Can you believe that it's nearly 25 years since the first episode of Friends aired? It feels like only yesterday that we were first watching Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, and Joey having a coffee at Central Perk. The show is still a firm favorite despite concluding over a decade ago, and its actors will always be remembered for their iconic roles. Every new sitcom's goal is to be as popular as Friends, and very few succeed in this aim.
A lot’s changed in the world since Friends first aired in 1994. Technology’s taken over, fashion sense has vastly improved, and Jennifer Aniston has ditched her then-iconic ‘Rachel’ haircut. On top of that, the cast members of Friends have fallen victim to time’s cruelest effect: aging. They’ve gone from being fresh-faced actors in their twenties and thirties to seasoned middle-aged pros. However, time has been kinder to some than to others. While Lisa Kudrow doesn’t seem to have aged a day, Matthew Perry has enough wrinkles for the both of them. The show’s child actors look pretty different too – seeing them will definitely make you feel super old! Would you still recognize all of these actors, or have the last two decades totally changed them for the worse? Read on to find out…
15 Fatherhood and a Separation Have Aged David Schwimmer
When Ross actor David Schwimmer first started out on Friends, he was already 30 years old - not that you can tell! He was the typical tall, dark, handsome actor with a slightly nerdy twist. While Schwimmer initially turned down the role of Ross, he thankfully changed his mind. Thank goodness! We can't imagine anyone else playing everyone's favorite goofy-yet-hilarious paleontologist. His on-again, off-again relationship with Jennifer Aniston's Rachel basically drove the entire show. They were such a cute couple!
Fast forward to 2017, and Schwimmer is starting to show his 51 years. He's managed to avoid going grey - probably with the help of some hair dye, let's be real - but his growing wrinkles betray his true age. To be fair, he's been through enough stress to age anyone by at least 20 years. He had a string of unsuccessful relationships in the 2000s before finally settling down with artist Zoe Buckman in 2010. They had their first and only child, Cleo, a year later, and things seemed to be going swimmingly in their relationship. However, their shock separation in April 2017 proved otherwise. We hope things start to go a bit better for Schwimmer in 2018!
14 Janice Actress Maggie Wheeler Is Rocking Her 50s
Janice has to be one of the most genuinely irritating TV characters ever to exist. However, she's still oddly charming in her own way! Maggie Wheeler's memorable portrayal of Chandler's obnoxious ex came complete with an annoying laugh and a "unique" sense of style. This winning combination meant that the character stuck in everyone's minds long after she'd left the screen. Wheeler was in her thirties when she joined the cast of Friends, and despite Janice's occasionally ugly personality, her natural good looks shone through.
These days Wheeler is in her fifties, and is looking incredibly good for her age! She's still stunning and is frankly #hairgoals for all of the dark-haired women out there. She juggles being a mom-of-two with occasional acting roles and is still easily recognizable. She's aged far better than her on-screen ex Matthew Perry!
13 Jennifer Aniston Still Looks Great Over 20 Years On
Jennifer Aniston's portrayal of Rachel Green is one of the most iconic sitcom performances of all time. Despite being in her late twenties when she took on the role, Aniston had the beauty of someone a decade younger. She won everyone's hearts within just a few episodes and quickly became one of the style icons of the 1990s. Remember when literally everyone had "The Rachel" hairstyle? Every girl wanted to be her, and every guy wanted to be with her... Except for Brad Pitt, as it turned out. Awkward.
Over twenty years on from her first Friends episode, Aniston still looks pretty good. She topped People's "Most Beautiful Women" list as recently as in 2016! However, she's been pretty vocal about challenging the objectification of women in the media. Aniston became particularly frustrated after various tabloids spent literally years trying to guess if she was pregnant or not. To be fair, that would get old pretty quickly.
12 Gunther's Actor No Longer Has To Bleach His Hair
Central Perk's much-loved barista Gunther was a frequent face in the Friends world right from its beginning. While he didn't get a speaking part until Season Two, he often appeared in the background of the numerous coffee shops scenes in Season One. His bleach-blonde hair and deadpan facial expressions made him pretty easy to recognize! His dry humor and obvious crush on Rachel quickly made Gunther a fan favorite.
Despite his character's popularity, Gunther actor James Michael Tyler was secretly a bit glad when the show ended. He no longer had to constantly bleach his hair! Gunther's signature look actually came about by total accident. The day before his audition, Tyler let one of his friends - a trainee hairdresser - experiment on his hair. The resulting blonde look was so popular with the producers that they asked Tyler if he could keep it for the part! These days, he's back to showing off his natural dark locks.
