Almost every fan of "Friends" can sing its infamous theme song, "I'll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts. It even hit the top spot on the "Billboard Hot 100" chart and became a radio mainstay throughout the show's run. However, the first choice for the sitcom's theme song was "Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M.
It would be hard to imagine "Friends" without stars like Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox, but in some cases, other actors originally auditioned for and even won the roles. Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer both wanted to play "Chandler." Producers asked both Ellen DeGeneres and Janeane Garofalo to play "Phoebe." Hank Azaria wanted to play "Joey." Courteney Cox and Tea Leoni both won the role of "Rachel" but turned it down.
Central Perk mainstay "Gunther" did not start out as a speaking role. He did not even have a name in the first season. The actor who played him, James Michael Tyler, really worked at a coffee shop called the Bourgeois Pig during the first four seasons of the show. His popularity led to his supporting role.
If you have ever wondered where the characters' names come from, look no further than the characters from the iconic soap opera "All My Children." Chandler's name came from the infamous Chandler family on the soap, while Rachel Green is named for Janet Green. Ross Chandler, Monique Cortland, Joey Martin, and Phoebe Taylor Wallingford all inspired the names of the other four characters.
The show's characters are always reaching into the refrigerator in Monica's apartment to grab a cold drink, but what you may not know is that those drinks are not just television props. The refrigerator really works and holds drinks for the cast and crew, however, Matt LeBlanc once said in an interview that "it smells like a rat died in there".
When it comes to A-list guest stars, "Friends" saw its fair share throughout its 10-year run. Actors such as Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Applegate, Bruce Willis, Charlie Sheen, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Tom Selleck all appeared on the show, among others. Willis and Applegate even went on to win Emmy Awards for their guest spots.
The White Dog
Remember the big white dog statue that Joey purchased for his apartment when he became wealthy? The prop was so popular that it stayed on the show after that particular episode. The actual dog, however, belonged to Jennifer Aniston in real life. Her best friend gave it to her as a gift when she began her acting career.
During one episode of "Friends," some of the characters make a "celebrity list" of famous people they would sleep with given the chance. One of the people on Chandler's list is the fictional character "Jessica Rabbit" from the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" Kathleen Turner, who played Chandler's father on "Friends," actually voiced Jessica Rabbit.
One of the main story lines from the last season of "Friends" revolved around Monica and Chandler's attempts at having a baby, but Monica found out she could not get pregnant. In real life, Courteney Cox did become pregnant during filming, however, so the producers had her wear baggy clothing. A few months after the show ended, she gave birth to her only daughter, Coco Riley Arquette.
David Schwimmer played Courteney Cox's older brother, Ross, on "Friends," but in real life, Cox is actually two years older than Schwimmer. Matthew Perry's character Chandler is also supposed to be the same age as Ross, however, he is five years younger than Cox. Born in 1963, Lisa Kudrow is the show's oldest cast member, while Matthew Perry, born in 1969, is the youngest.
When it comes to ensemble casts on hit television shows, salaries can be a touchy subject, especially if a star emerges and makes more money than everyone else. However, when contract negotiation time rolled around for "Friends," the cast members decided that none of them should make more than the others. For the first season, each of the six stars made $22,500 per episode. By the last season, each star made $1,000,000 per episode.