Why Hollywood won't cast Courteney Cox anymore

Courteney Cox rose to fame playing type-A personality and chef Monica Geller on the pop culture phenomenon Friends. When the iconic sitcom went off the air in 2004, she seemed poised to achieve even greater fame on the big screen or on TV, but her career hasn't flourished as much as we expected. Let's answer the question on everyone's minds: why won't Hollywood cast Cox anymore?

She lost out on a major role

Cox nearly kicked off her post-Friends career with a starring role on the hit series Desperate Housewives. According to Rolling Stone, she was in the running to play Susan Meyer. While she was producer Marc Cherry's first choice, she had to pass on the part for personal reasons and, as we all know, the role ultimately went to Teri Hatcher. As it turns out, Cox was unavailable at the time of casting in 2004 because she was pregnant with her first child.

Zoom totally tanked

Instead of maintaining her TV superstardom momentum on Desperate Housewives, one of Cox's first major roles after Friends ended came in 2006's ill-fated comedy Zoom. The movie was a commercial flop, grossing only $12.5 million worldwide against its $75 million budget. It was also panned by critics. "Lacking the punch and good cheer of The Incredibles and Sky HighZoom is a dull and laugh-free affair," reads the critic consensus at Rotten Tomatoes, where the intended summer blockbuster scored a dismal 3 percent. Adding insult to injury, the film's lead, Tim Allen, earned a Razzie nomination for worst actor.

Cox pursued off-camera roles

While many of her Friends co-stars went on to star on TV and film, Cox focused much of her creative energy behind the scenes. In 2004, she and her then-husband, David Arquette, launched Coquette Productions. "It is a natural progression for us, at this stage in our careers, to be moving toward development and production in both television and film," Cox told The Hollywood Reporter at the time (via People). Since its inception, they've produced a number of shows and movies, including her biggest post-Friends hit, Cougar Town.

Dirt struggled during the writers' strike

Cox made her highly anticipated return to the small screen in 2007 as Lucy Spiller, an unsympathetic tabloid editor, in Dirt. But the intense FX dramedy struggled to find its footing—and its audience—during the uncertainty of the writers' strike going on at the time. The show was met with a lukewarm critical reception, and its ratings steadily dwindled

"Sanctimonious yet salacious, tawdry yet preachy, and dull as, well, dirt, this haltingly comic drama has as much trouble finding a workable tone as it does making a coherent point," wrote USA Today. With production halting mid-second-season due to the strike, the network unceremoniously canceled the series in 2008.

Cougar Town was on the verge of cancelation

After Dirt was canned, Cox focused on developing Cougar Town, undoubtedly her biggest post-Friends success. But similarly to her previous efforts, the underrated comedy struggled to find an audience as its laid-back plot failed to live up to its sizzling title. Over its six-year life, the series always seemed on the verge of cancellation, suffering difficult time slots, fizzling ratings, and mixed reviews on ABC. The show was rescued by TBS in 2012, but didn't perform much better following this mid-series transition to cable, and was renewed for its sixth and final season in 2015.

Critics slammed her directorial debut

Cox continued to focus her energy off-camera, making her directorial feature debut with Just Before I Go in 2014. Although she had already directed multiple episodes of Cougar Town, this transition to film failed to prove her steady hand at the helm of a film. The movie, which follows a suicidal man returning home to settle old scores, was slammed by critics. "[It] lurches along a wobbly line," The New York Times stated, "between salacious comic nastiness and nauseating sentimentality." 

To her credit, Cox refused to let naysayers keep her down. "I'm never more creatively fulfilled than when I'm directing," she said (via TheWrap). "I love immersing myself in every aspect."

She altered her appearance

In 2016, 52-year-old Cox came clean about her use of Botox, facial fillers, and laser treatments, which she felt made her look "horrible" and "fake."

"I think there's a pressure to maintain [your looks], not just because of fame, but just, you know, being a woman in this business. Getting older ... I don't think it's the easiest thing," she said on Running Wild with Bear Grylls (via Us Weekly). Expressing regret, she resolved to "just let it be," adding, "It's something you can't keep up with."

"I've had all my fillers dissolved," the actress told New Beauty in 2017. "I feel better because I look like myself."

Her rocky marriage with David Arquette

Cox and Arquette were polar opposites who shared a seemingly perfect union for years. But after separating in 2010, the drama within their crumbling marriage forced the Cougar Town star to focus much of her time and energy on her personal life rather than her professional endeavors.

Around that time, Arquette aired their dirty laundry during a TMI interview with Howard Stern, including secrets about his alcoholism, a tryst with a waitress, and their sex life. His antics were humiliating, but Cox went on to defend her soon-to-be-ex. "I'm not saying there wasn't some crazy behavior, but if you know who David is, you know what his intentions are, how honest he is, and how big his heart is," she told Harper's Bazaar. "I'm his biggest protector. I can't help it." Soon after, she supported Arquette through a one-month stint in rehab to treat his alcohol addiction and depression.

Two years later, he filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. It was finalized in 2013, after 12 years of marriage. "We found ourselves leading separate lives and just coexisting and being great friends," Cox reflected in 2016. "It wasn't a dramatic ending ... I mean, as divorces go, I would say it's one of the better ones."

