Ross and Rachel Had an Off-Screen Romance, Plus More Secrets from the Friends Reunion

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Friends Reunion Highlights
Photo: Courtesy of NBC Universal

First of all. It was really good. It was surprisingly good. We laughed – hard – and we even got a more than a little teary-eyed at some particularly emotional moments. Sure, part of the magic was that we were gathered with our own friends who loved the show as much as we did, but seeing these iconic faces back together after all these years was just the hit of nostalgia we didn’t realize we needed.

It wasn’t a new episode or a reboot. It was a reunion of friends, who had shared a unique and special experience together for ten years that ultimately changed the course of their lives. Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc were relatively unknown when they were cast in what was to become one of the most-watched television shows in history. Seventeen years after the series finale aired, the actors walked back onto the set that had been their second home and saw the friends who had become their family.

They sat around a table and read through some of their favorite scenes, they played ‘Friends Trivia’ (kinda like the rest of us do on Game Night), and they were interviewed all together in front of a live audience by James Corden. The flow of the show clipped along at a fast pace, much like the original, and was peppered with scenes from the series, behind-the-scenes footage that never aired, some important guest stars, and of course, most of it revolved around the six main stars interacting with each other. The actors themselves slipped right back into their characters as if it was yesterday, but it was the genuine love and affection that they feel to this day for each other that was palpable – the literal heartbeat – throughout the whole special.

Honestly, we don’t usually go for reboots or reunions, but this one was special. This one was really quite special. We might just have to watch it again. Read on for a list of some of our favorite moments.

1

Ross and Rachel Confess to Off-Screen Romance

When Corden coyly asked if any of them had off-screen romances, the six actors got quiet, until Aniston finally spoke up and said, “David? Do you want to answer this one?” To which Schwimmer awkwardly responded by trying to be adult and admitting that he had a thing for Aniston, particularly in Season 1, and Aniston interjected that it was reciprocated.

We were given behind-the-scenes footage of the two of them flirting with each other between takes, tickling each other, giving those shy but affectionate moon eyes at each other, and then Joey – we mean LeBlanc – confirmed by saying everybody knew and all the other Friends just nodded in emphatic agreement.

Aniston even admitted that at one point she had told Schwimmer that their first kiss better not be on-screen, but seeing how one or the other was always in a relationship – a line that Schwimmer emphatically emphasized they never crossed – their first kiss, was in fact on national television. Do you remember Ross and Rachel’s first kiss? The one in the coffeeshop? How when you watch it, you get chills, you feel it in your gut, and it is probably one of the most memorable and emotional on-screen kisses to date? Yeah, that’s because, as Aniston said, they took all their pent up feelings for each other, and they channeled them into Ross and Rachel, and the chemistry and the spark that they had on-screen was because of what Aniston and Schwimmer had off-screen. Makes you want to watch the whole thing all over again, doesn’t it?

Friends reunion highlights
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
2

Matt LeBlanc Is So Pretty

How did we forget? Here’s a gallery. You’re welcome.

3

Mr. Heckles Looks Exactly the Same

In a slew of guest appearances, one of the best ones had to be when Mr. Heckles, played by the comedic genius Larry Hankin, showed up at the reunion, looking exactly the same. Must be his cats. He doesn’t have any. But he could have cats.

Friends Reunion Highlights 1
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
4

Marcel The Monkey Was Not A Popular Cast Member

Most of the cast admitted to not really liking working with Marcel, Ross’ pet monkey. Aniston said she didn’t mind, to which Schwimmer said, “You didn’t have to touch him.” He went on to say he loves animals, but filming with one, even a trained monkey such as Marcel, was extremely difficult and laborious because of the amount of takes they would have to take for the monkey to hit his marks.

Friends Reunion Highlights 2
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
5

Joey's Sling Was Real. He Dislocated His Shoulder While Taping. And They Showed It.

