Within the cast of “Friends,” there were a lot of crazy moments where art imitated life, and vice versa. Some on-screen arcs eerily resembled what was really going on with the actors behind the scenes, and we’re not just talking about all those fangirl-y moments over Joey Tribbiani’s Hollywood friends, either — that’s a given.
The amount of parallels that ran between the actors' real lives and their onscreen story lines is actually pretty impressive, and since we’re always down for a trip back to the orange couch for “Friends”-related chatter, we’re here to point ‘em out:
Lisa Kudrow was pregnant the same time as Phoebe ... just not with triplets.
Whether you were into the whole Phoebe giving birth to her brother’s triplets plot line or not, there was a good reason for the writers to squeeze that baby (or babies, as it were) into her already ”Oprah”-worthy life history: Lisa Kudrow really was pregnant at the time. You might think, “cool, she didn’t need a bodysuit, then,” but nope. She still had to wear one, because even though she really was expecting at the same time as her character in Season 4, her belly wasn’t quite big enough to resemble bearing a trio in utero, so she had to pad it up a bit.
She was far enough along by the end of the season, though, to restrict her from traveling to London with the rest of the group to shoot Ross’ wedding scenes. That's why her scenes were phoned in — just like Phoebe’s — from the comforts of the Burbank, California studio instead. She’d already had her son by the time Phoebe gave birth the next season, and Kudrow’s newfound maternal instincts seemed to lend some depth to the moment when she cradled her new nieces and nephew in the hospital.
One of the "Friends" had an IRL stalker ... but it wasn't Joey.
On-screen, Matt LeBlanc’s character found himself fighting off the attention of a crazed fan, but in real life, it was Jennifer Aniston who had to take action and stave off a stalker. In 2010, the actress had to get a restraining order against a man who literally carved the words “I love you Jennifer Aniston” into his car, then drove from Pennsylvania to California to track her down. When police found this dude, here’s what he had on him: a sharp object, duct tape, and love letters for Aniston. You be the judge of what his intentions were.
Matt LeBlanc ALMOST landed a "VD Boy"-esque campaign.
Like his character counterpart, Matt LeBlanc was once taking whatever work he could get, including hysterical old commercials. Only instead of a flingin’ flangin’ milk carton it was a giant Coca-Cola bottle, and instead of Ichiban’s lipstick for men, it was Heinz ketchup which he put on his mouth. (There was even a cereal ad that looked a lot like his “I love Rachel” revelation moment.)
One job LeBlanc refused, however, was a cold sore cream plug that might’ve had similar results to that time Joey did an STD awareness campaign and became known as “VD boy.” Very wisdom-ous of him.
"Anastasakis" is more than just a random Greek name — it's Jennifer Aniston's real one.
When Rachel was hunting down a replacement officiant for Monica and Chandler’s wedding, she came upon a Greek ceremony and read the sign aloud, which included the name Anastasakis. It was a bit of a throwaway moment, but in reality that was actually Aniston’s family’s original name, as her father, John Aniston, was born Giannis Anastasakis.
It wasn’t the only time a nod to nomenclature would be included in the “Friends” mix; the writers also slipped in a few winks to their friends, like Marta Kauffman’s rabbi, who got heat for having his name in the show because it was referencing a character Rachel had, um, been with in her past.
Much like Monica, Courteney Cox also had fertility issues.
This one’s a little sad, actually. While Monica and Chandler were enduring the realization that they would probably never be able to conceive, Courteney Cox was going through the same thing in her own marriage with David Arquette. In the DVD extras for the season, the producers claimed they didn’t know she was experiencing this heartache at the time, but in the end, it worked out for everyone. Monica and Chandler were picked for an adoption (of twins, no less), and Cox ended up getting pregnant with her daughter Coco during the show’s 10th season.
Much like Chandler, Matthew Perry used a "Friend" as a diet coach.
Remember when Chandler tried to lose a few vanity pounds and it gave Monica a full-on reason for being? Rumor has it, Matthew Perry turned to one of his “Friends,” Aniston, for some real-life aide in dropping some weight, and she became his personal trainer. No confirmation on whether she ever used the phrase “energy train, woo woo” or offered to flash him as motivation for sit-ups.
Rachel and Joshua dated offscreen.
Brad Pitt wasn’t the only one of Aniston’s flames to make it into the show, and even though he played a guy who co-founded the “I Hate Rachel Club,” his was far from the most awkward. Tate Donovan, who played Rachel’s Bloomingdale’s customer-turned-love interest, had actually just broken off his long-time relationship with Aniston when he was invited to join the show for a recurring role.
“I was like, 'Well, maybe it would be good through this break-up.' What an idiot … I remember it was April, and when I called her she thought it was an April Fool’s joke,” Donovan later explained. “It was horrible. It was so tough, man. It was so tough, oh gosh. I remember getting back to my dressing room and just weeping.” The rumored reason for their split was that Aniston wanted to get married, but that might've just been drawn from Rachel’s rushed proposal at the coffee house.
Lisa Kudrow can play guitar (poorly) and speak French (a little), just like Phoebe.
Remember when Phoebe tried to teach Joey things to beef up his resume? Like how to play the guitar (“you nailed the old lady!”) and how to speak French? Well, Kudrow was about as skilled as her character on both accounts. It was Kudrow’s decision to halt pre-production guitar lessons early on out of frustration, sure that it’d be funnier for her to kinda suck at it — and by smelly cat, she was right — and she actually does know how to speak French a little, and is even married to a French guy … ooh la la.
(Interestingly enough, Matt LeBlanc, as his last name might hint, actually CAN speak French fluently.)
David Schwimmer is married to a much (much) younger woman.
David Schwimmer might not be as marriage — and divorce — obsessed as Ross Geller, but he does have a large age gap between himself and his real-life wife, 30-year-old Zoe Buckman, just as Ross did with his short-lived girlfriend Elizabeth from Season 6. Whether his interactions with Zoe's dad are as eventful as what with down with Mr. Stevens, however, remains unclear.