What You Don't Know About Courteney Cox

"Friends" is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, offering a glimpse into a time capsule of life as a Gen-Xer in the '90s. While the television show hasn't exactly aged brilliantly — Millennials and Gen-Zers have been quick to point out the myriad problematic plot lines of the series — the sextet of pals remain beloved by ardent devotees. And thanks to Netflix, the series has found a whole new legion of fans.

As Monica Geller, Courteney Cox typified quintessentially '90s girl boss chic, her raven bob arguably as iconic as The Rachel (even if Cox herself hated the 'do). The workaholic chef was symptomatic of the glamorization of grind culture, all the while expertly executed by Cox with melodramatic aplomb. Monica may have been a larger-than-life yuppie-lite character, but the woman who played her is just as intriguing, if not quite as high maintenance.

Aside from her most famous role, Cox starred in the "Scream" franchise alongside ex-hubby David Arquette and as a feisty older woman (by Hollywood standards, anyway) on "Cougar Town." Away from the cameras, Cox has dabbled in more than a fair few projects, from encouraging body (or rather, face) positivity to taking on the role of amateur sleuth and, it must be said, pulling a Monica on some occasions. When it comes to Monica and Cox, let's just say they're as different as night and... later that night. This is what you don't know about Courteney Cox.

Courteney Cox was dancing in the dark

There are numerous celebrities who kickstarted their careers by featuring in music videos. A nearly unrecognizable Courteney Cox made her first ever acting appearance in 1984, when she was cast in the iconic music video for Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark." Complete with a pixie cut, Cox plays a gamine supporter in the crowd whom Springsteen invites on stage to dance with him. As he recalls in the memoir "Born to Run," Springsteen thought he was pulling a random fan onto the stage; unbeknownst to him, Cox had actually been cast in the video.

It turns out that Cox was a huge fan of The Boss. She was, however, less than thrilled when she watched her moves on MTV. "God, he's so incredible. I love that song," she told Howard Stern. "I get a little embarrassed because I do feel like when I watch the video ... I'm not a bad dancer, but that was horrible. I was so nervous." 

The video was directed by none other than Brian De Palma, the man behind acclaimed films such as "Casualties of War" and "Carrie." Per People, when De Palma asked the newbie about her acting experience, an assured Cox replied, "Just two days on 'As the World Turns.' But you can change that." She told Stern that it was her lack of acting and dancing expertise that led to De Palma casting her. "That's what they wanted. A fan that just couldn't believe it," she said.

Courteney Cox was in a progressive Tampax ad

It's not uncommon for Hollywood actors to start out in commercials. From a sunkissed Brad Pitt and his bros selling us Pringles (and, let's be honest, literal thirst traps) to an unmistakably '90s Tina Fey educating the public on high interest rates, the ad world has been a gateway into the entertainment industry for decades. Back in 1984, Courteney Cox appeared in a groundbreaking Tampax commercial, which saw the leotard and leg warmer-sporting 20-year-old uttering the hitherto unutterable. "I'm the first girl to say the word 'period' on television," she said on "Dateline."

As noted by The News Minute, periods had been euphemistically referred to as "time of the month" prior to Cox's Tampax appearance. Even to this day, ads are notorious for employing euphemisms when discussing menstrual cycles. For instance, period commercials swapped out blood with a bizarre blue liquid for many years. In fact, it wasn't until 2017 that the first ever commercial to show blood aired on our screens, per Cosmopolitan. And considering that her onscreen brother Ross was freaked out over breast milk over a decade after her Tampax ad, Cox is no doubt an unwitting pioneer of normalizing bodily functions.

In addition to the 1984 ad being groundbreaking, it also proved a lucrative start for Cox, who was barely out of her teens at the time. She told NBC that national commercials could see actors raking in up to $20,000 a year, so she was pleased when she was offered the stint.

The actor's first love was Michael Keaton

In 1989, Courteney Cox fell for Michael Keaton, hot off the success of his iconic incarnation as the caped crusader in Tim Burton's "Batman." Speaking with People in 1995, she conceded that Keaton was her first great love. "It's the most important relationship I've ever had, and I think he's the most wonderful person I've ever met," she said. The interview came after the couple's five-and-a-half-year relationship drew to an end. "We still love each other," a tearful Cox added. 

