Can you believe Friends recently celebrated its 25th anniversary? The iconic TV show ran from 1994 to 2004. And it will seemingly live forever through both syndication and streaming. It’s no surprise that this show has now inspired multiple generations of rabid fans.
Those same rabid fans might imagine that the Friends actors are like their characters. That is, while they may be slightly flawed, everyone is a good person who grows a bit by the end of the episode.
Real life is a lot messier than TV, though. And when the cameras aren’t rolling, the Friends cast has engaged in a number of shocking activities. Here are the most shocking, messed up things about the cast of Friends.
David Schwimmer became a social hermit
Despite playing Ross, who would be a source of so many memes (“We were on a break!”), David Schwimmer has been largely out of the public eye since 2004. What, then, has caused this strange development?
To put it mildly, Schwimmer wasn’t ready for the intense fame that came with a successful TV show. It kept him from enjoying life and even being much of an actor. According to Scwhimmer, his brand of observational acting was impossible when everyone was busy observing him instead.
“As an actor, the way I was trained, my job was to observe life and to observe other people, so I used to walk around with my head up, really engaged and watching people. The effect of celebrity was the absolute opposite: It made me want to hide under a baseball cap and not be seen,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. That’s why he has done his best to stay out of the headlines and concentrate on much quieter work.
While he has had a few other roles since Friends, Schwimmer spends most of his time producing and directing at the Lookingglass Theater Company. While expanding his career is laudable, it’s still messed up that he had to become a social hermit due to his success.
Matt LeBlanc was arrested twice for DUI
Matt LeBlanc became famous for portraying the adorably-dim character of Joey. In real life, LeBlanc nearly became famous for something else: multiple DUI convictions!
LeBlanc revealed to The Telegraph in 2014 that he had been caught driving under the influence twice. “When I was young and stupid,” he clarified. “I wasn’t driving fast, just crooked. The press never got hold of the mugshots. I was lucky.” That’s one reason he was able to keep it under wraps for so long.
To his credit, LeBlanc admitted to it and even made himself the butt of a joke about it. In the sitcom Episodes (where LeBlanc plays a fictional version of himself), his character gets a DUI in a weird bit of art imitating life.
Matthew Perry’s addiction led to a three-year memory loss
In some ways, Matthew Perry has the saddest story of all. He may have played funnyman Chandler Bing in the show, but this is definitely a case of a clown who was secretly crying!
As Friends became more and more successful, Perry got lost in a world of substance abuse. He even attended rehab multiple times while the show was still on the air.
How bad was the abuse? On a BBC radio show in 2016, Perry claimed he has no memory of three years of filming. “I was a little out of it at the time,” he said, clarifying that the missing memories occur “somewhere between seasons three and six.” While he couched this in a light joke, the reality of a three-year blackout is absolutely terrifying.
Courtney Cox ‘made things worse’ with plastic surgery
Courtney Cox has enjoyed a meteoric career. One moment, Bruce Springsteen is bringing her onstage during Dancing in the Dark. The next, she’s on TV as Monica Geller. After that, she’s on the big screen in movies like Scream.
Any downside to this big success? Sure: she eventually believed that much of her career was due to her good looks. And she became obsessed with maintaining those looks through plastic surgery.
She got fillers and various injections to try to stay youthful and beautiful. But then she would look at herself, not like the results, and go back for even more enhancements. “I was trying so hard to keep up, and I actually made things worse,” Cox told New Beauty in 2017.
Eventually, she let any remaining fillers dissolve and devoted herself to a more natural lifestyle. More importantly, she has realized that her success is due to her strength as an actor and not simply her beauty.
Matt LeBlanc allegedly cheated on his wife
Matt LeBlanc managed to avoid wrecking his car when he got multiple DUIs. But he did manage to wreck something else: his marriage!
LeBlanc filed for divorce in 2006. His decision reportedly blindsided his wife Melissa, who learned he was filing for divorce mere hours before the news made its way online. While that was bad enough, it gets worse.
Rumors abounded that LeBlanc filed for divorce because he was already dating Andrea Anders (a co-star on his short-lived Joey spinoff show). While LeBlanc never verified that relationship, he did apologize to his wife when he was caught drunkenly groping a stripper in 2005. He later told The Sun, “I acted like a fool” and “I feel ashamed.”
Lisa Kudrow’s ex-manager sued her and won
Behind every great celebrity is a manager helping them succeed. That’s why celebs make sure their managers are taken care of.
But after portraying Phoebe on Friends, Lisa Kudrow allegedly withheld residuals that she owed to her former manager Scott Howard.
Howard sued in 2008 and actually won his case in 2014, getting a whopping $1.6 million from the star. Maybe someone should tell Kudrow she’s not a struggling singer and only played one on TV, so she can afford to pay her manager what he’s owed.
David Schwimmer destroyed a historical building
David Schwimmer may have tried to stay out of the public eye, but he still managed to get the wrong kind of attention. Just ask his neighbors!
In 2011, the actor wanted to build a new home in New York City from scratch. The catch? He had to completely demolish a historical 1852 townhouse to do it.
Between the destruction of a historic building and the noise of construction, which lasted more than 18 months, his neighbors got really fed up. By the time he moved into his new home in 2013, someone tagged the construction site with the world’s most boring-yet-accurate graffiti: “Ross is not cool.”
Jennifer Aniston refused to invite the male cast to her wedding
Every fan hopes that the Friends cast are actually besties in real life. However, one event really put that lie to rest: Jennifer Aniston’s wedding!
When Aniston married Justin Theroux in 2015, her wedding guest list had some surprising omissions. David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry did not receive invitations!
“I wasn’t invited. So what can you do?” Perry told People.
“If she wanted me there, I would have been there,” LeBlanc told the outlet.
While none of them badmouthed Aniston for the snub, it seems like she won’t be singing “I’ll be there for you” to her old cast members anytime soon.