The beloved sitcom Friends is widely considered one of the greatest shows of all time. Friends became a cultural phenomenon with its iconic theme song, trendsetting fashion, and memorable catchphrases. The series has become a defining aspect of the 1990’s.
Friends aired for 10 seasons from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The critically acclaimed series won several awards, including the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. David Crane and Marta Kauffman created the series that has influenced an entire generation. The ensemble cast was highly praised and became some of the biggest celebs in the world. Friends starred Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, and Matt LeBlanc. Its popularity seems never-ending and despite being off the air, the show is still gaining new fans.
Friends has one of the most loyal and hardcore fanbases among other shows. Fans of the series know every detail and behind-the-scenes stories. Well, at least that’s what most fans think. The show has such a long and deep history that there are few things fans might not know. In fact, the producers of the series went to great painstaking efforts to keep some facts hidden. There are some dirty and juicy secrets the producers hoped would never come out. Here is a look at 15 Dirty Secrets They Hid From You About the Friends cast.
15. Matt LeBlanc’s Divorce
Joey Tribbiani was a ladies man that could get any woman he wanted just by saying, “How You Doin’?” It appears that Matt LeBlanc can get any woman too but just needs a divorce first. This secret is actually from the Friends spin-off, Joey. Joey aired for two seasons from 2004 to 2006. The series was cancelled in the middle of the second season due to low ratings. The series starred LeBlanc reprising his role as Joey, and included Drea de Matteo, Paulo Costanzo, and Andrea Anders. In 2003, LeBlanc married former model Melissa McKnight. In 2006, he sent shockwaves around the world when he filed for divorce. Melissa was caught off guard with the unexpected divorce. Many of his friends were also shocked by the revelation. At the time, rumors circulated that his co-star, Andrea Anders, was the reason for the divorce. In fact, after his divorce was finalized, he began to openly date Anders.
14. Live Audiences
Friends was often praised for the cast, writing, and directing. However, the series was also known for their exciting and mysterious season finale cliffhangers. The finales would leave fans clamoring for the new season and dying to find out what happens next. The series featured numerous memorable cliffhangers, such as Ross & Rachel marrying in Vegas, the revelation that Rachel is pregnant, and the time Ross said Rachel’s name instead of Emily. Like most sitcoms, Friends was filmed in front of a live audience in order to have authentic and real laughs. However, not every scene was shot in front of a live audience. The season finale cliffhangers were top secret, and the producers did everything to keep a lid on the surprise. The cliffhangers were never shot in front of a live audience in order to refrain from having spoilers. Additionally, they often would change laughs and reactions to situations if the audience didn’t react the way they wanted.
13. Matt LeBlanc And The Aggressive Fan
Friends reached a height of popularity and success that nobody ever dreamed possible. During the series’ run, Friends often ranked in the top 10 shows in terms of ratings and popularity. The series has a massive and fiercely loyal fanbase. Friends had a huge cultural impact with women copying Rachel’s hairstyle and fashion sense. The male cast members had to deal with an increase in attention from female fans. Matt LeBlanc noted that just after the series’ conclusion, he met a fan while on a road trip to Canada. He was very intoxicated and the fan took advantage of that. She was very physically aggressive and soon started to cross the line. Despite being drunk out his mind, LeBlanc knew this was a bad idea. LeBlanc felt he was being “careless” and “irresponsible.” He got out of the situation before it could go too far. It was the mature thing to do, although Joey would be disappointed.
The season 8 episode “The One Where Rachel Tells…” contained a storyline of Chandler and Monica leaving for their honeymoon. They become jealous of a newly-wedded couple that receives a bunch of perks by arriving just before they do. However, this wasn’t the intended storyline for Monica and Chandler in this episode. The original storyline was significantly different. They shot and completed filming a completely different subplot that revolved around Chandler joking about having bombs on the plane. Airport security takes the threat seriously and interrogates Chandler and Monica. However, the episode aired on October 11, 2001, exactly one month after the September 11th attacks in New York City, the series’ setting. The writers felt that the storyline was in bad taste so they scrapped the subplot and wrote the new one involving the newlyweds. The season premiere aired on September 27th and was dedicated to “The people of New York City.”
