The ‘Friends’ cast reunited for this week’s People Mag cover ahead of their reunion

Stephen King rushes into his appearance on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert'

It sometimes amazes me how much energy there still is around Friends, a show which started 27 years ago and ended 17 years ago. I’m choosing to believe that the youths enjoy it because the writing was good (albeit quite dated in today’s world) and because it’s about hanging out and friendships in a pre-social media world. Like, yes, people really used to live like that, sort of. We talked to people in person and people weren’t on their phones constantly. Friends has enjoyed a second and third life on streaming services and in reruns, which is why the actors got massive paychecks to show up for a “reunion” for HBO. To promote it, People Magazine put the Friends actors on this week’s cover. We really are in a time loop and we’ve gone back to 2002 for some reason.

There were tears at the reunion: Walking back onto Stage 24 at Warner Bros. studios, the former castmates — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer — were taken aback by the site of meticulously recreated sets of a world they hadn’t visited in 17 years: Joey and Chandler’s bachelor pad, Monica and Rachel’s apartment, even Central Perk, where the thrift-store-find orange couch was always reserved for them. “I was flooded with 10 years of irreplaceable memories,” Cox, 56, tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s cover story.

A read-through is part of the special: From reminiscing about the show and performing a table read of part of “The One with The Jellyfish” episode to even re-imagining the epic trivia game from season 4 when Joey and Chandler won Monica and Rachel’s apartment, the reunion special also features special guests — like Reese Witherspoon (who played Rachel’s sister), superfan Lady Gaga as well as David Beckham and Justin Bieber.

Where they think their characters would be now: While the special is unscripted, the cast members each have an idea of what their characters would be doing today. “I would like to have maybe started a clothing line of my own, and it’s sort of a small franchise,” says Aniston of Rachel. “Like a Nili Lotan. And I live in New York City on the Upper East Side.” For Cox, “I always just feel like Monica would be doing something competitively with other mothers and trying to outdo them,” she says. “Whether it’s the bake sale at school or something. I mean, she’d be so annoying. She’d be at the head of the PTA or something.”

Phoebe & the rest of them: Kudrow thinks Phoebe “is living in Connecticut with Mike and their kids, and she’s in charge of the arts program for the school,” the actress says. “And just … the advocate for her kids because they’re different like she was.” Chandler “would be a wonderful father,” says Perry, 51. “And a wonderful comedy writer.” LeBlanc says Joey “would have opened a chain of sandwich shops.” Adds Perry: “And eaten all the sandwiches.” As for Ross, aside from “playin’ with the bones” as a paleontologist, Schwimmer, 54, says “he would’ve invested in Joey’s sandwich shop and lost a lot of his savings for his kids.”

[From People]

LOL I guess we’re going to pretend that LeBlanc’s spinoff show never happened! That’s fine, no one watched it anyway. Didn’t Joey move to LA though? I thought that was the premise. And I don’t think Phoebe would be living in Connecticut with Mike! Surely she would still be living in the city? Anyway, HBO dropped a promo, and People Magazine had a video too. Just FYI: the cast members got something like $2.5 million each to show up for one day, hang out together, play games and knock out all of the promo at the same time.

The People Mag video:

Cover courtesy of People.

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66 Responses to “The ‘Friends’ cast reunited for this week’s People Mag cover ahead of their reunion”

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  1. Lively says:

    What is the point of this reunion.

    • Persephone says:

      For the main cast to make $2.5M.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I was never a fan, I didn’t watch the show…but it’s REALLY popular now. All the young 20s in my office obsess over it, quote it daily, post memes of it in their offices. Simple supply and demand. There’s demand, so they make new product. They wouldn’t pay the cast that much if they didn’t think they could make even more.

    • BK says:

      People have been wanting them to get together and do this for YEARS. So just because you’re not interest doesn’t mean that the demand isn’t there

      • Angh says:

        Yeah I’m kind of sick of these I’m so above it and who asked for this reunion posts. Even if you’re not a fan don’t pretend that there hasn’t been a demand for years.

