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The ‘Friends’ Cast: How They’re Doin’ Since The Show Ended 20 Years Ago

These cast members are our lobsters! 


There are very few sitcoms and cast members that have remained as iconic and relevant as Friends, which aired on NBC from 1994-2004. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the show centers around six twenty-something-year-olds trying to make their way in New York City in the 1990s and 2000s. It’s filled with lovable characters, hilarious one-liners, swoon-worthy love stories and, of course, the Central Perk Coffee House decorated with a bright orange couch. So grab yourself a latte and learn what the beloved Friends cast has been up to since the show ended 20 years ago.

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green 

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green 
1994/2024; Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty

Born in Sherman Oaks, California, Jennifer Aniston was relatively unknown before she joined the Friends cast in 1994. But that all changed when she got the call that she was going to play the spoiled, self-centered and stylish Rachel Green. 

It wasn’t smooth sailing getting there, though, since Aniston was already cast as Madeline Cooper on short lived sitcom Muddling Through when she went out for Friends. In fact, she even went to the producers of Muddling Through and asked to be released from her contract, but they refused. During Friends: The Reunion in 2021, Aniston recalled what happened during that conversation. 

MUST READ: Jennifer Aniston Young: 16 Rare Photos That You Have to See to Believe

“That’s when he [the producer] said, ‘I’ve seen that show Friends, I saw that show,'” Aniston recalled. “I saw the pilot. That’s not going to make you a star. This show will make you a star.’ And then the rest is history.”

And it was! Aniston played Rachel through the entire run, earning four Emmy nominations and one Emmy win during that time. Since then, she has appeared in a plethora of things, such as Marley & Me (2008), Just Go with It (2011), We’re the Millers (2013), Murder Mystery (2019) and The Morning Show (2019-2023), which earned her another Emmy nomination. 

Did you know? Two of Aniston’s significant others were guest stars on Friends. Her ex-boyfriend Tate Donovan starred as Joshua Burgin for five episodes in 1998, and her ex-husband Brad Pitt was in an episode in 2001. 

MUST READ: ‘Friends’ Flashback: See All of Rachel’s Boyfriends Then and Now

Courteney Cox as Monica Geller: Friends cast

The clean freak and competitive Monica Geller could only be played by Courteney Cox. Coming into Friends, Cox was considered the most well-known due to her work in Family Ties in 1989 and Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 music video for “Dancing in the Dark.”

Even still, the Friends team wanted her — although originally the show’s creators approached her for the part of Rachel. Cox, however, fought them on it, saying she was more of a Monica. 

“For some reason, I thought I related more to Monica, which maybe it’s because I do,” Cox explained. “I’m very similar to her … I’m not as clean as Monica, but I am neat. And I’m not as competitive, even though some people, my partner (musician) Johnny McDaid, would say I am.”

Courteney Cox as Monica Geller Friends cast
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller (2004)

MUST READ: 10 Must See Photos of Courteney Cox Young 

The show’s creators agreed, and soon, Cox was cast as Monica Geller.  

During and after Friends, Cox continued to work on things such as the Scream franchise (1996, 1997, 2000 and 2023), Cougar Town (2009-2015) and Shining Vale (2022 – 2023).  

Did you know? Cox was the only cast member not to receive an Emmy nomination for her work on the show. 

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay 

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay
1994/; Kevin Winter / Staff/Getty

Lisa Kudrow was another actress with only a few credits before she got cast as the carefree and happy Phoebe Buffay. In 1992, she had a 23-episode stint on Mad About You, and it was her work on that show that got her an audition for Friends. And while it seemed like a dream role, Kudrow had other thoughts at the show’s beginning, recalling that she didn’t think Phoebe fit in with the other six. 

“Shooting the pilot that week, I was like, ‘All right, here we go,'” Kudrow said. “And Phoebe was not the character that was part of this group, really. There was a struggle.” 

Soon after, though, Kudrow found her footing and soon became the first person in the cast to win an Emmy. 

Kudrow can now be seen in shows like The Good Place, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Scandal. 

