Dark secrets of the cast of Friends

They may have played the happiest BFFs on TV, but in real life, the cast members of Friends haven't exactly had it easy. Some have seriously struggled with the fame and fortune catalyzed by the long-running hit sitcom. Others battled intense personal drama involving loved ones, or found themselves tangled up in messy legal proceedings. From cheating scandals to strippers to run-ins with the law, the personal plot lines of Joey, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Ross have been just as complicated as their on-screen antics. 

Whose wedding invitations got lost in the mail? Who took cosmetic surgery a little too far? And who really, really ticked off their neighbors? After Matthew Perry revealed that he can't even remember three seasons of the show due to substance abuse, we decided it's time to taker a closer look at the darkest secrets of the cast of Friends.

Matthew Perry battled addiction for years

Matthew Perry, who played self-deprecating funny guy Chandler Bing on the show, has been open about his struggles with substance abuse, which sent him to rehab twice during the peak of Friends' success.

The now-sober actor managed to shock us once again when he admitted to BBC2 Radio (via USA Today) in 2016 that his addictions caused him to forget filming three years of Friends. "I think the answer is, I don't remember three years of it," Perry said when asked to pick his least-favorite episode of Friends. "So none of those ... somewhere between Season three and six." 

Perry previously spoke about his addictions to alcohol and pills to People in 2013, admitting at one point he "couldn't stop." "Eventually things got so bad that I couldn't hide it, and then everybody knew," he said.

Aniston can't escape Brangelina's shadow

Aniston and Pitt divorced in 2005, amid rumors that Pitt had hooked up with his co-star, Angelina Jolie, while filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Even after all these years, folks are still talking about it. 

It seems no matter what Pitt claims—lots of people think he wronged Aniston, and every time his high-profile relationship with Jolie makes news, so too does his history with Aniston, whether she likes it or not.

"I think that it's time people stop with that petty BS and just start celebrating great work and stop with the petty kind of silliness," she told Entertainment Tonight ahead of the 2015 Critics Choice Awards, for which both Aniston and Jolie were nominated for their work in Cake and Unbroken, respectively. "It's just tiresome and old. It's like an old leather shoe. Let's buy a new pair of shiny shoes."

Matt LeBlanc struggled to cope with fame

In a slightly darker echo of Schwimmer's reaction to fame, LeBlanc also said that he retreated from the spotlight, albeit for admittedly more depressing reasons. 

Speaking with The Mirror, the actor who played carefree Joey Tribbiani said the show's incredible success created a situation where he could "barely leave the house" because he felt completely burned out. "It was a very dark time," he said, "I almost had a nervous breakdown." 

Around 2006, LeBlanc's retreated to his "Californian cattle ranch" and focused his attention on being a good father to his daughter, Marina, who was diagnosed with "cortical dysplasia, a condition which affects the brain, bones and motor skills" at just 11 months old. LeBlanc reportedly spent his years out of the limelight almost entirely with her. "Spending time with her is the best thing I've ever done. We have a great bond and it's the best thing in my life," he told The Mirror. Thankfully, Marina reportedly "outgrew" the condition by the time she was 11 years old and is now perfectly healthy.

Schwimmer turned into a recluse

In a 2016 appearance on The Hollywood Reporter's podcast, Awards Chatter, David Schwimmer revealed that becoming an instant celebrity following the immediate popularity of Friends in 1994 wasn't all it was cracked up to be. "It was pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people in a way that took years, I think, for me to adjust to and become comfortable with," Schwimmer said.

The mega-fame that accompanied his role as paleontologist Ross Geller even became an issue for Schwimmer's entire approach to acting, which he described as "to observe life and to observe other people," an activity he could no longer do while going unnoticed. As a result, he found himself wanting to "hide under a baseball cap and not be seen." 

Eventually, Schwimmer said he found the "tricky" balance was to vary the roles he chose outside of Friends, as well as to focus on developing his skills behind the camera as a director and founder/producer of the Chicago-based Lookingglass Theatre Company.  