      • MsGnomer says:

        Didnt follow the show closely back in the day, and oblivious to the demand for a reunion. Next thing you know, Bella and Edward will be back. Cant wait.

  2. nutella toast says:

    How much Botox do we think happened to prepare for one day? This has to be dicey promotion for at least Perry following the super creepy dating app video. Had that video come out during the original Friends run, it would have been every headline.

    • Becks1 says:

      So much botox.

      • dogmom says:

        My BF just watched that Apple TV show Jennifer Aniston did with Reese Witherspoon a couple years back and he was like “OMG what did JA do to her face???” He’s absolutely not a Friends fan but he was alive in the ‘90s so he knows what she looked like before all the work. He was shocked.

  3. Northerngirl says:

    They all look super frozen in the face except Matt Leblanc! Not a good look… I still have a soft spot for the show though.. 😉

    • escondista says:

      yes! This cover is all very uncanny valley.

    • Lucy2 says:

      It’s really been oddly retouched, especially Lisa! She looks completely normal in the video, but on the cover there’s something weird. Magazine editors need to stop with the photoshop!

  4. Seraphina says:

    It must be difficult to visit a place set up (meticulously at that) of an era which had so much happiness for them; especially when we are living through a pandemic and a few other crazy events. I know I get teary eyed when I visit the neighborhood I grew up in and a flood of memories all over take me. I was never a Friends fanatic. It was bubblegum TV on a Thursday night as I got ready to go out and meet my friends for a night out.

    • Esmom says:

      I wasn’t a fanatic but I remember hoping my baby/toddler-aged kids would go to bed on the early side so I could catch it, lol. I didn’t watch much, but it was one that I enjoyed.

  5. Lemon says:

    Matthew Perry is not looking so healthy, I hope he’s ok. I didn’t know he was an addict while they were filming!

    This looks fun and fluffy and I’m glad it’s not a new episode or god forbid a reboot. I like that they were a group and refused to be played against each other in contract negotiations, all of them coming out paid the same. I think that was so healthy and translated to the energy on the show.

    Lol, Monica was annoying!!

    • Nina says:

      To be honest, Matthew Perry looks better these days.

      If you watch the show in a short period of time aka binge watching and not like it was aired over the years, Matthew’s weight fluctuation is very apparent.

      • Noki says:

        I remember the episode where he proposes to Monica which was the last of the season,and the beginning of the next they had to be in the same clothes for continuity. He was wearing an orange shirt the difference was huge.

      • MM2 says:

        People aren’t talking about what Mathew Perry looked like weight wise, or in a still picture, but his facial expressions, delayed reactions & slurred speech. Jesus, watching him broke my damn heart. I hope seeing himself at this reunion gets him back on track for whatever is going on, but seeing another human in that state is painful. Glad he has support, care & love.

      • lucy2 says:

        I didn’t notice it in the original run of the show, but rewatching a few years later, it was really obvious. He’s had a tough struggle with it, I always wish him well.

    • Chaine says:

      I watched a clip of some kind of promo for the reunion they did with a People reporter. Matthew did not look or sound well, especially sitting in the same space next to Matt and David who, while clearly older and paunchier than when the show aired, still seemed in good health and humor with normal affect. He’s clearly still struggling.

      • molly says:

        When six, 20-something, relatively unknown people get unimaginable fame and money in Hollywood, it’s unsurprising that someone struggles with addiction.

        Matthew has struggled for decades, and I’m honestly surprised he’s still alive at this point. I continue to wish him well.

    • Amando says:

      Actually, he cleaned up pretty well for this reunion. He’s been looking pretty rough for years.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    A lot of botox at this reunion.

  7. Becks1 says:

    I think part of the appeal of friends was that the premise was so simple – 6 friends in the city, hanging out in their apartments and the local coffee shop. Yes they went to restaurants and shopping and such, but it wasn’t like Sex and the City where NYC itself played a huge role in the show. It could have been almost any other city.

