank Azaria. Hank is best known for his recurring roles on The Simpsons (he’s been voicing the parts of Apu, Chief Wiggum, Snake Jailbird, Professor Frink, Moe Szyslak, and Comic Book Guy, as well as many others, for decades now), but he’s had plenty of work you might recognize him from: Godzilla, The Smurfs, Night at the Museum, or Dodgeball. Plus, he’s getting his own TV series next year: Brockmire, which is about a former baseball player picking up the pieces of his life.
12. Mark Robinson
Mark was a coworker of Rachel’s when he left the waitressing business and got a job working at Bloomingdales. Mark was actually the guy that got Rachel the job, and the two forged a strong friendship quickly, much to Ross’ chagrin (this, of course, was when Ross and Rachel were still dating; don’t beat yourself up for struggling to remember, it’s hard to keep track). The two were thick friends until the fateful night of “the break.” When Rachel suggested her relationship with Ross go on a break, Mark came over to comfort Rachel and, when Ross found out, he cheated on her (or not, because THEY WERE ON A BREAK). Once the relationship formally dissolved, Mark revealed he always had feelings for Rachel.
So where did Mark go after Rachel sent him packing? Mark was played by actor Steven Eckholdt, who is still a very successful film and television actor today. Though he’s best known for his work in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he’s still very talented and very employable; some of his most recent guest roles were on Maron, Rizzoli & Isles, and Bones.
11. Pete Becker
Monica dated a good amount of guys before she ended up settling down with Chandler, but none of them could ever have hoped to measure up to how awesome Pete was. Though he introduced himself as the lovable loser that fell in love with Monica at her crappy job at a diner, he turned out to be a genius and an independently wealthy entrepreneur. He even bought a restaurant so that he could convince Monica to work there so she might fall in love with him. Their relationship was rocky and unfortunately ended when Pete made the stupid mistake of thinking he could become the next Ultimate Fighter.
Pete was played by the incredibly talented Jon Favreau. Though he’s not known for a ton of his acting roles anymore, he’s graduated to the next level of Hollywood import: producing and directing. Some of our favorite movies and television shows had this man behind the scenes pulling the strings, including the Iron Man trilogy, Cowboys and Aliens, and the show Revolution.
Remember Julie? After leaving town for work, Rachel realized that she loved Ross and wanted to take a huge leap of faith and tell him in hopes that they could be together. Rachel rushed to the airport, hurried to the gate, and met Ross at the door… with his new girlfriend Julie, whom he met on his trip. Julie had known Ross since their time together in graduate school, and the two meeting while on separate business trips was a serendipitous calling for them to be together – until Rachel sabotaged everything and got them broken up.
Actress Lauren Tom has stayed plenty busy, though you might not have known it was the same Julie from Friends. You’ve likely heard some of her incredibly prolific work in her voice acting; she’s been in Futurama, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Teen Titans Go! You may have also seen her in Pretty Little Liars, Bad Teacher, or Supernatural.
9. Frank Buffay Jr.
There are a lot of things about Phoebe’s life that are further elucidated upon over the course of the series: we find out that the woman who raised Phoebe, until committing suicide, wasn’t Phoebe’s biological mother after all; we discover that her biological father was not only a scum bag to her family, but to his second family as well; and, best of all, we meet Phoebe’s half-brother Frank Jr., played by Giovanni Ribisi. Though he’s definitely an odd character (even by Phoebe’s standards), Phoebe grows to be very close with Frank and even carries the triplets his wife and he needed a surrogate for.
These days, Giovanni is doing better than ever. Some of his most notable roles are in such amazing blockbusters as Ted, Avatar, and Saving Private Ryan. He’s able to swing utterly hilarious roles that remind us of his time acting beside Lisa Kudrow, and he’s able to pull off some incredibly dramatic roles as well. There’s no shortage of Giovanni in film today!
8. Charlie Wheeler
Charlie Wheeler is a professor of paleontology that met Ross at a party. When he was too shy to properly flirt with her, he procrastinated just too long and left an opening for someone else to swoop in and ask her out first. Unfortunately, that somebody turned out to be Joey! Though Joey was into her for her incredibly good looks, Ross fell in love with her for her shocking intelligence, amazing support, and fun-loving personality. Things ended up not working out between them because of, you guessed it, Rachel.
Actress Aisha Tyler has done incredibly well since the end of Friends. This brilliant beauty is actually the voice behind one of our favorite animated characters, Lana on Archer! She’s also consistently on Criminal Minds and Whose Line is it Anyway. She is, of course, very talented and it’s a shame we don’t get to see her more than we already do!
7. Dr. Richard Burke
Tom Selleck is famous for so much of his career: from his time on Magnum, P.I. to the ridiculous 3 Men and a Baby, he’s widely known for his smooth charisma and that killer mustache. He was known to Friends fans as Dr. Richard Burke, long time friend of Mr. Geller and adoring boyfriend of Monica Geller. Dr. Burke was totally in love with Monica but was unable to give her the young family she desired so, sadly, it couldn’t work out.
