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You think Friends is popular now? Sure, it’s a hot streaming title and fans can’t wait for the reunion on HBO Max. But, when it was the number one show on NBC in the ‘90s, the six cast members were the biggest stars around. Matt LeBlanc took the attention in stride and even took advantage of it once.

Matt LeBlanc and Kelly Clarkson
Matt LeBlanc, Kelly Clarkson | Adam Christopher/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

LeBlanc was a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic necessitated stay at home orders. Clarkson went on hiatus and has been staying on her ranch in Montana. LeBlanc’s episode aired Monday, April 6.

Matt LeBlanc recalls ‘Friends’ fame before social media

When a new generation discovered Friends on streaming services, they discussed it on social media. They could watch all 10 seasons immediately. LeBlanc recalled the days when everyone watched Friends live, once a week.

Friends: Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston
Matt Le Blanc and Jennifer Aniston | Getty Images

“It’s funny now,” LeBlanc said. “It felt really huge but the way things are now with social media and streaming, your ability to binge watch something, we had VCRs back then. Nobody knew how to set them. Nobody could figure out how to tape a show. If you were right there, you could press record. To program it, you got the news. It feels somehow just as relevant now as it did back then.”

Watching ‘Friends’ reruns is difficult for Matt LeBlanc

Friends ran from 1994-2004. LeBlanc payed Joey Tribbiani, the aspiring actor and ladies man. He did two more seasons of a spinoff Joey from 2004-2006. Friends was so long ago that watching reruns just makes him feel old.

Friends: Matt LeBlanc
Matt LeBlanc in Friends Season 1 | Reisig & Taylor/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

“It’s funny because we’re all so much older now and it’s on TV,” LeBlanc said. “You think, ‘God, look, we’re so young.’ You come out, it’s like, ‘Jesus.’”

The one where helicopters flew over his house

The Friends cast had to deal with a lot of paparazzi following them. LeBlanc recalled one day when helicopters stalked all six of the cast members’ houses. If someone really wanted to stalk his house today, they could just use Google Earth. 

Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry
(l-r) Matt Le Blanc and Matthew Perry | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

“There’s some weird things that happened back then,” LeBlanc said. “I remember one time it was during the week. It was just during the afternoon. I happened to be flipping channels watching the news. For some reason they had a split screen on the TV, six [windows]. Each was a live shot of each one of our houses, a helicopter shot. ‘The cast of Friends’ houses!’ I was like okay, what’s going on here? There was no information, no news, just showing the houses.”

The invasion of privacy reminded Matt LeBlanc to fix his house

In 2020, LeBlanc can laugh about such invasions of privacy during the Friends years. In fact, that instance gave him a look at a part of his house in need of repair. Without helicopters circling above, LeBlanc would never see his roof. 


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“I remember looking close at my house and thinking, ‘Sh*t, I need a new roof,’” LeBlanc said. “The helicopter flies away, I get the ladder and I go up there.”