    I think sometimes shows try to get too complicated with their premises, and honestly, I think people just like watching shows about relationships and friendships a lot of the time – see Cheers. Even Big Bang Theory, for its issues, is essentially just friends hanging out in their apartments and sometimes the comic book shop or the lab.

    • SarahCS says:

      I agree, I also tend to prefer the episodes which centre on fairly simple/mundane one episode plots rather than the ones which feed into the big storylines which run through these series. I’m fine with the relationships, jobs, etc. but across the board I tend to enjoy the writing more when it’s just focussed on the small stuff like someone getting locked out of their apartment.

      • Becks1 says:

        It’s why I love the One with the Cheesecakes!! I actually think there’s a bigger plot there but I can’t remember, I just love Monica and Chandler eating all the cheesecake lol. Even on the floor.

        They obviously had to add in some bigger plots but even then I enjoy the ones that are less drama-filled – like the Ross and Rachel one being played out for 10 years was just….too much. Monica and Chandler’s relationship was more fun in my opinion bc there was less drama around it, even with all the secrecy.

      • Brandy Alexander says:

        It was Rachel & Chandler who ate the cheesecake, not Monica. I love that episode too! Especially when they’re eating off of the floor and Joey comes upon them and pulls a fork out of his jacket!

      • Becks1 says:

        omg Brandy I am mortified!!!! I was even picturing the end scene with Rachel and Chandler huddled over it, I can’t believe I typed Monica LOL.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        Joey’s reaction is THE BEST.

        he comes up on them eating off the floor and they think he’s going to shame them and then he pulls out the fork and sits down…”what are we eating?”

        one of my most favorite moments on that show as it perfectly encapsulates Joey. he doesn’t care if he’s eating off the floor and HE CARRIES A FORK AROUND WITH HIM.

    • Darla says:

      Yes, it’s comforting. I find TBBT very comforting for just this reason.

    • molly says:

      That simplicity only works when it’s extremely well cast full of people who can form relationships on and off screen. We believed they were friends because they WERE friends.

  8. Lucy2 says:

    It’s interesting how with streaming, shows are getting a second life to new generations, and remain in the pop-culture for so long. Friends was my college and post college years, I have a lot of nostalgia for it. I am going to watch the reunion, and be glad they didn’t do a reboot instead.

  9. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I never watched the show when it aired, but I grew up in the 90s and understand the desire to revisit that time. I’m actually interested in the reunion show.

    I also relate to enjoying sitcoms of an era before mine. I LOVE The Golden Girls and Andy Griffith Show and some others. It’s fun to transplant your mind to another time and escape.

    • Chaine says:

      I never watched it when it aired either. My 90’s shows were Melrose Place, 90210 and X Files and I found Friends and really most of the sitcoms kind of obnoxious.

  10. Jais says:

    I just can’t get into it. I watched at the time but now I cringe when I see episodes, so many of the jokes are so in appropriate and offensive and just don’t buy it was a different time. They could’ve done better. But the chemistry between the cast I think is why people love and watch because it was very very good.

    • Jules says:

      Same here. I used to watch and love this show so I’m probably the target audience for this reunion. But it feels so shallow and out of touch to listen to them reminisce about it.

    • Mira says:

      I never liked this show one bit. Almost everyone in it was so horribly mean.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Aniston’s face is so puffy and tight, too much work done! How can people say she looks good when she looks plastic?

    • NTheMiddle says:

      I ask the same question… she looks so unlike herself. I don’t get the comments about how good she looks?

  12. Case says:

    I feel like Friends was cute and funny at the time it was on originally, but I really don’t understand people’s obsession with it. Friends is worshipped in a way I don’t quite get.

    Side note: They all look, umm, really weird and waxy.

  13. Cacec04 says:

    Oh my goodness, as a kid who grew up with an alcoholic parent…Matthew Perry seems either under the influence or like he’s had a stroke in this promo. The way he’s not really holding his head up and slurring his words is very obvious he’s not well. This just made me sad.

