Why the Friends Reunion Was Surprisingly "Brutal" for the Cast

If you asked the Friends cast “How you doin’?” following the reunion, their answers may’ve surprised you.

During the Sept. 16 episode of Literally! With Rob Lowe, Jennifer Aniston discussed filming the headline-making reunion and the toll it took on herself and her former co-stars. Per The Morning Show actress, coming together and reliving moments from the iconic NBC sitcom “really took us all down way harder than we anticipated.”

“In your mind you think, ‘Oh, this will be really fun to time travel,'” she told host Rob Lowe. “It turns out, ooh, ouch, it’s kind of hard to time travel.”

As she continued, Aniston highlighted how surreal it was to see the set, which had “the exact same everything, down to the little tchotchkes on the shelves.” And while the Friends set remained the same, Aniston made it clear that she and her former co-stars—Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer—had not.

Surprising Secrets of Friends‘ Final Season Revealed

“You know, [in] 16 years, a lot has gone on for each of us,” she added. “And 16 years ago, we were all sort of wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, and sort of had our whole lives ahead of us—even though we were heartbroken to say goodbye to these 10 years and this family and these people and the job we all loved to do.”

Aniston compared working on Friends to taking “a happy pill every single day,” so, returning for the reunion was more sentimental than she could’ve anticipated. “It’s nostalgic in a way that’s kind of also a little melancholy,” she explained. “‘Cause a lot has changed, and we have all gone down different roads. Some easy and some not so easy for each of us.”

© Provided by E! Courtesy of HBO Max

After calling the reunion “brutal,” Aniston quipped that she couldn’t stop crying even though there were cameras everywhere. Thankfully, the 52-year-old actress wasn’t alone in her emotions, as she recalled, “There was a period where we were all kind of in a puddle. Maybe David didn’t, I don’t think we broke David.”

Yet, Aniston was surprised that LeBlanc broke down in tears, calling him “Mr. Tough Guy.”

“Mr. Impenetrable, our big brother,” she noted on her former co-star, “who would kill anybody if they looked at you wrong. Even he got a little misty.”

Although the experience may’ve been tough for the cast, it certainly paid off, as Friends: The Reunion is up for Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) at the 2021 Emmys.

For more Emmy news, click here.

Watch E!’s red carpet coverage of the 2021 Emmy Awards this Sunday, Sept. 19 starting at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT followed by the Emmys telecast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS.

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