Friends first hit the airwaves on Sept. 22, 1994, and it's hard to believe the cast was full of relative unknowns back then! In honor of the upcoming and long-awaited Friends reunion, let's take a closer look at what Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry looked like then and what they look like now.
They were practically babies in 1994! Clockwise from far left: Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green) and Courteney Cox (Monica Geller). The hit sitcom ran for 10 seasons, wrapping up in 2004.
Jennifer Aniston: Then
The then-25-year-old actress had been through a few failed sitcoms before Friends, including Molloy, Ferris Bueller (yes, there was a TV version) and Muddling Through. But imagine if one of them lasted -- we would have never had "The Rachel," both the 'do and the character, who will always be our favorite Central Perk waitress turned fashion exec.
Jennifer Aniston: Now
Sure, the whole cast is A-listers at this point, but Jennifer is arguably the most famous of the bunch. On a personal level, she had two very high-profile relationships, marrying Brad Pitt (who guest-starred on the NBC hit) in 2000 before divorcing one year after Friends left the airwaves, followed by a two-year marriage to Justin Theroux, which ended in 2017.
Professionally, the 52-year-old actress has had mixed success in the film world, with some of her biggest hits including Rumor Has It, The Break-Up, He’s Just Not That Into You and Horrible Bosses. Her most recent movies were 2018’s Dumplin’ and a reunion flick with Adam Sandler, 2019's Murder Mystery, both on Netflix. She also received an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for playing a woman who stalks Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock and was nominated for a slew of awards for 2014's Cake. She has returned to the television world, and received a 2020 Emmy nomination for her role in Apple+’s The Morning Show alongside Reese Witherspoon, who just so happened to play Rachel’s younger sister, Jill, on Friends.
Courteney Cox: Then
Before bringing the neurotic, clean-freak known as Monica Geller to life, she had starring roles on Misfits of Science (1985-86) Family Ties (she joined the sitcom’s last two seasons from 1987-89) and The Trouble With Larry (1993). Courteney -- who was 30 when she was cast as the chef who inherited one of the greatest TV apartments ever from Grandma Geller -- was also the woman staring adoringly up at Bruce Springsteen before getting pulled onstage by The Boss in the "Dancing in the Dark" music video. It’s a true work of '80s hip-shimmying art.
Courteney Cox: Now
The 56-year-old actress starred on the short-lived show Dirt before finding sitcom success again with Cougar Town, which ran from 2009-2015. She also reprised her role as Gale Weathers-Riley in 2011's Scream 4. Her last small screen appearances include a guest role on Shameless in 2018 and an episode of Modern Family in 2020, in which she played herself.
Adorably, Arquette was added to the last name of everyone on the cast in the first Friends episode that aired after Courteney wed David Arquette in 1999 and added his last name to hers. They would divorce in 2013, however; the pair shares a 16-year-old daughter, Coco.
Lisa Kudrow: Then
At 31, Lisa was the oldest main cast member. She portrayed Phoebe Buffay, the ditzy, hippie masseuse with a heart of gold and a head in the clouds. Though Phoebe is what made her a household name, the Vassar grad actually first played Ursula Buffay, Phoebe’s twin sister, on Mad About You.
Lisa Kudrow: Now
It may have seemed like the whole world was watching Friends, but it turns out, Lisa, now 57, wasn’t one of them! During an episode of the YouTube series, Hiking With Kevin, she reiterated a statement she’s made before, telling Kevin Nealon that she's never seen an episode of the beloved show. "I should," she said. "I hear it’s good."
Shortly after Friends ended, Lisa starred as Valerie Cherish in The Comeback, which was well-received despite lasting only two seasons. The Romy and Michele's High School Reunion star was later nominated for an Emmy for Web Therapy, the Showtime show that she produced and starred on from 2011-2015 that started as an improvised web series in 2008, and she produces TLC’s long-running Who Do You Think You Are?. She's most recently been seen on the big screen in 2019's Long Shot and Booksmart and had guest spots on shows like Scandal, Angie Tribeca and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She also starred in the TV shows Space Force and Feel Good, among others.