    • Darla says:

      Yeah I didn’t press play and I really don’t want to watch it for this reason. It was a place and it was a time, I was there, I really don’t need to feel how much time has passed and how sad everything is.

    • fifee says:

      Thats what I thought too regarding Matthew Perry, stroke or out of his face. Its just incredibly sad and I wish I hadnt started to watch the promo, would rather remember him as he was in the first couple of seasons.

      And what happened to Jennifer Aniston, when did her face become so bloated?

      • Lipreng says:

        I work with stroke patients and Perry has a very similar stare to many of them. Possible he could have relapsed as well. Wishing the best for him.

    • AmyB says:

      Yes, I watched Friends back in the day, and always enjoyed it. My daughter (now 20) enjoyed watching the reruns. It is so sad to see Matthew Perry now. He was always very vocal and open about his struggles with addiction, which I give him much praise for. At times, he seemed very much on the mend with his sobriety. I think he had even opened a Sober Living Home (like a transitional living place for people to go to after their stay in rehab). I have not really seen him in anything in sometime, so I was a bit shocked at his appearance. He does look unwell, like a stroke or something serious (medically) occurred. More than just a relapse, I don’t know. My heart breaks for him truly. Unfortunately I know addiction, as I was married to a drug addict/alcoholic, and it is a truly horrifying disease that takes everyone as prisoner in its wake. I wish him the best xo

    • mosia says:

      yes, or like he is just after relapse and is heavily medicated with sedatives, it honestly shocked me. Hope he is gonna get better soon, he was the reason for me to watch friends back then.

  14. jbird4567 says:

    I think they photoshopped too much of Lisa’s face! She does not look plastic in anything I have seen her in lately.

  15. ElleE says:

    I am relating way too much to this post. Thinking about how easy and accessible it was to emulate JA: boot cut jeans, my bangs in ponytail and a cropped sweater, lugging my laundry around. Like the fictional characters, maybe we all were under paid, anxious about being single forever and we used anxiety to justify being self centered. Man we really had nothing to worry about before those planes hit the towers we just didn’t realize it.

    And Anniston should have married LeBlanc irl. Now I won’t think about Friends ever again 🙂

  16. Smalltowngirl says:

    I got teary watching that promo. I grew up with Friends. We watched it every week as a family even through my teen years and it went off the air shortly after my dad died and I remember watching the finale and wishing we could watch it as a family. It is a show so ties to nostalgia and the memories of that specific decade of my life.

  17. Winnie Cooper’s Mom says:

    I did a full rewatch on Netflix a few years ago and I had never realized what a complete brat Rachel was. Her character was kind of terrible, while everyone around her treated her like a princess. Ross ended up being my favorite because he was just so over-the-top dramatic about every little thing.

  18. Julie says:

    I was very young when the show first started airing, around 3/4. I grew up watching the show and re-runs and I remember every Thursday gathering around the TV with my family to watch new episodes. It’s where I learned where babies came from! As a little kid growing up, they looked like they had the ideal life: good friends, great apartments, and silly harmless adventures.

    Even as an adult who has grown out of that type of 90’s/2000’s humor, I was surprised to find myself becoming emotional watching the promo. Without even realizing it I guess I had missed them and they joy they brought to the sitcom world. I’m glad they’re back; it’s an obvious money-grab but one I’m totally fine with.

  19. candy says:

    I used to watch friends as a tween and teen, and then again as an adult. There was something so innocent about that time, before phones and before certain pressures of social media and before 9/11 and the Iraq war. I miss those days! There were so many quotes from that show, and so many iconic episodes. It’s cool too that they all seem friendly in real life. I’m sure it’s emotional, after all these years. It changed their lives so much. And made them filthy rich, lol.