Rumors of an affair

During his infamous Howard Stern interview, Arquette alleged that Cox had an "emotional affair" with her Cougar Town costar Brian Van Holt. It's rarely a good thing when actors' real lives overshadow their TV characters' onscreen lives, and Cox later denied the claims. "He's a really good friend of mine, so I don't care," she told Harper's Bazaar. "It just doesn't matter. He's a great guy, and he's definitely been a part of my support system." 

Two years later, Cox and Van Holt actually dated for a short time, before breaking things off while she and Arquette were in the midst of their divorce.

Being a single mom keeps her busy

In 2004, Cox and Arquette welcomed their daughter, Coco. "She's our number-one priority," the proud mom told Harper's Bazaar, while in the thick of divorce drama. "No matter what happens, she'll be okay because she knows that she is completely safe, loved, and we'll protect that more than anything in the world." 

Despite her busy work schedule, Cox always makes sure to fit in quality mother-daughter time. "There are certain parts about getting older that are fantastic. Just watching my daughter go through ... the game of life," she said in 2016 (via E! News). "I just have a great time with her."

Her on-and-off romance with Johnny McDaid

As her divorce became tabloid fodder, Cox's personal life overshadowed her professional opportunities. This trend, along with her relationship woes, continued with her whirlwind on-and-off romance with fiancé Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol. The two started dating in late 2013, announced their engagement in June 2014, but called it quits in December 2015, later reuniting.

"We were engaged for over a year and then we broke up. There's something about ... you know, he's from Ireland. And the way he regards love is precious. We have to treat it in a different way. It's more special," she told Bear Grylls in 2016 (via E! News). "I definitely have learned a lot, and no matter what, I will be a better person from that breakup, even though it was so brutal."

In 2017, the 53-year-old actress revealed her intention to expand her family. "I would love to have a baby now. I mean, I could carry someone else's egg. I may be one of the older people doing it, but I would love to, with Johnny that is," she told New Beauty. "I know it's crazy, but I would."

Her hidden health problems

Throughout her career, Cox struggled with a number of invisible physical and mental health problems due to an MTHFR gene mutation. "I suffered miscarriages, my dad died of a really rare cancer, and depression runs in my family," she told New Beauty. "I discovered that I have the worst version of this mutation and my body doesn't methylate the way it's supposed to."

The condition drained her energy. "Once I found out how I could absorb nutrients and protect myself from toxins, my whole life shifted," Cox added, explaining that she maintains a healthy diet and takes vitamins, including daily shots of B-12, to keep her symptoms under control.

She's an outspoken activist

Cox is a longtime activist devoted to using her celebrity to foster real change. While she's a supporter of a number of charities, the cause closest to her heart is the fight against ALS. Ever since her friend, publicist Nanci Ryder, was diagnosed in 2014, the actress has done her part to raise awareness about the disease.

"Nanci had breast cancer years ago. She went through that. She's just gone through so many things, and her strength is unbelievable," Cox told People while attending a walk to defeat ALS in 2017. "I'm in awe of her. She just continues to fight and had the will to want to keep going. A lot of people wouldn't do that."

Cox has also worked closely with OmniPeace, which builds music schools in Rwanda to help empower children who are living in poverty. "Courteney, who is my best friend and really the ambassador for OmniPeace, she's been with me since the very beginning, building the first school," founder Mary Fanaro told Entertainment Tonight in 2015. "She's really partially responsible for all the schools."

A Friends reunion isn't happening

With a number of popular '90s sitcoms, like Will & Grace, Gilmore Girls, and Full House, getting successful reboots, Friends fans must be longing to see the gang meet up at Central Perk once again. But it sounds like we shouldn't hold our breath for this one.

"We're not doing it! It's just not going to happen," Cox said in 2015 (via the Daily Mail). "We've gotten about 80 percent there, but there's always one person who flakes at the end. I'm not going to name names, but it may not be Schwimmer."

Her connection to Louis C.K.'s sexual harassment scandal

When Louis C.K.'s sexual harassment scandal broke in November 2017, it was revealed that one alleged incident occurred on the set of Cox and Arquette's unaired Fox pilotThe McNightly News, in 2005. As comedian Rebecca Corry told the New York Times, C.K. "leaned close to my face and said, 'Can I ask you something?'"—and when she responded in the affirmative, he asked if she'd take him to her dressing room so he could pleasure himself in front of her.

"What happened to Rebecca on that set was awful," Cox said, expressing her "outrage and shock." "My concern was to create an environment where Rebecca felt safe, protected, and heard."

Celebrity Name Game was canceled

Coquette Productions marked its first foray into game show television with the Craig Ferguson-hosted Celebrity Name Game in 2014. "We are such huge fans of game shows and believe Celebrity Name Game has the potential to truly stand out," Cox, who competed on the show alongside Friends castmate Lisa Kudrow, told The Hollywood Reporter. "We want viewers to have as much fun watching this series as we have had playing it with friends."

The series won Ferguson two Daytime Emmys for outstanding game show host. Despite maintaining steady ratings, the syndicated series was canceled after three seasons in 2017.

How she's turning it around

After becoming a household name for her work on Friends, Cox has expanded her resume by juggling a number of hats—actress, director, and producer—with varying degrees of success. Despite the occasional professional misstep, she's never been one to be kept down.

With Friends starting to stream on Netflix in 2015 and Cougar Town coming to Hulu in 2018, the actress' most iconic and successful screen work is reaching new audiences and sparking her renewed popularity. At the time of this writing, Cox is keeping her next career move close to her chest. But with her veteran experience in the industry, we're sure she won't stay quiet for long.