Among the many revelations in the Friends reunion special released overnight by HBO Max: The Ross-and-Rachel romance was fueled by a real-life crush between Jennifer Aniston and costar David Schwimmer during the show’s first season.
Towards the end of the special, host James Corden pops the question that we’ve all wanted the answer to: with a cast comprised of six hot, successful actors, who was hooking up?
And then we get the reveal to end all reveals: Jennifer Aniston turns to David Schwimmer with a total, “Uh, so, you want to or should I?” look, and Friends canon is completely rewritten on the spot. Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer totally had the mutual hots for each other. David and Jen were almost an IRL Ross and Rachel.
“Yeah, the first season, we—I had a major crush on Jen,” said Schwimmer. Aniston added without hesitation: “It was reciprocal.”
The two never acted on it, though, because—just like with Ross and Rachel—there were always complications. “At some point, we were both crushing hard on each other,” said Schwimmer. “But it was like two ships passing because one of us was always in a relationship, so… And we never crossed that boundary. We respected that, and…”
And then Matt LeBlanc coughed out “bullshit” while taking a sip from his mug, causing everyone in the audience to freak the hell out. But he was just kidding! Aniston’s arm shoots up as she tries to set the record straight, and LeBlanc, laughing, says he’s just kidding.
But if this sounds like just an innocent, discreet crush, think again. It was, according to Aniston, something the two of them acknowledged in the early days of Friends, going so far as to insinuate that they should really kiss before their characters beat them to it.
As Aniston put it, “I remember saying one time to David, ‘It’s going to be such a bummer if the first time you and I actually kiss is gonna be on national television.’ Sure enough…! First time we kissed was in that coffee shop. But we just channeled all of our adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel.”
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