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 — meaning that the personal plot lines of the actors who played Joey, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Ross have been just as complicated as their on-screen antics.

Matthew Perry revealed that he couldn't even remember some of his time on the sitcom due to substance abuse. When asked about his least favorite episodes of the show during an interview with BBC's Chris Evans, Perry replied, "I ​don't remember three years of it so none of those" (via USA Today). He added, "I was a little out of it at the time. Somewhere between seasons three and six." Yikes.

Whose wedding invitations got lost in the mail? And who really, really ticked off their neighbors? Let's take a deep dive into the dark secrets of the cast of Friends.

Matthew Perry battled addiction for years

Matthew Perry (a.k.a. Chandler Bing) was very candid about his struggles with a prescription pain pill and alcohol addiction. According to Page Six, the late Friends funny guy was in rehab twice — once in 1997 and again in 2001. You'd think on being one of the most popular sitcoms at such a young age would be a dream come true, but Perry continued to struggle.

"I was on Friends from age 24 to 34. I was in the white-hot flame of fame," he told Today in 2013. "The six of us were just everywhere all the time. From an outsider's perspective, it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism."

Although Perry didn't remember three seasons of the show, he made it clear that he never abused drugs or alcohol while on set. "I was never high at work," he added. "I was painfully, painfully hung over. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn't hide it, and then everybody knew."

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Jennifer Aniston couldn't escape Brangelina's shadow

Jennifer Aniston and Brad 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 (or now, divorce) 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," Aniston (a.k.a. Rachel Green) told ET ahead of the 2015 Critics Choice Awards, for which both she 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."

In 2020, Aniston and Pitt had an affectionate reunion at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards, but don't get your hopes up. The pair are just, well, friends. "They are friends and happy for each other. They want nothing but happiness for each other," a source told People. "She is happy to have Brad back in her life as a friend, but that's it."

David Schwimmer turned into a recluse amid his Friends fame

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.  

Matt LeBlanc also struggled to cope with fame

In a slightly darker echo of David Schwimmer's reaction to fame, Friends co-star Matt 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.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

This Friends star admitted to getting two DUIs before his fame

While discussing his black comedy series, Episodes, where his character gets arrested for drunk driving during a family trip in a Season 3 episode, Matt LeBlanc admitted to The Telegraph to getting popped for two DUIs in real life before he became a household name. "Twice, I think," he explained. "When I was young and stupid. I wasn't driving fast, just crooked. The press never got hold of the mugshots. I was lucky."

The Friends alum went on to claim that acting out those situations in front of the camera allowed him to avoid them when he's not working. "It's like pre-emptive therapy. A crystal ball. I see the results of my indiscretions before they happen," he said, before adding, "These days the writers have to protect me from myself. I pitch stories to them and they say, 'Oh God, Matt, you don't do that? Don't tell anyone. For God's sake, go to church!'"

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. Howard claimed he was owed 5 percent of Kudrow's residuals from the hit sitcom and a Los Angeles Superior Court jury agreed, ordering Kudrow to hand over $1.6 million to her former manager (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Then things got weird. The jury foreman during the trial, Steve de Bode, wrote a letter to Kudrow's lawyer and apologized for the verdict. "I personally hold her in the highest regard for her bravery, honesty and determination in facing public scrutiny and media attention for what is and should have remained a private matter, in order to fight for what she, and now I, believe was right," he wrote (via The Hollywood Reporter). "Please pass on my personal apology for the verdict to Lisa Kudrow and let her know that I firmly believe the majority decision was not correct."

Kudrow demanded a new trial after the letter was received, but at the time of this writing, no new trial has taken place.

Jennifer Aniston angered her ex-boyfriend's widow

In a 2015 interview with The New York Times, Jennifer 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-fiancé] 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 admitted 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," Cox explained. "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.

Matt LeBlanc's personal life became tabloid fodder

How you doin'? Well, if you're Matt LeBlanc's personal life in the tabloids, you're not so well. During an interview in 2005, LeBlanc admitted 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."

