Here’s why Courteney Cox turned down the role of Rachel Green

Things could have been very different…

(Image credit: Rex)

Things could have been very different…

We grew up watching Friends and we know the sitcom’s characters better than we know our own family.

It’s strange to think, therefore, that those six characters that we all know and love were almost played by completely different people.

Eric McCormack (yes, that’s Will Truman in Will & Grace) almost played Ross, Hank Azaria, before getting cast as David, Phoebe’s scientist boyfriend, was almost cast as Joey, and the role of Chandler was almost a toss up between Jon Cryer and Jon Favervau.

The most surprising, however, is the part of Rachel Green that before becoming synonymous with Jennifer Aniston, almost went to Courteney Cox. Yes, really.

30 before 30

30 before 30

Back in 1994, Courteney Cox was brought in to play Rachel, originally auditioning for Jen’s role. It was apparently Cox herself who realised that she was wrong for the part and convinced the sitcom’s producers to let her play the part of Monica instead.

Opening up about it recently on Off Camera With Sam Jones, Cox explained, ‘For some reason, I thought I related more to Monica, which maybe it’s because I do.’

She continued: ‘I’m very similar to her…I’m not as clean as Monica, but I am neat. And I’m not as competitive, even though some people, my partner (musician) Johnny McDaid, would say I am.’

Looking back now, Courteney emphasised what a good call it was, explaining how happy she was with the casting of the Friends team, and describing them as ‘lightning in a bottle.’

‘That was lightning in a bottle, to have those writers, those creators of the show and the team they put together, and the actors. It just worked. I mean, the casting was perfect. It really was. I just felt so fortunate, it was the greatest thing. All these opportunities opened up and we were so lucky. I was able to buy a house, it was just a perfect time I think.’

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We are thrilled that Courteney and Jen got the right parts in the end, not only for their onscreen friendship but for their close relationship offscreen too, with the pair jetting off to Cabo earlier this year with their partners Justin Theroux and Johnny McDaid to celebrate Jen’s 48th birthday. Major friendship goals.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.