She told the outlet that she and Keaton helped each other out when they were rehearsing their lines, with her beau never failing to tickle her funny bone. But when they parted ways, she was as confused as anyone else who had enjoyed watching their understated romance play out. "Nothing about our relationship was ever simple," she said, cryptically. As noted by the Los Angeles Times, tabloids were awash with gossip that the pair had become engaged. This was news to Cox, who joked that she'd love to see the luxury diamond engagement ring Keaton supposedly proposed with.

The breakup was hard on Cox, particularly as it was her most significant relationship to date. "Relationships are tougher than I thought," she told USA Today in 1997 (via People), "and I've got a lot of work to do on myself." It wouldn't be long, however, before she found love again. Sometimes you need to just stop and smell the icing.

Courteney Cox is fighting ageism

By the early 2010s, Courteney Cox found herself at the center of online rumors regarding her ever so slightly tweaked appearance. Gossip sites began speculating that Cox had delved into the world of fillers and Botox. The relentless tattle, which is unfortunately something that many female celebrities over the age of 40 are subjected to, impacted Cox's self-esteem. 

As she explained to New Beauty, she began scrutinizing photos of herself, asking pals for constant reassurance regarding her appearance. Although she did have fillers in the past, Cox slowly began to regret her use of injectables and subsequently had them all dissolved. She blamed much of her insecurities on her childhood, as her parents would frequently emphasize the importance of good looks. Moreover, she admitted that her aesthetic treatments began with minor modifications via fillers, but got out of hand when doctors kept suggesting additional treatments. "The next thing you know, you're layered and layered and layered. You have no idea because it's gradual ... I have one friend who was like, 'Whoa, no more!'" Cox recalled.

Now, she embraces the natural look. "There was a time when you go, 'Oh, I'm changing. I'm looking older.' And I tried to chase that [youthfulness] for years," she told The Times in 2022. "And I didn't realize that, oh s***, I'm actually looking really strange... doing stuff to my face that I would never do now." Cox added that she feels young in her late 50s and is embracing life to the full after years of self-doubt.

Courteney Cox was tired of mothering David Arquette

Courtney Cox fell in love with David Arquette on the set of "Scream" in 1996. "Fell in love on the first, hated on the second, got married right before the third," she joked on "Good Morning America." In 1999, the couple enjoyed a glitzy wedding at Grace Cathedral with Cox's "Friends" co-stars present, per People. Unfortunately, however, "The One Where Monica Marries David Arquette" didn't have a happy ending.

The once adoring pair eventually proved incompatible. Appearing on "The Howard Stern Show" (via Today), Arquette admitted that he could be a big kid at the best of times, which displeased his wife. "She said to me, 'I don't want to be your mother anymore,'" he said following their 2010 split. "And I appreciated that about her ... She didn't want to tell me, 'Don't do that.' She didn't want to nag me anymore." The actor reiterated that Cox often had to adopt a maternal role in the marriage when speaking with Yahoo! in 2018.

Indeed, Cox was less than impressed when her ex divulged personal details about their bedroom antics, which he claimed were severely lacking. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, she attributed Arquette's remarks to a lack of maturity as opposed to intentional malice, quipping, "Most guys aren't that mature, are they? They just don't think the way we think." As Cox said on "Good Morning America," the split was essential to the pair's growth, and their relationship post-divorce is the healthiest it has ever been.

She was supposed to play Rachel

Most fans can't possibly imagine the feisty, fiercely competitive Monica being played by anyone other than Courteney Cox. Likewise, Jennifer Aniston embodied fashionista Rachel with panache. But if the "Friends" creators had it their way, the show would have turned out very differently. Producers were intent on casting Cox as Rachel, but the actor was averse to the idea, having fallen for Monica. Likewise, the showrunners couldn't envisage Cox as Monica. "She had this cheery, upbeat energy. We thought, well, that's not how we envisioned Monica," the show's co-creator Marta Kauffman told NBC News. "And then she came in and did it, and we went, huh!"

Despite protestations from the series' creators, Cox turned down the role, insistent that she would be more adept at playing Monica. During an appearance on "Off Camera with Sam Jones," she elaborated on why she was disinterested in portraying Rachel. "I related more to Monica," the actor explained, though she reassured Jones that she's nowhere near as competitive as the high maintenance chef.

Speaking with Rolling Stone in 1995, Cox conceded that though she was curious about potentially playing Rachel, her personal characteristics did not align with the character's idiosyncrasies. "I'm not a quirky person," she admitted, "although I'd like to be, because it looks like fun. I'm working toward being a kook." We can't help but wonder how the show would have panned out with Cox as Rachel. Well, maybe we don't need to know. Wait, wait, we said maybe!

