Where Are They Now: The “Friends” Edition


Out of all the sitcoms that have come and gone, NBC’s megahit Friends remains one of the most beloved. An American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman that premiered in 1994 and ran for ten seasons, Friends revolved around the lives and exploits of six friends living in Manhattan. Its premise was simple: Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) jilts her bridegroom on her wedding day and moves in with childhood friend Monica Geller (Courtney Cox), a New York City chef. As a result, Rachel becomes a part of Monica’s circle of friends, all of whom are in their mid-20s: aspiring actor Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc); musician and masseuse Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow); business man Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry); and, Monica’s recently divorced older brother, Ross (David Schwimmer). Throughout its ten-year run, it received critical acclaim and praise on account of its witty writing and talented cast and crew. It was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning the Outstanding Comedy Series award in 2002 for its eighth season. In addition, it was ranked by TV Guide magazine, Empire magazine and the Writer’s Guild of America as one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

Now, twelve years after the show made its grand exit, NBC has announced that the Friends cast will be reuniting next month for a two-hour special in order to pay tribute to veteran sitcom director James Burrows. Burrows recently helmed his 1,000th TV episode, 15 of which were Friends episodes. The telecast will also reunite the casts of other landmark sitcoms in which Burrows played a part, including Taxi, Cheers, Frasier and Will & Grace. In addition, stars from Burrow’s more recent comedy projects, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly, will be participating as well.

Unsurprisingly, Friends fans all over the globe flooded social media with exclamations of glee, giddy at the thought of their favorite actors and actresses hanging out in the same room together once more—including this fan, who owns all ten seasons of Friends and still watches reruns whenever they are on TV! Therefore, in preparation for this epic reunion, I’ve taken the time to investigate what my favorite cast members have been up to since leaving their Friends characters behind in 2004. Check it out below!

Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green)

As Rachel Green on Friends, Jennifer Aniston earned a Primetime Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, so it’s no surprise that she’s had a successful career since the show ended. On the big screen, Aniston has played the female protagonist in a number of comedies and romantic comedies, including Bruce Almighty, Rumor Has It, Friends With Money, The Break-Up, Marley and Me, Just Go With It, Horrible Bosses, We’re the Millers and Horrible Bosses 2. Her most critically acclaimed roles were in The Good Girl (2002), for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, and the 2014 drama Cake, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress. She has also guest-starred on several television shows, including 30 Rock, Cougar Town and Burning Love. In 2008, she became a co-founder of the production company Echo Films and in 2012, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is currently one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. Fans can anticipate seeing her in the upcoming films Mean Moms, The Yellow Birds and Mother’s Day.

Courteney Cox (Monica Gellar)

While Courteney Cox was playing Monica Gellar on Friends, she was also playing another role on the big screen: that of Gale Weathers in the hit Scream franchise. Although those two remain her most notable roles, Cox has had a very successful career in both television and movies since Friends ended. Some of her film credits include: November, The Longest Yard, Barnyard, Zoom, The Tripper, Bedtime Stories and 2011’s Scream 4. In 2007, she played Lucy Spiller in the short-lived television show Dirt. She has also guest-starred on the shows Scrubs, Web Therapy, Private Practice, Go On, Drunk History and Barely Famous. Then, in 2009, she scored the role of Jules Cobb on Cougartown, which ran for six seasons before ending in 2015 and for which she earned her first Golden Globe nomination. It was on this show that she began to hone her directorial skills; apart from Cougartown, her only other directing credit is the TV movie Talhotblond. She’s currently slated to be appearing in the upcoming movie Mother’s Day alongside her Friends costar Jennifer Aniston.

