A ‘The Facts of Life’ Star Was Seriously Considered For a Role on ‘Friends’

Courteney Cox spent 10 years playing Monica Geller on Friends. The role is so iconic that fans can’t imagine anyone else portraying the compulsively neat chef. Cox wasn’t the only actor considered for the part back in the 1990s, though. In fact, one The Facts of Life star was incredibly close to becoming Monica instead of Cox. 

Nancy McKeon was seriously considered for the role of Monica Geller

Over the years, a lot of rumors have swirled about who auditioned for roles on Friends. For years, it was largely considered a fact that Ellen DeGeneres and Jane Lynch both auditioned to join the cast. Both have denied they were ever approached to take on a role in the series. One big-name star actually did audition and came tantalizingly close to becoming one of the six friends. 

Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt Le Blanc, Lisa Kudrow, And David Schwimmer
The cast of ‘Friends’ | Getty Images

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According to Vanity Fair, Nancy McKeon gave a compelling audition for the role of Monica. Lori Openden, the former head of casting for NBC, told the publication that it came down to McKeon and Cox for the part of Monica. She said, “Nancy McKeon, from The Facts of Life, also read for Courteney’s part. She gave a terrific performance. Warren let Marta and David make the call. They went off for a walk and came back and said Courteney.”

McKeon insists there are no hard feelings 

McKeon may have just missed out on joining the cast of one of the most iconic shows in television history, but she insists there are no hard feelings. In an interview with the Albany Daily News, McKeon insists that even she can’t see anyone but Cox playing Monica. She told the publication, “I have no hard feelings. The role went to the right person. Courteney was brilliant. Now, I can’t see anybody else playing the role, not even myself.”

Nancy McKeon attends the 2014 PaleyFest Fall TV previews
Nancy McKeon | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

McKeon had success of her own after her near-miss. The The Facts of Life actor appeared on The Division for three seasons from 2001 to 2004. Later, McKeon portrayed Connie Munroe in Sonny with a Chance

Cox may have made the perfect Monica, but that’s not the role she was original considered for. 

While Cox landed in the right part, she was original approached to take on a different role. The team behind Friends originally came to Cox about taking on the role of Rachel Green. Cox reportedly asked to audition for Monica instead. Cox felt a strong connection to the character and Monica’s strong personality. 

Courteney Cox as Monica Geller in 'Friends'
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller | Reisig & Taylor/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Her portrayal of the iconic character wasn’t what casting agents originally had in mind, though. According to Screen Rant, the casting team had pegged someone like Janeane Garofalo for Monica’s role. They originally planned Monica to be a bit darker and more cynical. Cox’s sunny take on the character seemed to add something to the dynamic, though.