‘Friends’: Jennifer Aniston Was Almost Cut From the Show

Friends is one of those shows that, despite ending years ago, is still binge-watched today. The six young men and women who lived across the hall from one another suddenly became every friend group’s aspiration. But it turns out Jennifer Aniston, arguably the most notable character on the show, almost didn’t make it past the first few episodes.

Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox on 'Friends'
Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox on ‘Friends’ | David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

The ‘Friends’ cast became so close in real life

Once filming started, it was hard to deny that there was on-screen chemistry among the friend group. The actors gelled quickly, making their characters’ stories about friendships that much more believable. The 20-somethings had spent so much time together during the show’s run that their lives were no longer complete without one another.

“It’s like no time has elapsed, you know,” Matt LeBlanc once told ET Online of the cast reuniting. “People in a building with no windows for 10 years, all day, every day and then let them out, they are going to drift apart. But then when they get back together, it’s like it never stopped.”

The ladies of the show have remained especially close since that first meeting in the early 1990s, too. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow all share a group chat together, and Aniston invited Cox and Kudrow to her intimate wedding to Justin Theroux in 2015.

'Friends' cast
‘Friends’ cast | NBCU Photo Bank

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Producers weren’t convinced Jennifer Aniston was cut out for the show

Aniston is remembered as arguably the most popular cast member on the show. The actress played Rachel Green, the pretty and quirky character whose long-standing romance with Ross Gellar made her someone who, at the time, everyone wanted to be.   

It turns out, though, that the producers didn’t quite see Aniston’s potential when they cast her for the show. In a 2013 interview with Us Weekly, Aniston revealed that she was the last of the six cast members to sign on to film; she was also the third choice for Rachel Green, and producers didn’t have a ton of confidence in her.

“I had to sit out when we were doing our cast photos,” Aniston recalled of when she was first on the show. “I was asked to step out of a bunch because they didn’t know if I was going to be still playing Rachel,” Aniston said, discussing the photoshoot in front of the fountain. Eventually, though, Aniston proved everyone wrong. From the moment the show took off, she was instantly the one character everyone remembered. Aniston went on to win an Emmy for her performance.

Jennifer Aniston with Matt LeBlanc (left) and David Schwimmer (right) on the set of 'Friends'
Jennifer Aniston with Matt LeBlanc (left) and David Schwimmer (right) on the set of ‘Friends’ | Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

The ‘Friends’ cast is reuniting once more

The Friends cast has been off air for more than 15 years, but now, a reunion is in the works. HBO Max announced in 2020 that the cast will come together once more for a reunion special. Matthew Perry revealed last year that the special will air sometime in March 2021, though the official date remains unknown.

The reunion will feature all of the show’s original cast, but they’ll be appearing as themselves rather than their characters. The pandemic delayed production, though the cast — and fans — are still thrilled to be getting underway with a reunion.