11 Matt LeBlanc, How YOU Doin'? A Little Old And Thicker
Joey Tribiani was the bona fide hunk of Friends. Matt LeBlanc's toned body, smoldering looks, and Italian charm made him a heart-throb within weeks of Friends first airing. Joey's womanizing ways became a regular joke on the show, and LeBlanc definitely had the looks to pull it off. In real life, he married a model - Melissa McKnight - and became so popular that he even got his own Friends spin-off, Joey.
These days, LeBlanc has noticeably aged. However, rather than making him unattractive, his age has made him into a bit of a silver fox. She's still pretty darn handsome - if a bit on the chubby side. He's now a divorced father-of-one, and while his personal life has had its troubles, he's doing well career-wise. He's currently the presenter of popular British motoring show Top Gear and manages to squeeze in the occasional acting role too.
10 Courtney Cox Facial Fillers Weren't The Best Idea
Monica actress Courtney Cox's looks have changed pretty drastically over the years. Her character was supposed to be blatantly gorgeous to contrast with her somewhat larger frame in her younger years, and Cox certainly fulfilled that criteria. However, the young actress felt very insecure about her looks. She was raised to believe that for a woman, appearance is the most important thing, and consequently began to have plastic surgery on her face.
Cox has spoken candidly about the regrets she has regarding her cosmetic procedures. What began as a couple of filler injections here and there soon turned into layers and layers of plastic in her face. Cox didn't realize how bad things had got until she saw photos of herself at the 2016 Friends cast reunion. She was so horrified that she had all of the fillers dissolved, and is now back to looking as natural as possible.
9 Helen Baxendale Is Totally Unrecognizable
Let's be honest here: nobody really liked Helen Baxendale's Friends character. Emily showed up basically just to be an obstacle preventing the inevitable Ross/Rachel happy ending we all so desperately needed. Sure, Emily was beautiful, but she was too snooty and uptight to be likable.
Baxendale was in her late twenties when she first starred in the show and was one of Britain's most beautiful actresses. Her classic 'English Rose' beauty was striking and she had cheekbones to die for. However, she ended up being written out of Friends earlier than intended after becoming pregnant with her first child. These days, Baxendale is still a successful actress in her home country of England. Despite being in her late forties, she's still pretty stunning - her classic good looks have matured well.
8 Lisa Kudrow Looking Grandmotherly
Lisa Kudrow's still-youthful looks are pretty impressive, and we need to know her secret. The actress barely looks a day older than when she first appeared as Phoebe back in 1994! Despite being one of the oldest actors when the show began, she's probably aged the best. However, Kudrow actually had plastic surgery to change her appearance long before the show began - she had a rhinoplasty operation aged 16 to reduce the size of her nose! Kudrow has stated that the size of her nose had previously severely impacted her self-esteem and that having the operation changed her life.
Since this initial surgery, Kudrow has steered clear of cosmetic procedures. Despite rumors that she had a breast reduction, Botox, and further face surgery, Kudrow claims that this is all untrue. This only makes her youthful looks even more remarkable! Seriously, what facial products does she use? They must be magical!
7 Ben Geller's Actor Cole Sprouse Is All Grown Up
Brace yourselves: you're about to feel really, really old. Little Ben Geller was born at the very end of Season One, the son of divorced couple Ross and Carol. He was portrayed by various child actors over the years, with The Suite Life of Zack and Cody actor Cole Sprouse taking over from Season Six to Season Eight. Fans were slightly bemused when Ben totally disappeared after Sprouse left the show, not even being mentioned for the last two seasons. However, Sprouse's portrayal ensured that Ben stayed in viewers' hearts even when he ceased to appear on-screen.
These days, Sprouse is a 25-year-old NYU graduate who's grown up to be pretty handsome! He's currently starring in the popular CW show Riverdale and is making a name for himself as a grown-up actor. Seriously, though. How is this kid 25 now?! How has time flown that quickly?! It's not okay!
6 Matthew Perry's Troubles Have Taken Their Toll On His Looks
Matthew Perry is definitely the Friends star whose looks have suffered the most over the years. When the show began in 1994, his floppy hair and boyish good looks made him a firm favorite among female viewers. However, his appearance did start to change even as the show was still airing. His weight noticeably changed dramatically throughout Friends' ten seasons - the fluctuation in his size was pretty obvious. However, it's his rapidly aging face that has turned heads the most over the past few years. Perry is now middle-aged and definitely looks it.
