‘Friends: The Reunion’ sparked the outpour of various bitter revelations about the six renowned cast members that had been under the wraps till now, namely that they had fought over their remuneration.
Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey have been such an integral part of so many people’s life. The show’s legacy endured long after it ended in 2004 as it was discovered among newer generations. Given this, it can be heartbreaking to know that the ‘FRIENDS’ cast once fought with each other over something superficial like money. Recent revelations by Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Courteney Cox (Monica), and Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) throw light on this fight between the ‘FRIENDS’ cast.
- Bitterness among the ‘Friends’ cast
- The end of the bitterness
BITTERENESS OVER PAY
‘FRIENDS’ has been one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time. The purple and yellow themed apartment of Monica and Rachel and Central Perk along with the journey of all the characters have become extremely personal to many fans. Therefore, it was inevitable that the producers do their best to keep the cast happy in order to maintain the show’s quality. The salary paid to the actors posed a monumental role in this. At the same time, money also created a certain “bitterness” among cast members as revealed by the female trio of ‘FRIENDS’.
The ladies disclosed how significant it became for all the six actors to be paid an equal amount. For the final and tenth season of the sitcom, each of the actors was paid $1 million per episode. But the cast had to lobby for equal pay. In a conversation at ‘The Howard Stern Show’, Jennifer Anniston mentioned,
“We’re all doing the exact same amount of work. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable knowing I was making more”.
In fact, as disclosed by Courteney Cox, through their labour union-esque work, the cast set a precedent of equal pay for other productions to come. She echoed feelings similar to Anniston’s and expressed,
“We all felt that way. I thought it was the most important thing—as we all did—that we all were equal in every single way. That was the first time that people had all stuck together in a cast. I think it was scary, probably, for productions after that”.
However, the story behind the struggle to achieve equal pay also brought to light that there had been bitterness among the cast members over the gaps in money being paid to them and their fellow colleagues.
Lisa Kudrow said that by bringing everyone’s salaries at par, “It just got rid of bitterness”.
The’ FRIENDS’ cast could avoid a full-blown fight with producers or among themselves by achieving equal pay. Had it not been for the ‘FRIENDS’ reunion, fans would never have known that the cast fought for a fair salary.
FORGING A BOND
After all this, it’s relieving to know that Kudrow mentioned acquiring the same salaries birthed “a great relationship” among the cast that excluded fights but “is really rare and really lucky“. She expressed her gratitude towards Cox whom she said “had a lot to do with it” since “she was the most well known“.
Anniston was also not behind in showering her co-actors with praise. She agreed that the cast took good care of each other and said,
“It was healing. We actually kind of parented and healed and loved each other”.
This off-screen loving bond was evident on the screen when they staged their respective iconic characters. The chemistry among them felt so organic in ‘FRIENDS’, thanks to the efforts of the cast to let go of the bitterness in a self-indulgent era where it would have been easier for them to fight for power grabs with each other. This considerate and enduring dynamic between the six actors was also highlighted during HBO Max‘s ‘FRIENDS: The Reunion’.
Perhaps, the most important part as the cast gathered together in Central Perk once again to reminisce the decade-long show was Mathew Perry (Chandler) coming clear about this anxiety.
Perry recollected that he had been extremely worried about the audience’s reaction to his performance as he expressed, “To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh”. It would be so serious that he “would sweat and just go into convulsions” without the knowledge of other cast members. Although Perry said he experienced this each night of the shoot, Lisa Kudrow replied, “You didn’t tell us that. I don’t remember you ever saying that“.
Perry who has struggled with mental health issues and alcoholism before could finally open up to his fellow cast members after years. While it is so easy for any cast to fight with each other, the ‘FRIENDS’ actors have been able to stay strong through it all, reiterating to each other: “I’ll be there for you“.
What do you think of the bond between the ‘FRIENDS’ cast? Comment below!