David Schwimmer (Ross Gellar)

Actor, director, producer and comedian David Schwimmer already had quite a few accomplishments under his belt by the time he scored the role of Ross Gellar on Friends. From 1991-1992, he played the character Michael on The Wonder Years; from 1992-1993, he played the recurring character City Atty. Dana Romney on L.A. Law; and, in 1993, he played Josh “4B” Goldstein on NYPD Blue. The year that Friends premiered, he was also playing Greg Richardson on the show Monty, and in 2001, he played Herbert M. Sobel in the mini-series Band of Brothers. While Ross remains his most memorable role to date, he continued to have a successful career after Friends ended. In 2004, he played himself in a multiple episode stint on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He also ventured into voice-acting, providing the voice for Melman in the Madagascar franchise. Some of his other film credits include Big Nothing, Nothing But the Truth, John Carter, The Iceman and the TV movie Irreversible. Additionally, he guest-starred on several television shows, such as 30 Rock, Entourage, Web Therapy and Episodes. Fans can anticipate seeing him in the upcoming mini-series The People vs. OJ Simpson as Robert Kardashian.

Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani)

Like David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc was already making a name for himself in the television industry before he was cast as Joey Tribbiani on Friends. From 1988 onwards, he landed recurring roles on a multitude of shows, including TV 101, Top of the Heap, Married With Children and Vinnie & Bobby, as well as guest roles on the shows Monsters, Red Shoe Diaries and Class of ’96. While Friends was on the air, he began to venture into film, scoring parts in Ed, Lost in Space, Charlie’s Angels, All the Queen’s Men and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. After Friends ended, however, he focused exclusively on television. He reprised his role as Joey Tribbiani for the short-lived Friends spin-off Joey and then went on to play Nick Jericho on Web Therapy . He can currently be seen in the TV show Episodes as himself, on which he has worked five years.

Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing)

Matthew Perry made his television debut in 1979 as a guest character in the show 240-Robert. Since then, he has been active on television, scoring guest roles on the shows Silver Spoons, Second Chance, Highway to Heaven, Growing Pains, Sydney, Home Free, The John Larroquette Show, Caroline in the City, Ally McBeal and The West Wing. However, it was his role in Friends that really helped launch his career. While he was on Friends, he landed roles in the movies Fools Rush In, Almost Heroes, Three to Tango, The Whole Nine Yards and The Whole Ten Yards. Since Friends went off the air, he continued to work predominantly in television, although he did play the adult version of Mike O’Donnell in the movie 17 Again. In 2006, he was cast as Matt Albie in the short-lived show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip; in 2011, he played Ben Donovan in the show Mr. Sunshine; and, from 2012-2013, he played Mike Kresteva on The Good Wife and then Ryan King on Go On. He recently guest-starred on Cougar Town, Playhouse Presents, The Dogthrower and Web Therapy. He is currently playing Oscar Madison on the TV show The Odd Couple.

Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay)

Prior to playing Phoebe Buffay on Friends, Lisa Kudrow was doing one-episode guest spots on a multitude of shows, including Room for Two, Bob and Coach. After joining Friends, her career took off; while the show was on the air, she landed roles in the movies Mother, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Clockwatchers, Hacks, The Opposite of Sex, Analyze This, Hanging Up, Lucky Numbers, Analyze That, Marci X and Wonderland. Post-Friends, she has continued to bounce between television and film. Some of her film credits include Happy Endings, P.S. I Love You, Hotel For Dogs, Powder Blue, Paper Man, Bandslam, The Other Woman and Easy A. From 2005-2014, she played the recurring character Valerie Cherish on the TV show The Comeback; then, in 2008, she scored a regular role as Fiona Wallice on the show Web Therapy. She recently played the character Wanda Pierce on BoJack Horseman. Fans can anticipate seeing her in the upcoming movies Table 19, El Americano: The Movie, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and The Girl on the Train.

James Michael Tyler (Gunther)

Last but not least, we have James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther, the coffee shop owner with an unrequited crush on Rachel Green. Having appeared in 148 out of Friends’ 236 episodes, Tyler was the show’s most frequently appearing guest star. Before being cast as Gunther, Tyler had minor roles on the shows Just Shoot Me and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. After Friends ended, he guest-starred on Scrubs, Episodes and Modern Music, and played Blane in the movie Jason’s Big Problem. He has no current projects in the works.

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