David Schwimmer: Then
It's hard to imagine anyone else playing the socially awkward paleontologist/college professor Ross Geller, who was as infamous for his many marriages as his clumsiness. That and yelling, "PIVOT!," of course. Before he was cast at age 27 as Monica Geller's big brother, Schwimmer had recurring roles on shows like The Wonder Years, L.A. Law and NYPD Blue.
David Schwimmer: Now
The 54-year-old actor's film career never quite took off after Friends -- though he did voice Melman the Giraffe in the Madagascar film franchise and appeared in the dark comedy Big Nothing -- but he's had plenty of success on the small screen. He received his second Emmy for his role as Robert Kardashian on 2016's American Crime Story and he played Grace's love interest on the Will & Grace revival, which was a true meeting of '90s giants. He also stars in the sitcom Intelligence, which airs on Peacock. He also made his Broadway debut in 2006 and his directorial film debut with 2017's Run Fatboy Run. The Queens native is dad to one daughter, 10-year-old Cleo, with his ex, Zoë Buckman, whom he wed in 2010 and separated from seven years later.
Matt LeBlanc: Then
Well before Jersey Shore, Matt made hearts swoon with his portrayal of Italian-American actor Joey Tribbiani, who wasn't the brightest but sure was loyal, even to his hand twin. The Massachusetts native got his break in a Heinz ketchup commercial in 1987 and had a recurring role as Vinnie Verducci on Married... With Children, which led to parts in two short-lived spinoffs, Top of the Heap and Vinnie and Bobby. He was 27 when he took on his Friends role, which he continued to play in the two-season spinoff, Joey.
Matt LeBlanc: Now
His sitcom roots have treated him well. Though none of his shows have had the success that Friends did (really, how could they?), the 53-year-old actor has always worked steadily. He took a years-long hiatus from acting, returning to TV in 2011 as a fictional version of himself on Episodes, which was written by Friends co-creator David Crane. Matt won a Golden Globe for Best Actor and was nominated for four Emmys for the role. After appearing on a 2012 episode of Top Gear, he became a co-host of the show from 2016-18. He also starred on CBS' Man With a Plan, which came to an end in June 2020 after four seasons. As for his personal life, Matt wed Melissa McKnight in 2003; they welcomed daughter Marina one year later but divorced in 2006.
Matthew Perry: Then
He was the king of the one-liner as Chandler Bing (aka Chanandler Bong), the sarcastic only child of an erotic romance novelist and drag queen. Joey's roommate and Ross' college BFF worked in "statistical analysis and data reconfiguration," and even his friends fell asleep when trying to understand what he did for a living. Matthew played Chazz Russell on Second Chance/Boys Will Be Boys before making his big screen debut in 1988's A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon and later playing Valerie Bertinelli's younger brother on 1990's Sydney. The then-25-year-old actor had actually already been cast in a pilot called LAX 2194, but the show took a while to get off the ground, so he auditioned for Friends as a back-up option -- which clearly worked in his favor!
Matthew Perry: Now
The Canadian-American actor became known for his post-Friends one-season curse; he was regularly cast as the lead in shows but they rarely lasted very long -- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine and Go On all barely made it a full season, though his turn on CBS' The Odd Couple reboot in 2015 did last for three. He's had a serious of health issues as well, including spending some time in rehab over the years, which started during his years on Friends, and he tweeted in September 2018 that he had spent three months in the hospital following surgery, which was reportedly for a gastrointestinal perforation. His last major film role came in 2009's 17 Again, and he hasn't been on a red carpet since 2017, the same year he starred alongside Katie Holmes in the mini-series, The Kennedys After Camelot, and had a guest spot on The Good Fight.