  20. mellie says:

    I loved Friends, just loved it. It’s one of my favorite shows to fall asleep to now, it’s like an old blanket. That and The King of Queens. I think what I like most about it is that you could tell they really liked each other and they do today as well. My favorite character was Chandler, he was so good, and my favorite human is Lisa Kudrow. I’ve listened to a couple podcast interviews of her and she is so dry and witty. I hate it that they weren’t ALL more successful because I personally think they all are/were talented.

  21. Emmitt says:

    1. Lisa Kudrow looks nice, she is the oldest cast member and is knocking on 60 years old’s door.

    2. David Schwimmer looks puffy, he might have been chowing down during the pandemic.

    3. Courteney Cox’s face looks better. Maybe the fillers are dissolving or something. I feel like if she had let her face naturally age, she still would’ve been gorgeous. She’s still beautiful but all the fillers and injections messed her up and she didn’t need it.

    4. Same for Jennifer Aniston, who looks like ventriloquist puppet. I feel like her nose has gotten bigger, she looks kind of manly and I’m tired of that same hairstyle she’s had since 2004. She didn’t need to do any injections/fillers/work either, she was just fine the way she was.

    5. Matt LeBlanc looks the best out of all of them. Sure, he’s gained weight but Joey would’ve gained weight after eating all of those sandwiches!

    6. Matthew Perry looks/sounds not good, like some neurological issues are going on. This guy has had a rough way to go, I’ve got a soft spot for him, let’s pray for him to get better and overcome whatever is going on. He’s the youngest cast member but looks the oldest.

    They’re all in their early to mid 50s and aging and weight gain happens. I just wish Aniston/Cox hadn’t pumped their faces up with so much filler.

    A FRIENDS reboot would have to make sense and would depend on what audience the network is trying to capture. If the network wants the Gen Z audience, any FRIENDS reboot would focus around Emma Geller, her cousins the Bing Twins and their friends. (Ben being older probably wouldn’t be hanging out with his little sister/little cousins).

    If the network was trying to recapture the audience that watched FRIENDS the first time around, I don’t think the show would be set in NYC anymore, I think Monica & Chandler’s house in Westchester County would be the nucleus where everyone gathers from time to time to deal with being empty nesters (regardless of where everyone else lived).

    I also don’t see Rachel still living in NYC unless she divorced Ross because Ross’s dream was to raise his family in the burbs (like he & Monica were raised). I don’t see Ross wanting to raise Emma in the city (he had no choice with Ben since Carol & Susan were Ben’s custodial parents). Rachel wasn’t about that ‘burbs life, which is why she escaped to the city in the first place.

    • teecee says:

      Rachel and Ross definitely got divorced. He lives in Long Island, somewhere he can commute in on the train to work, she lives on the Upper East Side. They shared custody while Emma was growing up. They both married again – him to a much younger doctoral candidate at his university, she to a much older guy in finance.

      I don’t think Phoebe lives in Connecticut. Mike was old money so I get why Lisa would say that. Probably they split the difference and moved to Hudson Valley (before it got too yuppie-fied.) She’s probably an art therapist now.

      I also don’t think Monica and Chandler moved to Connecticut, either. They are not Westchester people. More like Syosset (like Ross) or Montclair, NJ. She’s a chef at a mid-level but decent restaurant, he works in marketing or brand management.

      Joey is the toughest. He did move out to LA, but it’s obvious he would never be a movie actor. I could see him landing a spot on a Law and Order spinoff, which would bring him back to New York. Or maybe he could be a reality show host. Something like Cupcake Wars except it’s sandwiches. In any case, I think in LA he would be a Silver Lake/Los Feliz guy (based on when he moved there, not the way it is now) and in New York he’d be in Brooklyn Heights/Fort Greene in Brooklyn. (Again, based on when the show ended.)

      Clearly I am bored today, but these are the theories of this native New Yorker.

      • Emmitt says:

        I thought the house Monica and Chandler bought on Season 10 was in Westchester County?