LeBlanc got two DUIs

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph in 2014, LeBlanc revealed that he has been arrested multiple times for driving under the influence. "'Twice, I think," he said, while discussing his character's DUI arrest in Season 3 of the sitcom Episodes. "When I was young and stupid. I wasn't driving fast, just crooked. The press never got hold of the mugshots. I was lucky," he said.

Lisa Kudrow was sued by her ex-manager

In 2014, a jury found Lisa Kudrow in breach of contract after a lengthy legal dispute with her former manager, Scott Howard. He filed his suit in 2008, claiming Kudrow, who played flighty musician Phoebe Buffay, owed him residuals from when he still managed her—like, you know, from all those reruns of Friends

After years in court, a jury ruled in Howard's favor, and Kudrow had to fork over $1.6 million. To put that in perspective: that was only a little more than what she made for a single episode of Friends in 2004.

Aniston angered her ex-boyfriend's widow

In a 2015 interview with The New York Times, Aniston dropped a seemingly innocuous tidbit about an ex-boyfriend who died of cancer decades after their split. She said, "He would have been the one. But I was 25, and I was stupid. He must have sent me Justin [Theroux, her then-fiance] to make up for it all."

That ex was actor Daniel McDonald, whose widow, Mujah Maraini-Melehi, did not take kindly to Aniston's comments. Speaking with Inside Entertainment (via Ace Showbiz), Maraini-Melehi accused Aniston of "exploiting" her ex-husband's memory and charged that "he would not have approved of all this uninvited attention due to his past relationship to Jennifer."

Maraini-Melehi went even further, insinuating that Aniston knew better than to make a comment like this in the media, and that she should have been aware that it would be "later dissected and exploited." She continued, "I am sorry that Jennifer did not realize the treasure that was Daniel when she had the chance, long before he and I met and long before he died. It pains me to read the headlines that allude to her losing him tragically when in fact she was not present during his long and difficult illness. That said perhaps Daniel's gift was to teach her how to love and appreciate Justin Theroux." 

Wow, shots fired. As far as we can tell, Aniston has not publicly responded to Maraini-Melehi's comments.

Courteney Cox admits she went overboard with cosmetic enhancements

Like many celebrities, Courteney Cox, who played perfectionist Monica Geller, is guilty of going a little too far in the pursuit of the so-called "fountain of youth." Long-rumored to have had all kinds of plastic surgeries, Cox eventually opened up to New Beauty in 2017 for a frank chat about what she's done to maintain her youthful look.

"I grew up thinking that appearance was the most important thing," Cox said. "That's kind of sad because it got me in trouble. I was trying so hard to keep up, and I actually made things worse."  

She confessed to getting "a little injection here or filler there," which led to people noticing, which led to recommendations for more procedures. "The next thing you know, you're layered and layered and layered," she said. "But I'd see pictures and think, 'Oh, is that what I look like?' And I'd ask a friend and they'd say, 'Oh God, no.'" Eventually, Cox had all of her "fillers dissolved" and pivoted to more "natural" procedures such as laser treatments, dietary supplements, and something called "microneedling," which she says is used to "strengthen your muscles." 

Alrighty then.

LeBlanc allegedly blindsided his wife with a divorce

In 2006, LeBlanc shocked everyone–including his wife, Melissa–when he filed for divorce. Sources for People claimed at the time that Melissa was "absolutely blindsided" by the decision and had "hoped for a reconciliation." 

That turned out to be impossible because LeBlanc was already dating his Joey co-star, Andrea Anders, as early as January the same year. According to People, some alleged LeBlanc's relationship with Anders was one of the causes of his divorce, but LeBlanc did not comment.

Perry missed a Friends reunion

In January 2016, the Internet lost its cookies when NBC announced that the cast of Friends would be reuniting for the first time in years for a pre-taped special honoring the career of director James Burrows. "We'd like to get all six of them in room at the same time, but I'm not sure we can logistically pull it off," said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt at the time. 