Courteney Cox has a rocker beau

Since 2013, Courtney Cox has dated Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid. Per the Daily Mail, the "Friends" alum and the Irish rocker were set up thanks to celeb pals. Ed Sheeran, who is Cox's unlikely bestie, told the outlet that he introduced the pair, but it was Borat himself, aka Sacha Baron Cohen, who set them up. "It's just two people who fell in love and I hope they're really happy," the musician said of his friends' romance.

Ever since then, the lovers have been inseparable (even if Sheeran claims that Cox first met McDaid's parents at the Tesco grocery store — just think of it as the U.K. and Ireland's answer to Walmart). After six months of dating, McDaid popped the question, per People. Although they ultimately called off their engagement, it turns out that McDaid didn't need to put a ring on it to show Cox how much he adores her.

"I've never loved like I love this woman," McDaid said in Us Weekly of his lady love. Cox is just as smitten, telling People, "I love his heart, his intentions. His morals. He's extremely talented and obviously musical, but he's a poet and a writer. He's just so smart, and I find that really sexy. And then he is gorgeous." And while McDaid has admitted that his lover often can't understand a word he says, these two are in it for the long haul. To paraphrase Cox's onscreen beau Chandler, could they be any more in love?

Courteney Cox's lucrative home care career

In addition to acting, Courteney Cox has a passion for renovating houses, a hobby she's pursued since the '80s. Per People, Cox had bought four houses by 1995 and renovated all of them. Accordingly, she was able to make a pretty profit on the properties when she went on to sell them in tip top condition, thanks to her decorating skills.

During an appearance on "The Delta Flyers Podcast" (via The Mirror), actor Robert Duncan McNeill, Cox's co-star in '80s flick "Masters of the Universe," recounted an instance in which the "Friends" star bought a house, which she then reimagined and sold, during the making of the film. "She loved doing those remodels and renovation. ... We've lost touch, but I heard that even in those 'Friends' days that ... she loved to flip houses. She loved to remodel, renovate, and then flip it out," he revealed.

Cox is serious about her love of property makeovers. Subsequently, she wants to make "house-care" as prevalent as self-care. Per Allure, she launched her brand Homecourt, which specializes in scented candles, cleaning remedies, and soaps, to encourage people to nurture their homes. "We take such good care of our bodies, so why not do the same thing with the products that we use in our house?" Cox asked. With a whopping net worth of $150 million according to Celebrity Net Worth, there's no doubt that Cox's property renovations and home care line have added handsomely to her bank balance.

Courteney Cox tried to find a missing girl's killer

In 2005, the country was rocked by the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an 18-year-old student from Alabama who vanished while on vacation in Aruba, per CNN. Courteney Cox went to the same high school as Holloway and also hailed from her hometown. So when Holloway was declared missing, Cox joined the effort to uncover what happened to her, per CBS News.

"Everybody has been touched by this, so they all want to participate and help," family friend Jodi Bear man told the outlet. Holloway's aunt, Marcia Twitty, said that Cox suggested the idea of a celebrity auction to bring the case to wider attention. The A-list actor's efforts deeply touched the family. "You just go, 'Wow, this many people actually care about what's going on.' And they really do," Twitty said. Accordingly, the sitcom star raised money to help fund the police investigation, as well as the family's expenses in Aruba, by auctioning off stacks of "Friends" memorabilia.

According to WAFF, the sale raised an impressive $110,000. In the wake of the auction, brothers Satish and Deepak Kalpoe were arrested in connection with Holloway's possible murder, but they were soon released. By 2012, Holloway was sadly declared dead; her killer is believed to be Dutchman Joran van der Sloot, who admitted to murdering another girl five years after Holloway's disappearance, per The Guardian. Although Cox's efforts didn't result in finding Holloway's remains, the money she raised helped keep the investigation alive.

The actor is eerily similar to Monica

"Friends" character Monica was renowned for being highly strung, high maintenance, and at the best of times, acting like Her Royal Highness. Courteney Cox played her well, but perhaps a little too well. It turns out that the actor who portrayed Ms. Geller for a decade isn't too dissimilar from her after all.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Cox admitted to being freaked out when she watched herself onscreen, noting the striking similarities between herself and the plucky perfectionist. "I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm just like Monica. This is too scary,'" she confessed. "I have a lot of glass in my house, and I remember saying as a joke once that I clean my stuff with Windex while my friends are over, but then I found myself actually doing that the other day. It's horrible."