      • Susan says:

        Love your theories! Very creative. also, i hate to nitpick at Courtney’s comment, but wouldn’t her kids…be past the PTA age? Like, if the twins were born in 2003ish and maybe they had another child a couple years later…wouldn’t those kids all be almost college age by this time? There’s not much PTA in higher ed.

      • Amelie says:

        Westchester is not in Connecticut, it is famously in NY state. It is right above the Bronx and while it is right on the NY-CT border, it is not CT.

        Source: I grew up in Westchester.

  22. Mee yo says:

    You all need to know that Friends was the white version of Living Single. Living Single was such a success when it came out that Warner Brothers pulled 2 of their writers and asked them to make the ‘white’ version for them. Both shows were Warner Brothers. WB paid the white cast more money, bigger trailers etc….from the first season! So NO I’m off the Friends train.

    • teecee says:

      Don’t most people know that? Living Single is great, and if other people haven’t seen it, it’s on Hulu I think.

      Anyway, that situation is the studio’s fault, not these actors’. People can like both shows.

  23. Midge says:

    I’ve never understood the Friends obsession and understand the reunion less.

    I live in NYC near the building that was used for the exterior shots of their apt building, and there’s always European tourists taking photos.

  24. Christina says:

    I think Matthew is intoxicated. Tragic.

  25. Jocelyn Cox says:

    I think matthew Perry did have a very serious bowel issue and was in the hospital for quite some time. So maybe he didn’t fully recover, or relasped with pain meds from his surgery.

    I still can’t believe Rachel gave up Paris for Ross. The resentment her character would hace felt!

    I thought Phoebe and Mike shouls have subletted Monica’s apartment for the great rent. Or Ross and Rachel should have taken it for the extra bedroom.

  26. SusanRagain says:

    Matt LeBlanc, something so like able about him. He was great as Joey. The spin off show Joey was awful. Episodes was funny but had a weak supporting cast. LeBlanc had a solid network hit and good supporting cast for Man with A Plan, Kevin Nealon, Stacy Keatch, Swoozie Kurtz, etc.
    I’ve seen Matt LeBlanc on chat shows for years, he seems happy enough to endlessly talk about Friends, even when he was doing PR for MwAP. He seems to be a guy who realizes that for many of his fans, he will always be Joey.
    You know his obit will lead with Joey, much like Lenard Nimoy was always Spock. It is a gift not a burden to be a working actor, with a beloved character, enjoy it.

    Friends was good tv “Must see tv” in it’s original run, also Seinfeld. Some of the episodes hold up great in reruns too. Pivot! Pivot! and the Thanksgiving one where Rachel makes a trifle that “tastes like feet” Let’s play Bamboozle still makes me laugh.

    Watching Friends in reruns is comfort tv for me. Netflix had it for awhile and I often turned it on as background tv.
    These last few years have been a bit*h to get thru for a lot of us. Watching reruns of Friends is easy relaxing tv.

    I say No Reboot, please. And honestly, I don’t think this reunion was needed either. I hope the actors who played Janice and Gunther also got a nice payday.

    I enjoy Matthew Perry, his Chandler Bing was a funny, funny character. I hope MP regains his health. He is a talented man.

  27. Bradley says:

    Did anyone else notice several passive aggressive comments Jennifer Anniston made about Matt LeBlanc’s weight gain. You could tell it made him uncomfortable and I kept saying why is she doing that to him? First she hugs him when he arrives and says, “Big Blue, Big Blue. Then immediately after as Matt was crossing by a door she says “Remember when we all used to fit through that door.” You can immediately see the uncomfortable look in Matt’s face… and then they cut the footage. The next comment was when they were alone together backstage and Matt says “ it almost seems small to me, the whole stage.“ and Jennifer says, “ no, that’s impossible though because we haven’t grown.“ Matt rolls with it saying -well, speak for yourself. And then Jennifer just says shut up and starts laughing… I don’t know it seemed very passive aggressive to me that she was picking on him the whole time about something so sensitive… It just seemed kind of mean to do it camera at his expense.