A lot of Perry's rapid aesthetic changes have been down to his various vices. While filming Friends he was addicted to both alcohol and prescription drugs, entering rehab numerous times. He's now doing much better as is, as far as we know, clean. However, the damage was already done appearance-wise. Addiction affects the body in a whole host of ways, and even shows in your aging face!
5 The Once-Hunky Tom Selleck Is Seriously Showing His Age
To be honest, we totally get why Monica fell for older man Dr. Richard Burke. He was played by the staggeringly handsome Tom Selleck who, despite being in his fifties when he joined the show, brought a whole lot of sex appeal to the Friends world. He was basically the definition of a DILF and even managed to pull off a pretty striking mustache. Selleck proved that older men could be sexy too, and frankly we were all a bit gutted when Richard and Monica split up. Still, at least it paved the way for her to be with Chandler!
Unfortunately, Selleck's looks haven't continued to stand the test of time. He now very much looks his 72 years, and both his hair and his mustache have gone grey. Selleck is still a pretty successful actor - he recently starred in a trilogy of TV movies featuring fictional detective Jesse Stone. However, his heartthrob days are firmly behind him. He had a good run of handsomeness, to be fair! Not many men look as good as he did in his fifties.
4 Ross and Monica's Dad Doesn't Look Bad For Nearly 80
Ross and Monica's hapless father Jack provided a whole lot of comic relief throughout Friends' ten seasons. He was notorious for making totally inappropriate comments, often to relating to sex, in otherwise polite conversation. Jack's actor, Elliott Gould, was in his late fifties when he took on the part and looked every inch the middle-aged dad. His wide selection of blazers, slightly greying hair, and faint wrinkles all screamed 'I have kids who are in their twenties.'
These days, Gould looks like everybody's favorite kindly grandpa. He's gone fully grey now, although he still has a head full of his signature curls. To be fair, he's not looking that bad for someone who's nearly 80 years old! He's still acting, having had the lead role in the CBS legal drama Doubt until just a couple of months ago.
3 Christina Pickles Has Aged Super Gracefully
It's not often that someone looks even more beautiful in their older years than their younger days, but I think it might be the case with Christina Pickles. The actress portrayed Ross and Monica's mom Judy Geller, with her character being infamous for her blatant favoritism towards her son. Poor Monica had to face Judy's constant criticism of her appearance and single status, while Ross (despite his three divorces) could do no wrong. Pickles' harsh makeup and perfectly coiffed hair only added to the slightly passive-aggressive tone of the character.
To give her credit, Pickles definitely didn't look her age while she was starring in Friends. she easily could have passed for being in her early fifties despite being ten years older in reality! Even now, Pickles looks stunning for an octogenarian. Age has softened a lot of her harsher features and she now looks like the kindly grandma who snuck you extra sweets when your parents weren't looking. Pickles has now officially retired from acting, so don't expect to see her gracing your screen again anytime soon.
2 Does Paul Rudd Actually Age? We Don't Think So
To be honest, I think every Friends fan was a little bit in love with Mike, Phoebe's eventual husband. He was every bit as weird as her, had a heart of gold, and was pretty cute to boot. I mean, what do you expect when a character is played by Paul Rudd? Rudd's boyish charm and incredibly handsome face led to him quickly becoming a heartthrob when he joined the show in Season Nine. He was in his mid-thirties when he got the part, although he looked far younger.
Frankly, I'm not sure Paul Rudd actually ages. He looks pretty much exactly the same in 2017 as he did in the early 2000s, aside from having slightly shorter hair. He's now an international star, playing the role of Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and still has legions of adoring female fans. To be honest, I’m one of them.
1 Emma's Twin Actresses Aren't Babies Anymore - Feel Old Yet?
If seeing Cole Sprouse all grown up made you feel old, you're going to be REALLY shocked by these actress' transformation. When Ross and Rachel had a daughter, Emma, in Friends' eighth season, twin babies Noelle and Cali Sheldon interchangeably took on the role. The two were toddlers when the show ended and were still at the very beginning of their child acting careers.
Now for the scary part. The twins aren't babies anymore - they're going to turn sixteen next year! How crazy is that? The two have had odd acting jobs over the years, but have mostly focussed on getting an education and actually having a childhood! They actually look quite a bit like their on-screen parents, David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston... It's kind of freaky! We can't wait to see what these two do with their lives in future. Whether they stay in the acting business remains to be seen.