11. ‘No Sleeping Together’ Contract
One would assume that when six gorgeous people spend countless hours together, someone is bound to sleep with the other. All six stars often found their dating lives in the headlines although it was never with each other. For years, rumors have persisted that the cast was forced to sign a ‘No Sleeping Together’ contract, which would prevent anything from happening between the cast members. It was even speculated that it was Courteney Cox that asked them to sign the contract. Courteney said, “Ha ha, there’s no pact, there’s never been a pact.” However, that didn’t stop the rumors from swirling. In 2016, the cast (minus Matthew Perry) briefly reunited to honor James Burrows. They were asked about the contract and if they were forbidden from sleeping together. They all denied the contract and David Schwimmer joked that if there was a contract it would’ve been broken.
10. Too Much Plastic Surgery
Courteney Cox rose to fame with her portrayal of the uptight and controlling Monica Geller. She also starred in the Scream franchise and sitcom Cougar Town. Courteney has been in the spotlight for over 20 years, and her appearance has changed drastically over time. During Friends, all the women were accused of abusing plastic surgery and Courteney was the main target. She denied having any surgery done but admitted to Botox and laser treatments. Recently, Courteney finally admitted to the plastic surgery and regrets her decision to change her appearance. She has had many of her fillings dissolved in an attempt to look as natural as possible. She turned to plastic surgery because of the pressure to look young but now accepts growing old. She said, “I feel better because I look like myself. I think that I now look more like the person that I was. I hope I do.”
9. The Pie Chart
This one isn’t really a dirty secret but the writers probably wouldn’t like fans knowing their process. Co-creator David Crane wanted to ensure that all six cast members were equal and had equal amount of opportunities to shine. The cast was known for sticking together and making sure each actor got his/her fair share. First, the cast insisted they all get the same salary. They were considered the first true ensemble cast with no one character dominating the series. During the first season, they only agreed to appear in photoshoots and covers together. Additionally, they all entered into the same acting categories at award shows. The writers put in great effort to ensure that each character had equal amount of screen time. The writer’s room included a pie chart to make sure each character was getting equal storylines and jokes per episode.
8. Matthew Perry Rehab
During Friends, Matthew Perry struggled with addiction and tried his best to keep it a secret. His personal demons are now well-known to the public. But at the time, there was an attempt to keep it hidden. Perry often showed up on set hungover but never high or drunk. He said in People, “I was never high at work. I was painfully hungover. Then eventually, things got so bad I couldn’t hide it and everybody knew.” In 1997, he completed his first stint in rehab for Vicodin addiction. In 2001, he entered rehab for the second time for opioids, alcohol, and amphetamines. His weight drastically fluctuated throughout the series and at one point, he weighed as little as 145 lbs. He has overcome his personal issues and has been clean and sober. In 2013, he received a Champion of Recovery Award from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for opening a sober-living home in his former mansion known as Perry House.
7. Cast Salary
This is more a “dirty secret” for those who run the networks. They don’t want this secret out because they hope no other cast bands together like the stars of Friends did. All six members of the cast were relatively unknown before their big breakthrough. They became six of the most famous celebrities in the world. They also became the fifth richest cast in TV history. In season 1, all six were paid $22,500 per episode. In the second season, they all received different amounts ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 per episode. Before the start of the third season, the cast had gained considerable leverage due to the success. They decided to enter collective negotiations, meaning they’d all receive the same salary, which is unheard of in television. In the final two seasons, each cast member was making a whopping $1 million per episode. This made Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow the highest paid actresses on TV.
6. Phoebe The Goth
Lisa Kudrow was universally praised for her portrayal of the eccentric and ditzy Phoebe Buffay. Prior to Friends, Lisa had actually been cast as Roz Doyle in the sitcom Frasier. However, she was recast during the filming of the pilot. Later, she landed her breakthrough role as Phoebe but she wasn’t the first choice. In fact, comedian Ellen DeGeneres was considered for the role before turning it down. The series and character went through many rewrites before it became what it is today. Originally, Phoebe was envisioned as being a goth character but during the rewrite process, that changed. At the goth stage of the character, the role was offered to comedian Janeane Garofalo but she turned it down. Garofalo said about the role, “Long ago, before Friends was Friends, when it was in its infancy, it was a show called Friends Like Us, and I was being considered for a role, like a goth girl, which I think morphed into Phoebe.”