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 didn't happen, because LeBlanc was already dating his Joey co-star, Andrea Anders. According to People, some alleged LeBlanc's relationship with Anders was one of the causes of his divorce, but LeBlanc didn't comment.

In November 2014, rumors circulated that LeBlanc had cheated on longtime girlfriend Andrea Anders, after In Touch (via E!) 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!. "That absolutely did not happen," his rep said. "Fans were coming up to him all night asking for pictures."

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.

Jennifer Aniston didn't invite half the cast to her wedding to Justin Theroux

Jennifer Aniston's surprise nuptials to second husband Justin Theroux made headlines for lots of reasons, including because some notable people were missing from the guest list this time around: 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." He also revealed he "missed" her first wedding to Brad Pitt due to his work schedule. Aniston's wedding to Theroux was a surprise to everyone, including Perry. "It was a surprise to me, as well," said Perry. "I wasn't invited. So what can you do?"

It appears it was only a Girls Only event. "The girls were there," LeBlanc told ET, referring to Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow. "You've got to have the girls there." The publication reports that Cox served as Aniston's maid of honor.

David Schwimmer pissed off his NYC neighbors

David Schwimmer is best known for Friends, but when it came to purchasing a property in New York City's East Village, the actor found out rather quickly that he didn't have many friends in the neighborhood. Why? Well, in 2010, he purchased townhouse built in 1852, then immediately destroyed it to build a six-story mansion (via Page Six). Let's just say nobody on the street brought him over cookies as a housewarming gift.

"All the new people are yuppie transients. If I see David Schwimmer on the street, I'll be sure to give him my two cents!" said Charlett Hobart, who had lived on the street for 37 years at the time. "People who have been living here a long time don't like new people coming in."

The Schwimmer hate got so bad that neighborhood residents spray-painted "ROSS IS NOT COOL" on construction boards outside the property, per Gawker. Other notes left at the construction site included: "The destruction of an irreplaceable historic building for what???" and "F**k you + your uglyness [sic]" (via HuffPost). Ross was everybody's least favorite, right? We can admit this now.

Courtney Cox mysteriously halted production of Cougar Town

Five years after the Friends finale, Courtney Cox returned to television in the ABC sitcom, Cougar Town. The series had its sixth and final season in 2015, but during the first season, the show's future was called into doubt when production was halted after Cox left the series. "We can confirm production on Cougar Town has been temporarily shut down in order for Courteney to deal with a private family matter," ABC said in a statement (via E!).

Neither the network nor Cox's representatives gave any more information regarding the specific family matter she was dealing with, and at the time of this writing, that's still the case. However, almost a year later, Cox and David Arquette — who met on the set of the 1996 slasher movie Scream — announced they were separating after 11 years of marriage in 2010. "The reason for this separation is to better understand ourselves and the qualities we need in a partner and for our marriage," their joint statement said. "We remain best friends and responsible parents to our daughter and we still love each other deeply," the couple said in a statement, per the Independent.

Cox and Arquette, who've remained completely amicable and committed to raising their only daughter, Coco, finalized their divorce in 2013. A happy divorce? Who knew that was possible in Hollywood?

Lisa Kudrow opened up about her struggles with body issues during Friends

During an April 2021 appearance on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Lisa Kudrow opened up about the body image issues she experienced on the set of Friends. "You see yourself on TV, and it's that, 'Oh my god, I'm just a mountain of a girl,'" she said. "And I'm already bigger than [co-stars Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston]. Taller, bigger. My bones feel bigger, I just felt like this mountain of a woman next to them."

Kudrow admitted that she tried to stay skinny "on purpose," due to her body image issues and perceived societal standards. "Unfortunately for a woman, if you're underweight, you look good," she explained, but stated her weight loss took a toll on her physical well-being. "When I was too thin, I was sick all the time, a cold, sinus infection, some kind of flu — I was always sick," she said.

Now, the 50-something-year-old doesn't really care as much and has embraced her body. "I just go, 'Alright, so what? ... You're older, that's a good thing, why is that a bad thing?'" she said. Kudos to Kudrow.