Indeed, much to the disappointment of Friends fans everywhere, Perry's camp soon announced that the actor would not be at the event because he was in rehearsals for a play in London. That's a pretty fair excuse. Plus, he did tape a message for Burrows that aired during the special. However, every other Friends cast member made it to the celebration in person, making Perry's physical absence feel strange, vaguely deliberate, and kind of lame.

Aniston didn't invite half the cast to her wedding

Also not on the guest list for Aniston's surprise nuptials to second husband Justin Theroux: half the cast of Friends. Yep, just days after news of the nuptials hit TMZ, it was revealed that co-stars Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer were not in attendance. 

"If she wanted me there, I would have been there," LeBlanc told People, adding, "I think she's happy. And that's all I care about." 

"It was a surprise to me, as well," said Perry. "I wasn't invited. So what can you do?" 

So much for being friends.

LeBlanc was accused of cheating

In November 2014, rumors circulated that LeBlanc had cheated on long-time girlfriend Andrea Anders, after In Touch (via E! News) obtained photos of the actor getting up close and personal with various women at a Halloween party in Austin, Texas. The mag went so far as to allege that LeBlanc actually hooked up with "several scantily clad women" at the party. 

LeBlanc's team was quick to deny the report to E! News. "That absolutely did not happen," a rep for LeBlanc said. "Fans were coming up to him all night asking for pictures." 

Whatever the case, by January 2015, Anders and LeBlanc announced that they were officially splitting after eight years together.

Cox's divorce from David Arquette was kind of weird

Cox and actor David Arquette, who met on the set of the 1996 slasher movie Scream, announced they were separating after 11 years of marriage in 2010. Oddly enough, the couple didn't actually go through with filing for divorce until about two and a half years later. Their divorce was finalized in June 2013. 

The couple has since remained completely amicable and committed to raising their only daughter, Coco. In fact, that friendship might explain the delay. "In divorce you always have regret," Cox told More magazine (via Us Weekly) in 2014. "We were married for a long time, so it's not like we didn't try." A happy divorce? Who knew that was possible in Hollywood?

LeBlanc got cozy with a stripper

LeBlanc actually admitted during an interview in 2005 that he had interacted with a "sexually aggressive" stripper while on a motorcycle road trip with five of his friends in Canada. 

"The stripper was all over me," he told the National Enquirer. "I was drinking, and she was crossing the line ... When I realized the situation that was unfolding I felt I was being careless and irresponsible, and I had to get the hell out of there." Said every taken guy who ever got a lap dance at a strip joint.

Jennifer Aniston was estranged from her mother

Jennifer Aniston, who played bumbling barista Rachel Green, was estranged from her mother, Nancy Dow, for more than a decade. The rift supposedly had a lot to do with Dow publishing her infamous tell-all, From Mother and Daughter to Friends: A Memoir, in 1999. 

Although Aniston claimed in a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she and Dow are "all fine now," the Emmy winner admitted things were pretty rough for a while, especially when she was growing up. "She was very critical of me," Aniston said of Dow, who was not invited to Aniston's wedding to first husband Brad Pitt. "Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn't. I never was. I honestly still don't think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine. She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty." Dow divorced Aniston's father, Days of Our Lives star John Aniston, in 1980.

David Schwimmer pissed off his NYC neighbors

Like his character, paleontologist Ross Geller, David Schwimmer's personal life is—how do we put this lightly?—kind of boring. However, he did wind up upsetting a whole bunch of his neighbors when he decided to demolish a preserved 1852 townhouse and build a completely new one from scratch. His neighbors eventually grew so annoyed with the construction, someone actually went and spray painted the words "Ross Is Not Cool" on a nearby fence, according to Gawker. Harsh, but also something all fans of Friends have been saying for decades.

Cox mysteriously halted production of Cougar Town

In November 2009, Cox unexpectedly halted production of her hit ABC sitcom, Cougar Town, due to what her reps described at the time as a "private family matter." The hiatus lasted about a week, and to this day, the actual family matter was never revealed. Strange. And speaking of strange...