Friends’ cast members may have portrayed the happiest BFFs on TV, but they haven’t always had it easy in real life. We decided to investigate some of the cast’s most sinister and bizarre secrets.
Some people have endured greatly as a result of the long-running successful sitcom’s fame and money. Others dealt with significant personal problems involving loved ones or became embroiled in intricate legal matters, implying that the actors who played Joey, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Ross’ actual lives were just as difficult as their on-screen antics.
Matthew Perry battled addiction for years
Matthew Perry (a.k.a. Chandler Bing) has been open about his battles with prescription painkiller addiction and alcohol abuse. The former Friends funny man has been in treatment twice, according to Page Six, once in 1997 and again in 2001. You’d think that being the star of one of the most successful sitcoms at such a young age would be a dream come true, but Perry struggled.
“I was on Friends from age 24 to 34. I was in the white-hot flame of fame,” he told Today in 2013. “The six of us were just everywhere all the time. From an outsider’s perspective, it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism.”
Jennifer Aniston couldn’t escape Brangelina’s shadow
In 2005, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt separated amid reports that Pitt had hooked up with Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star Angelina Jolie while filming. People are still talking about it after all these years. Regardless of Pitt’s assertions, many people believe he harmed Aniston, and whenever his high-profile relationship (or now divorce) with Jolie makes headlines, so does his history with Aniston, whether she likes it or not.
“I think that it’s time people stop with that petty BS and just start celebrating great work and stop with the petty kind of silliness,” Aniston (a.k.a. Rachel Green) told ET ahead of the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards, where she and Jolie were both nominated for their roles in Cake and Unbroken.
David Schwimmer turned into a recluse amid his Friends fame
David Schwimmer claimed in a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast that becoming an overnight superstar after the success of Friends in 1994 wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. “It was extremely shocking,” Schwimmer recalled, “and it messed up my relationship with other people in a way that took years for me to adjust to and get comfortable with.”
Schwimmer’s entire approach to acting, which he described as “observing life and other people” and which he could no longer perform while going unnoticed, became a problem as a result of his mega-fame as palaeontologist Ross Geller. He felt compelled to “hide behind a baseball cap and not be noticed” as a result.
Matt LeBlanc also struggled to cope with fame
Friends co-star Matt LeBlanc said he ran from the spotlight, albeit for more dismal reasons, in a little darker echo of David Schwimmer’s reaction to fame.
In an interview with the Mirror, the actor who played carefree Joey Tribbiani revealed that the show’s phenomenal success forced him to “rarely leave the home” because he was absolutely burned out. “It was a very dark moment,” he admitted, “and I was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown.”
Jennifer Aniston angered her ex-boyfriend’s widow
Jennifer Aniston revealed a seemingly harmless factoid about an ex-boyfriend who died of cancer decades after their breakup in a 2015 interview with The New York Times. “He would have been the one,” she added, “but I was 25 and stupid, so he must have sent Justin [Theroux, her then-fiancé] to make up for it all.”
That ex-boyfriend was actor Daniel McDonald, whose widow, Mujah Maraini-Melehi, was not pleased with Aniston’s remarks. Maraini-Melehi accused Aniston of “exploiting” her ex-memory, husband’s telling Inside Entertainment (via Ace Showbiz) that “he would not have approved of all this unsolicited attention owing to his prior relationship with Jennifer.”