How Close Is The Cast Of Friends Today?

This article includes mentions of alcohol and substance misuse.

After rumors swirled for years about a "Friends" reunion, fans of the long-running sitcom have finally gotten to see the cast of six reunite in an HBO Max special. One of the things that made the show so special was that the six leading characters weren't just friends on screen, but they were equally as close when the cameras weren't rolling. "The cast was so close that they had all their dressing rooms moved to one end of the soundstage upstairs," a production source told Page Six. And some members of the cast spent every lunch break together during the course of filming. "Jennifer and Lisa [Kudrow] and I ate lunch together every single day for 10 years. And we always had the same thing — a Cobb salad," Courteney Cox told the Los Angeles Times.

In 1996, Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer were being paid more than the rest of the cast, per Cheat Sheet. The duo, who played on-again, off-again couple Ross and Rachel, refused to accept that. The cast formed a partnership and threatened "not to show up for the taping of the new season's shows" if they weren't each paid $100,000 an episode, per The New York Times. By Season 9, all six main cast members made $1,000,000 per episode, according to The Evening Standard. The actors' solidarity surely helped improve their offscreen bonds.

So, is the cast still just as close today as they were during filming? Read on to find out where their relationships stand today.

The Friends cast still has a 'strong bond' nearly 20 years after the show's end

Seventeen years after the final "Friends" episode aired, the cast is still there for each other. Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, and Jennifer Aniston have an active group chat where the ladies share inside jokes and supportive messages, per E! News. The friends have also appeared on talk shows like "Ellen" together, shared group photos of their reunions on Instagram, and have gone out to dinner together.

Kudrow attributed their unique experience to keeping them connected. "We all went through something significant together, and that's a strong bond. As you get older, you realize, oh, you don't have that with just about everybody," she told The Guardian in 2015. And before the filming of the "Friends" special, the cast last got together in October 2019. "We all happened to have a window of time, so we all got together," Jennifer Aniston said to Howard Stern, via E! News. "We laughed so hard." Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox, who played husband and wife Chandler and Monica, also got together for a lunch date in November 2019, which Cox shared on Instagram with the caption "I KNOW!! Could I BE any happier? #realfriends."

And during a 2016 taping where the full cast reunited to honor former "Friends" director James Burrows, Aniston talked about the cast's strong bond. "We experienced friendship, family, heartbreak, babies, everything, together," she said, via Entertainment Tonight. These actors really are friends for life.

Friends reunion shed light on how close the cast is

Could the "Friends" cast BE any closer? Fans definitely don't think so. It's been nearly two decades since the iconic sitcom show wrapped its final season, but even as they went their separate ways, the cast always stayed close.

In 2021, the "Friends: The Reunion" special aired and as they were interviewed, Lisa Kudrow answered the question everyone was dying to hear — how often do they keep in touch? She shared, "We stay in touch for sure. Maybe not every day, but, you know, we have such a bond from having done this show and forged this very tight relationship that anytime you text or call someone, they're gonna pick up. They'll be there." Although Perry joked that they don't call him, he did share some sweet sentiments about what happens when one of them runs into another castmate.

The "Friends" cast members have an undeniable bond and have spent years together, so when they run into one another unexpectedly, they will ditch whoever they're with for their co-star (via Today). Perry explained, "After the show was over at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it, that was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long." Matt LeBlanc and Courteney Cox both agreed as Cox shed tears about how true Perry's statement was. Even nearly 20 years later, the cast is closer than ever.

The Friends cast helped a fellow castmate through troubling times

When Matthew Perry released his 2022 memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," he openly talked about his struggles with alcohol and substance abuse and how the "Friends" cast tried to help him through it.

Perry began talking about his initial thoughts of each person, per E! News. He confessed that he tried to ask out Jennifer Aniston, and described Courteney Cox as "cripplingly beautiful" and Lisa Kudrow "just as gorgeous and hilarious and incredibly smart." As for his male co-stars, he recalled Matt LeBlanc as "nice and a cool customer" and David Schwimmer as "incredibly funny." Right from the jump, Perry knew that they would all be life-long friends. He wrote, "From that first morning we were inseparable."

Throughout the next ten years, the cast would become so close and even help Perry through some difficult times. Perry recalled the moment that his "Friends" castmates called him out on his addiction. He shared, "We can smell it,' she [Aniston] said, in a kind of weird but loving way, and the plural 'we' hit me like a sledgehammer." Following the conversation, Perry sought a "sober companion." Although, he admitted he was never completely sober, except for season 9, his castmates made sure to look out for him. In one scene when Perry was nodding off because of his addiction, LeBlanc nudged his co-star to keep him awake, per Insider. Through thick and thin, the cast always tried to look out for one another. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Friends cast were distraught over Matthew Perry's death

Tragedy struck the cast of "Friends" after Matthew Perry passed away at 54. In October 2023, TMZ revealed the actor had died due to an apparent drowning. After the news broke, many wondered how the cast of "Friends" were dealing with the sudden loss.

Days passed before the "Friends" cast spoke out about Perry's death. In a joint statement — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer — shared with People, "We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we're going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss." The group promised that as time goes on, they "will say more," but for right now, they are sending well wishes to family, friends, and fans of Perry.

Not much has been shared on how the core cast of "Friends" is dealing with the sudden loss, but former television director James Burrow gave new insight into how the women felt about Perry's death. He shared with The Hollywood Reporter, "He [Perry] was part of a family, and he was the first one to not be part of that family anymore. I texted the girls [Aniston, Cox, and Kudrow] the day we found out and they were destroyed. It's a brother dying." The cast were truly like siblings, and this loss is affecting them deeply.