Monica was notorious for injecting herself into other people's lives, torturing her pals in the process. Lest we forget when she was micromanaging everything — and everyone — after she was appointed party planner for Mike and Phoebe's wedding. Based on the testimonies of Cox's irl friends, there's more than a dash of Monica in the gal from Birmingham. "Courteney gets involved with everything from how you dress to plucking your eyebrows," her pal Theresa Lowrey told People. "Once she followed me into my dentist's office and told him how she thought my front teeth should be filed." Let's just hope that Cox didn't pull a Monica...

Courteney Cox suffered several miscarriages

"Friends" may have been all fun and games, but filming some of the series' most memorable and heartwarming scenes proved extremely painful for Cox. Throughout the show's run, she suffered a number of miscarriages. Sadly, one occurred when she was set to film a scene that was all too relevant. "I remember one time I just had a miscarriage and Rachel was giving birth," she recalled on "Dateline." "Oh my God, it was terrible having to be funny."

Speaking to New Beauty, she revealed that the miscarriages were caused by a genetic condition. "About four years ago I found out I have something called a MTHFR gene mutation, which dictates how my body methylated," she explained, noting that she has the most damaging version of the mutation (she suggested that the gene may also be partly responsible for her father's cancer).

But Cox eventually did become a mom. Thanks to IVF, she welcomed her rainbow baby, Coco, in 2004 with then husband David Arquette, per People. As she once poignantly told the outlet, "I get pregnant pretty easily, but I have a hard time keeping them." In an interview with her fellow "Cougar Town" actor Busy Philipps, Cox stated that she wanted to challenge the stigma surrounding miscarriages. "I had a lot of miscarriages, and I don't think that's something that people shouldn't talk about... It was unfortunate but it happens," she said on Philipps' talk show, adding that she was determined to never give up on her dreams of motherhood.

Courteney Cox learned about makeup from her daughter

Courteney Cox's daughter, Coco, has always had an eye for makeup. Back in 2011, the actor told Harper's Bazaar that Coco, then aged just 7, was giving her makeup tips in the wake of her divorce from David Arquette. And Coco's tween MUA skills were only just beginning.

Chatting with New Beauty, Cox admitted that she much prefers keeping things natural when it comes to beauty and skincare. Her teen daughter, on the other hand, couldn't disagree more. A huge fan of "RuPaul's Drag Race," Coco has taught her natural beauty-obsessed mom an awful lot about makeup. "She's really good at it... On the weekends you would think she's going out to a rager at 2 a.m. — eyeliner, mascara, highlighter on her cheeks," she revealed. We think that Monica would approve of Coco always being on fleek.

As for her daughter's huge social media presence (Coco the mini influencer has amassed over 300k followers on Instagram), Cox isn't too happy. "I don't like that she has them," she told The Times. "It just feels weird to me. What are people attaching to?" During an appearance on "Off Camera with Sam Jones," she contrasted the seemingly frivolous problems of the "Friends" characters to those of the youth of today, using her daughter as an example of the potentially pernicious nature of social media. The actor explained that she often tries to confiscate her daughter's phone, but Coco demands that she must not lose her streaks.

Monica and Rachel are IRL BFFs

Ever since they met on the set on "Friends," Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston have been inseparable. As Cox told Rolling Stone in 1995, "As completely corny and weird as it may sound to everyone, these people are now my friends." While her friendships with other co-stars may have been hampered by Chandlerisms, she remains BFFs with Aniston. When Cox broke up with hubby David Arquette, it was Aniston who consoled her. Speaking to The Mirror about this painful period in her life, Cox called Aniston "the greatest girl."

And this love is mutual. Cox has her gal's back no matter what. "She's been there for me through thick and thin... There's absolutely no judgment in Court," Aniston told More (via Daily Mail). "You'll never feel scolded. She's extremely fair, ridiculously loyal and fiercely loving." While Aniston didn't want to speak too candidly about her personal struggles, she said that Cox had welcomed her into her home and let her sleep in the guest bedroom on many occasions.

The besties' relationship isn't confined to discussing messy breakups, however. They also love vacationing together. Per E! News, the tanned twosome went on a Beach vacay to Mexico in 2014 and even twinned in purple swimsuits. And when Aniston wed Justin Theroux the following year, the maid of honor was none other than Cox, per People. Sadly, the pair called it quits a couple of years later; Cox no doubt told her bestie, "I'll be there for you."