Wondering what Tom Selleck has been up to? He’s just as busy as ever, actually! He currently leads the cast and stars in Blue Bloods, which is a crime drama about a New York City family of cops. He’s also working on another Jesse Stone TV movie, his ninth project in the crime series! He’s just as busy (and somehow, just as attractive) as ever… and yes, he’s still sporting the iconic mustache.
6. Susan Bunch
Susan wasn’t exactly the most lovable character, especially in Ross’ opinion. Susan stole away the affections of Carol Willick, Ross’ first wife. It’s hard to be mad at Susan when, truthfully, all she did was help Carol realize who she really was and what she really wanted. Plus, she was always an amazing mother to Ben (arguably better than Ross was as a father). However, her successful relationship with Carol did seem to rub Ross’ nose in a good thing…
Susan was played by actress Jessica Hecht, who has actually been staying much busier since the end of Friends. While she’s continued her work in television with roles on shows like Jessica Jones, Limitless, Person of Interest, and Breaking Bad, she’s also had roles in movies like Anesthesia, The Sisterhood of Night, and The English Teacher. Most recently, she’s starred in the TV movie The Interestings as a mother of an artistic teen.
5. Emily Waltham
Emily was just visiting New York City when she met Ross and was so taken that they ran off to a Vermont bed and breakfast. After only a couple of weeks the two got engaged, and a wedding was to be planned for only a month later! Everything looked bright and exciting for Ross and Emily’s’ future, until they rushed into the wedding too fast and Rachel’s feelings for Ross interfered with everything. Emily disappeared abruptly from Ross’ life and was rarely heard from again.
Where did she end up after her bout on Friends? Actress Helen Baxendale was most famous in the 90s for her appearance on series like Cardiac Arrest and Cold Feet, but she’s stayed surprisingly successful! She now stars on the series Cuckoo alongside Andy Samberg and Greg Davies, but she can also be seen on Law & Order: UK, Kidnap and Ransom, and Midsomer Murders.
4. Carol Willick
Though most of the drama surrounding Carol wasn’t shown on Friends, it all seriously impacted Ross and his many future relationships. Carol was Ross’ first wife, and she left him for a woman (remember Susan?). However, she was kind enough to keep Ross heavily involved in her life by having his son, Ben.
So whatever happened to Carol, known in real life as Jane Sibbett? Jane is still acting, though not a whole lot. She most recently starred in Jessica Darling’s It List, but she’d taken a long break from acting before the movie to raise her three children and care for her six horses (oh yeah, Jane’s a real life cowgirl). However, she voiced a dog in Snow Dogs, guest starred on Ally McBeal, and starred in the (terrible) TV movie Au Pair in between her appearances on Friends, so it’s entirely possible you’ve seen her somewhere else!
3. Mike Hannigan
Mike wasn’t the kind of guy that we thought Phoebe would end up with (honestly, we all thought she’d end up with David), but he was perfect for her. Played by Paul Rudd, this rebellious rich boy always knew he was in love with Phoebe though he struggled to come to terms with the commitment. His adorable personality somehow perfectly matched Phoebe’s.
Paul Rudd was a pretty popular name back then, but he’s a household name now. Not only is he well known for his comedic roles in the Anchorman movies, Role Models, I Love You Man, and The 40-Year Old Virgin, but he’s even better known for bringing to life the superhero Ant-Man. He’s had his own movie opposite Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas and also played an important part in Captain America: Civil War. Everyone is very excited for his next installment in the Avengers franchise, Ant-Man and The Wasp!
Janice was that horrible girlfriend of Chandler’s that just kept reappearing when she was least wanted. Her nasal voice was enough to drive anyone insane, but her knack for showing up at the absolute worst times (like right after her separation from her husband, or right after her official divorce, or when Chandler messed up Monica’s Valentine’s Day gift, or Rachel was in labor at the hospital) was what made her existence on the show tolerably hilarious.
OH. MY. GOD. Where has Janice been all these years since the show ended? Actress Maggie Wheeler has been keeping busy, though not nearly as busy as she was on Friends, with occasional guest appearances in TV series like Maron, I Didn’t Do It, Californication, and Hot in Cleveland. She’s also been recruited for her iconic, though sometimes annoying, voice for gigs in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Unsupervised, and Archer.
Gunther, the horribly awkward man that worked at The Central Perk (yes: the one who was entirely too obsessed with Rachel and hilariously vindictive towards Ross), was always hanging around the group. In fact, aside from the main cast members, James Michael Tyler (the actor who played Gunther) appeared in the most episodes! The weirdo barista was always an unwanted presence around the tight-knit group of friends, but he was always an uncomfortable and awkward addition to comedic scene.
So where did this oddball go after the end of Friends? James Michael Tyler has backed away from acting over the past few years, though he didn’t go out with a fizzle! He starred in Modern Music, guest starred in Scrubs, and played himself several times in a few shorts and TV shows. Must be nice to make your wealth early on in your career and be able to retire early!
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