Jennifer Aniston Made $45,000 Per Minute Playing Rachel Green on ‘Friends’
Hearing about actor salaries on popular shows can be eye-opening for regular people earning average salaries. But Jennifer Aniston’s earnings for the hit sitcom Friends are staggering by any standards.
She’s one of the top paid television actresses on any show, which is really put into perspective when you consider how her $1 million per episode Friends salary breaks down by the minute. In short: it’s good to be Rachel Green.
Jennifer Aniston found her breakout role on ‘Friends’
Aniston had already had a few notable movie roles prior to auditioning for the new NBC comedy, but she had no idea how high her star would rise after nabbing the part as Rachel Green on Friends.
As more fans fell in love with Friends, the actress who inspired a thousand layered haircuts began down her path to superstardom. And now? Aniston is one of the most famous and highly paid actresses in the world.
She made a whopping $45,000 per minute on the show
Friends was on the air for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004. At the height of the show’s popularity, all six of the actors playing main characters — Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and Aniston — were making $1 million per episode, reviews.org reported.
And considering that each episode runs approximately 20-22 minutes, that translates to $45,000 per minute of pay per episode.
Aniston took a pay cut in fairness to her coworkers
The pay gap between men and women is well documented, but Aniston revealed that the pay gap on Friends wasn’t divided between genders — it was by actors individually.
The whole cast started out making $22,500 per episode, according to Standard UK. But as their careers took different trajectories, Aniston and Schwimmer were paid more than the other four actors on the show. Until they fought back.
“I’m aware that I have had a pretty easy time in terms of my experience in the business,” Aniston said during an interview. “But even back on Friends, it wasn’t so much about women being paid the same as men – some of the women were being paid more.”
The stars threatened to boycott production if the issue wasn’t addressed. “[The negotiations were] more about, ‘We’re doing equal work and we all deserve to be compensated in the same way.’ I wouldn’t feel good going to work knowing someone was getting x amount and I was getting something greater,” she continued.
All 6 ‘Friends’ actors made $1 million per episode by the end
After adjusting everyone’s salaries to match, the cast of Friends kept getting more popular and famous right along with the show. By season 3, all the actors made $75,000 per episode. By seasons 9 and 10, they each made $1 million per episode or $45,000 per minute of airtime.
Still, the Friends cast is only the second-highest paid actors in sitcom history. The most lucrative show is the more recent comedy The Big Bang Theory. The top paid actor on the show, Jim Parsons, pulled in $1.2 million per episode. Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg all made over $1 million per episode also.