We all remember when Joey is jumping on the bed, falls off, and ends up in a sling for a few episodes. Well, the truth is, Joey was in a sling because LeBlanc had actually dislocated his shoulder while filming “The One Where No One Is Ready.” In the episode, Joey and Chandler are fighting for the chair – “I’m taking the essence!” if you know, you know – and in one scene they each are rushing to the chair to get there first and Joey jumps and lands in the chair before Chandler. Well, on the fourth take, LeBlanc jumped and landed on his shoulder, dislocated it, and had to be sent to the hospital.

They showed the actual tape of his shoulder dislocated and by the gasps of his fellow actors, they were just as shocked as we were. LeBlanc just nodded his head and said “yeah, it hurt”. They ended up shooting other episodes with him in the sling and came back to “The One Where No One is Ready” and shot it at a later date. We, for one, are glad it didn’t get scrapped, because that is probably one of our favorite episodes ever.

Friends Reunion Highlights 3
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
6

The Actors Did a Huddle Before Every Single Performance

Before each episode was taped, the six main actors would get in a huddle together backstage and hug before going out onto the soundstage and in front of the live studio audience. They did that before every single episode was taped, and in ten seasons they only missed one. The one where LeBlanc dislocated his shoulder on set. You can bet they never missed a huddle after that.

Friends Reunion Highlights 4
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
7

All the Bloopers

You have to watch it to see all the bloopers, but we will say, we loved seeing some iconic moments from the show, that actually started out as bloopers or even pranks that the cast members would play on each other. Like Joey falling during his entrance into Central Perk, or the rock, paper, scissor, fire game, or the best one, when the actors were laughing so hard they couldn’t keep taping. Like during the iconic “Pivot!” scene.

Friends Reunion Highlights 5
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
8

The Special Guests

There was a slew of special guest stars, proving just how far the reach of this show was. From Lady Gaga doing her rendition of ‘Smelly Cat’ with Phoebe, to BTS saying they learned English by watching Friends, what really made us laugh was every time they had a special guest, the producers of the show made sure we knew who they were: “Reese Witherspoon – Oscar-winning actress,” or “David Beckham – Soccer Legend” or something like that. We’re just pretty sure no one watching the Friends Reunion needs to be reminded of Beckham’s icon status in the world. Then again, you never know.

Friends Reunion Highlights 5
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
9

The Inspiration Behind Janice's Laugh

Maggie Wheeler made an appearance and in addition to saying her catchphrase “Oh my gawd!” more than once, she also revealed that Janice’s famous laugh came about because she herself couldn’t keep a straight face when filming her first scenes with funnyman Perry. So she knew she had to give her character a laugh as a way to divert herself from not breaking character whenever Perry’s impeccable comedic ability pushed her to the laughing point. Genius.

Friends Reunion Highlights 6
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
10

Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, and Justin Bieber Modeled The Best Costumes of the Show

In a fun fashion moment, Cara Delevingne, Cindy Crawford, and none other than Justin Bieber came onto a makeshift runway in front of the cast to model the best costumes from the show. Crawford slinked out in Ross’s black leather pants, and Bieber showcased Ross’ ‘Spudnik’ Halloween costume. Delevingne confidently strutted down the catwalk in Rachel’s puffy, pink bridesmaid’s dress – complete with one side tucked into her red underwear – as well as Ross’s Holiday Armadillo costume. Truly, a highlight of her career. But we about died when LeBlanc emerged wearing all of Chandler’s clothes yet again, and started doing lunges down the catwalk. Ah. Good times.

Friends Reunion Highlights 7
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
11

Because You Can Always Count On Your Friends To Be There For You

In a particularly touching moment, multiple people from around the world sent in videos expressing what Friends meant to them. People who were lonely, losing a loved one, trying to find out who they were — they all shared a common thread. No matter what had happened that day, they could go home, turn on Friends, and no matter what episode they were watching, they were sure to laugh.

When that final “Cut” was called after the last episode of the last season, we all felt the loss. Because these friends were always there for us. And that is the heart of it isn’t it? They were our friends too.

Friends Reunion Highlights 5
GIF: Courtesy of Giphy
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