MUST READ: Lisa Kudrow Young: 10 Must-See Photos of the ‘Friends’ Star Through the Years

Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani Friends cast

Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani Friends cast
1994/; Momodu Mansaray / Stringer/Getty

How you doin? Yep, we all know the phrase, and it was coined by none other than Matt LeBlanc, who played the pizza-loving Joey Tribbiani. He even showed up at the audition in a true Joey moment, with a huge scab on my face. 

“I was practicing lines with an actor friend of mine, and he said, ‘This show [Friends] is all about a group of friends, so we should go out tonight and get drunk as if we were friends,” Leblanc recalled in the 2021 reunion. “So we went out, and I fell down and skinned my nose really badly. I went to the audition with a huge scab on my face.” 

Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani Friends cast
Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow (2004)

Still, LeBlanc won the role and stole viewers’ hearts for 10 seasons. He also earned three Emmy nominations for his work on Friends. 

After leaving Central Perk, Leblanc continues acting in shows like Man With a Plan (2016-2020) and Episodes (2011-2017), earning him four more Emmy nominations. 

Did you know? LeBlanc’s character Joey had a spin-off show called Joey. It followed his character’s journey as he tried to move to Los Angeles and ran for two seasons from 2004 to 2006. 

Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing

Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
1994/2022; Phillip Faraone / Stringer/Getty

The late and great Matthew Perry took on the role of the sarcastic, sweet, and oh-so-relatable Chandler Bing. Similar to Aniston, Perry was on a another show called L.A.X 2194 while he was simultaneously trying to get cast on Friends

The actor knew that Chandler was the role for him, though, so he never gave up, and in the end he was cast as Chandler. Perry was also the inspiration for his characters’ key personality traits on the show. 

“The creators took each of us out for lunch, too, to get to know us so they could incorporate some aspects of our real personalities into the show. At my lunch, I said two things: one, that even though I considered myself not unattractive, I had terrible luck with women and that my relationships tended toward the disastrous; and two, that I was not comfortable in any silence at all — I have to break any such moment with a joke.” Perry wrote in his book, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

“And this became a built-in excuse for Chandler Bing to be funny — perfect for a sitcom — and Chandler wasn’t much good with women, either (as he shouts at Janice as she leaves his apartment, ‘I’ve scared ya; I’ve said too much; I’m awkward and hopeless and desperate for love!’). But think of a better character for a sitcom: someone who is uncomfortable in the silence and has to break the silence with a joke.” 

Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing
Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox (2004)

Perry earned one Emmy nomination for his time on the show and went on to star in projects like 17 Again (2009), Birds of America (2008), and The Odd Couple (2015-2017) after Friends wrapped in 2004. 

Perry tragically died in 2023. 

Did you know? Perry’s natural ability for comedy had both writers and fellow actors on the show come up to him and ask him for advice on how to either write a line or how to deliver it. 

MUST READ: 10 Surprising Behind-the-Scenes Secrets About Matthew Perry’s Time on ‘Friends’

David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller: Friends cast

David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller Friends cast
1994/; Dominik Bindl / Contributor/Getty

Rounding out the Friends cast is none other than David Schwimmer, who played paleontologist and professor Dr. Ross Geller. Schwimmer was the first-person cast on the show and was nominated for an Emmy during its second season. 

Schwimmer has always shown his love and appreciation to his fellow Friends cast members, and even went as far as to praise them in 2012, saying, “The miracle is the casting. Having been on the other side of it now in terms of directing and producing, to find one magical actor who is just right for the role is difficult enough, but to find six and then to have them actually have chemistry with each other is just kind of a miracle.” 

“I looked at the five of them. I watched their work and thought, Everyone is just so talented and perfect for their character. And they grew into their characters and enriched them and deepened them.” 

David Schwimmer as Dr. Ross Geller
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston (2004)

Schwimmer earned two more Emmy nominations after leaving Friends, one for American Crime Story in 2016 and the other for Friends: The Reunion in 2021. His most recent project is an indie film called Little Death, which came out in 2024.

Did you know? Schwimmer was about ready to give up film acting and go back to local theater, before he booked Friends.

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