5. Matthew Perry And Bruce Willis Make A Bet
This isn’t really a dirty secret but more of a fun fact about Friends. Friends featured many memorable guest stars, including Tom Selleck, Christina Appelgate, and Brad Pitt. However, Bruce Willis’ portrayal of Paul Stevens and feud with Ross Geller stands above the rest. Bruce agreed to the guest role after losing a bet to Matthew Perry. Perry and Willis starred in the 2000 film The Whole Nine Yards. Willis believed the film would be a massive failure while Perry bet that it would be a success. The film ended up doing very well at the box office and even led to a sequel. Obviously, Willis lost the bet but there was another part to it. The other part was Willis didn’t get paid for the role and did it for free. Instead, his appearance fee was donated to charity. Bruce won a Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Guest Star in a Comedy. So really, in the end, everyone ended up winning.
4. Lisa Kudrow Thought Chandler Was Gay
Chandler Muriel Bing wasn’t a man’s man or a tough guy. For most of the series, Chandler has difficulties when it came to relationships. His most serious relationship was with Janice until he ends up with the love of his life. Chandler marries his soulmate, Monica Geller, in the 7th season. Of course, his other soulmate was his best friend and roommate, Joey. Matthew Perry was praised for his role as Chandler. However, early on, many fans of the series actually thought Chandler was gay. They weren’t the only ones, though, as Lisa Kudrow even noted that she thought Chandler was gay as well. The rumors became so intense that the writers felt they had to clarify. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the writers said, “No, Chandler isn’t gay. Nor will he be gay.” That really didn’t stop the rumors nor did his marriage to Monica.
3. Matt LeBlanc DUI
It appears that Matt LeBlanc had some issues with drinking and driving before he became a household name. He rose to fame with his role as Joey in Friends. After the series concluded, he played a fictionalized version of himself in the critically acclaimed sitcom, Episodes. He currently stars in the CBS series Man with a Plan. LeBlanc has had his fair share of ups and downs. Prior to his fame and success on Friends, LeBlanc had a few run-ins with the law but was lucky that it never became a big story. In fact, LeBlanc himself is the one that revealed his past issues. Before his breakthrough, he was charged with DUIs on two different occasions. He admits he’s lucky and surprised this story wasn’t uncovered at the height of Friends’ popularity. He said, “(I was caught) twice, I think. When I was young and stupid. I wasn’t driving fast, just crooked. The press never got hold of the mugshots. I was lucky.”
2. Courteney Cox’s Hidden Pregnancy
Pregnancy and having children played an important part of the series both on and off-screen. On screen, Ross Geller was a baby-making machine. He had a son with his ex-wife, Carol, and later, a daughter with Rachel. Real-life pregnancies created some interesting situations for the writers. During season four, the writers decided to work Lisa Kudrow’s real-life pregnancy into the show. In the series, Phoebe (Kudrow) becomes a surrogate for her brother, Frank, and his wife, Alice. A similar situation occurred in the final season as well. Courteney Cox was pregnant during the season but her pregnancy was kept a secret. Instead, the show found different ways to hide her pregnancy through wardrobe and carefully-placed shots. The reason it couldn’t be worked into the storyline because it was already established that Monica (Cox) and Chandler couldn’t have kids and had to adopt instead.
1. Not All Are Friends
Friends revolved around six 20-something friends living in New York City struggling with life and love. They manage to get through tough times with each other’s help. Despite playing best friends and appearing to be a tight cast, the six friends weren’t as tight as many assume. Jennifer Aniston was praised for her role as the stuck-up Rachel Green. Jennifer and Rachel might have more in common than people realize. Jennifer Aniston appears to only be close friends with a few cast members. Throughout the series, rumors circulated that Aniston didn’t get along with Courteney Cox, although they later became BFFs. In fact, Courteney served as Aniston’s maid of honor when she married Justin Theroux. She appears to have remained friends with Lisa Kudrow who was invited to her wedding as well. However, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc were all snubbed and not invited to the big event. However, all three say they’re okay with not being invited.
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