How Friends cast is still raking in cash
It's not high on the list of issues caused by the global pandemic, of course, but the delay to the much anticipated Friends reunion special, The One Where They Got Back Together, has certainly been an added blow for the millions of fans who still love the show.
The good news?
The entire back catalogue - all 10 seasons of the ground-breaking sitcom - are ready to stream for a new generation.
It's been 26 years since we first made new and lasting Friends in the form of Rachel, Joey, Monica, Ross, Phoebe and Chandler, struggling through the '90s and searching for love in New York City.
While the now-delayed reunion show promised to be a rare chance for fans to reminisce with the entire cast about those Central Perk days, streaming platforms have seen a surge in viewers re-watching this old favourite.
In fact, as reported this month by entertainment bible, Variety, a US survey of all 50 states found Friends was by far and away the most popular program in isolation.
In another COVID twist, a You-Tuber in France released a series of shorts, Confines: Friends in 2020, imagining how Ross, Rachel and the gang would go under quarantine conditions.
In one socially-distant scene, Chandler appears playing foosball by himself, while Joey tries - but visibly fails - to enjoy a solitary game of ping-pong.
The clip takes a darker turn when Ross and Monica are seen at a hospital saying goodbye to their grandmother.
On the bright side, all 236 episodes stream on BINGE from this Thursday - reintroducing these beloved characters back on your TV radar.
So get ready to meet your Friends all over again:
Binge is Australia's new streaming service offering the best drama, entertainment and movies from the world's best creators. New to Binge? Get your two week free trial, sign up at >>>> binge.com.au
As runaway bride, Rachel Green, swamped in tuille and looking for a safe place to land, Aniston instantly won the hearts of millions of fans.
Whether it was her famous 'Rachel' cut, California perma-tan, or her marriage to another Hollywood headliner, Brad Pitt, whatever drew you to her on the show and off it turned the daughter of actor John Aniston into a star in her own right.
At the time Friends said farewell, back in 2004, Mrs Pitt was most looking forward to living happily ever after with her real-life leading man.
"I'm sad it's the end, but I'm so excited about the future. It means spending more time with my husband and who knows, maybe a family one day. It's going to be a very different kind of life for me."
Sadly, both the marriage and the family plans were not to be - with Pitt running off with his Mr & Mrs Smith co-star Angelina Jolie (that union would flounder too).
Left to pick up the pieces, Aniston continued to work through the painful divorce, proving that success is the best revenge.
Her movie credits over a 15-year film career included box office smash hits, Bruce Almight (with Jim Carrey), Marley & Me (with Owen Wilson) and Horrible Bosses (with Jason Bateman) - banking close to $140 million for her film work; on top of her continuing Friends earnings which peaked at $2 million-per episode in the final season.
But it is her recent collaboration with Reese Witherspoon, on Apple TV+ drama, The Morning Show which finally garnered Aniston critical acclaim, as well as a Screen Actor's Guild award. A second season was filming before the pandemic shut down production.
MATT LE BLANC
OF the three Friends fellas, Le Blanc's future promised to be the brightest when the curtain came down on the show. Beloved as the charismatic Joey Tribiano, he was already signed up to a lucrative contract for a spin-off show, Joey.
At the end of Friends, he was also gushing about his home life with wife Melissa McKnight and baby daughter Marina: "I'm so happy, I'm waiting for the roof to cave in. Life is good. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world."
That luck didn't last for Joey, which was axed following a savaging by the critics, with Le Blanc withdrawing from the limelight, to concentrate on producing rather than starring in TV shows and movies.
In 2011, he made a successful return to the small screen, playing a version of himself in the BBC comedy Episodes, a role that won him a Golden Globe; also adding a stint hosting the BBC's madcap car show, Top Gear.
But the "happy" home life he had boasted about soured back in 2005, when he was caught with a stripper during a trip to Canada.
His marriage ended six months later, by which time the actor was already in another relationship with his Joey co-star Andrea Anders. That relationship ended in 2015 and Matt is now dating his former Top Gear producer Aurora Mulligan.
While he will line-up for the reunion special, Le Blanc has been blunt about rebooting Friends all these years on: "I don't think anybody wants to see an old Joey having a colonoscopy!"
Even before Friends had finished, Kudrow had already left ditzy Phoebe behind - booking two film projects - Happy Endings, with Goodfellas star Ray Liotta; and Living and Breathing, with Mena Survari.
She'd already proved she could shake off her dumb blonde tag with ease and was eager to tap into her undoubted talent as an actress.
Then came an offer she couldn't refuse - her own series, The Comeback, playing a failed sitcom actress trying to resurrect her career. Like Joey it last just one season.
Still she kept busy on the small screen including a guest star role on Courteney Cox's Cougar Town and behind the camera as an award-winning producer on the American version of Who Do You Think You Are?
One of her most underrated performances was as a neurotic psychiatrist in Web Therapy [streaming, Amazon Prime].
But her greatest success is arguably her personal life.
While Kudrow admits she didn't lose her virginity until the age of 32, she celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary with husband Michael Stern this year.
And the baby bump that featured in Friends as Phoebe's triplets became the couple's now 22-year-old son, Julian.
A role opposite Bruce Willis in movie, The Whole Ten Yards hinted at a happy end to his Friends days, playing resident jester, Chandler Bing.
Promoting the film, he would say: "nothing will ever be like Friends and the success we've had. We look back, and kind of smile, and move on."
But it wouldn't be that easy for Perry, now 50, who still rages a constant battle with his drink and drug demons.
As a producer, he suffered a string of disappointments and false starts with a number of his shows cancelled or dropped before they've even made it to the screen.
Like Kudrow, he appeared on Cougar Town with Courteney Cox; but he had his best shot at a renaissance on a new TV version of The Odd Couple, before it was axed three years ago. Matthew has made huge efforts to keep his private life under wraps to the point that few ever saw him with long-term girlfriend Lizzy Caplan before they finally split in 2012.
He remains single.
The end of Friends came at a good time for Courteney, whose real baby bump was proving hard for her alter ego Monica to hide by the time last drinks were called at Central Perk.
Cox settled into the happy family life she planned with actor husband David Arquette and their daughter Coco, content to let her fame slide - at least until she decided to make a comeback. Like her pal, Jen, becoming a mother wasn't the easiest path for Cox, who suffered two miscarriages before giving birth in 2004.
For a time, she was best known as the main shoulder to cry on for Jen, whose love life proved a rollercoaster.
But in 2010, Courteney and David announced their separation after 10 years of marriage. The pair divorced in 2013, but still maintain a close relationship for the sake of their now 16-year-old daughter and their production company. Courtney, 56, is now married to 44-year-old Snow Patrol rocker Johnny McDaid. In terms of TV credits, she played hard-nosed tabloid magazine editor in Dirt; while Cougar Town ran for six seasons, where she played a social-drinking divorcee back in the dating game.
AS super geek, Dr Ross Geller, it was hard to imagine David Schwimmer would emerge as one of the most successful and in-demand actors from Friends.
But the 53-year-old New Yorker made good on his post-Perk plans - in everything from voicing a hypochondriac giraffe in the Madagascar animated movie franchise, to his widely-acclaimed role as Robert Kardashian in The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Most recently, he guest-starred as Debra Messing's love interest in the second comeback season of hit show, Will and Grace; before both starring and directing cyber crime comedy, Intelligence.
On the home front, he followed the rocky relationship road of his co-stars: meeting and marrying English photographer Zoe Buckman by 2010, but divorcing seven years later.
They co-parent daughter Cleo.
* Friends, s1-10 streaming Thursday on BINGE.
Originally published as How Friends cast are still raking in cash