The Friends reunion may have been all fuzzy feels and fun for fans, but it was an emotional rollercoaster for star Jennifer Aniston!
The actress opened up about how challenging it was to step back into the past while filming the HBO Max special earlier this year in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter out Wednesday. Getting candid, the 52-year-old admitted it was “harder on than anticipated,” adding:
“Time travel is hard.”
Especially when it’s televised!
“I think we were just so naive walking into it, thinking, ‘How fun is this going to be? They’re putting the sets back together, exactly as they were.’ Then you get there and it’s like, ‘Oh right, I hadn’t thought about what was going on the last time I was actually here.’”
Yeah, sometimes the past can come rushing back at you — like when you visit your childhood home.
“And it just took me by surprise because it was like, ‘Hi, past, remember me? Remember how that sucked? You thought everything was in front of you and life was going to be just gorgeous and then you went through maybe the hardest time in your life?’”
While Jen didn’t elaborate on why things were so challenging, it’s pretty clear she was talking about her love life. During a majority of the show’s historic run on NBC from 1994 to 2005, the sitcom star was with Brad Pitt. They married in 2000 when the show was at its height and got divorced in 2005 — just as the series was coming to an end.
Their split was one of the most publicized Hollywood breakups of all time, as Brad left his actual wife for his movie wife, Mr. & Mrs. Smith costar Angelina Jolie. Not only was Jen done dirty, it happened in front of the entire world. The cheating scandal made headlines for weeks. It’s reasonable to think the Friends set could be wrapped up in those bad memories — especially since Brad showed up on that apartment set as one of the show’s most memorable guest stars!
Things got so emotional, Jen even had to “walk out at certain points” during filming — so much that she’s shocked it didn’t appear in the final edit! The Morning Show lead mused:
“ It was all very jarring and, of course, you’ve got cameras everywhere and I’m already a little emotionally accessible, I guess you could say, so I had to walk out at certain points. I don’t know how they cut around it.”
Wow! We could tell things were emotional, but would never have known all that was happening!
The reunion wasn’t entirely a bad experience! It brought the real-life friends back together again and gave them all the chance to reminisce on the beginning of their careers, something Jen is still doing today. She reflected:
“We really did have so much fun together. I remember that was one of the things when we were young and dumb and renegotiating, one of the threats was, ‘Well, we don’t need all six of you. We can do this with four of you.’ We were like, ‘What? You can? You can get rid of Rachel or Joey or who?’ Then it was like, ‘No they can’t, wake up.’”
Also, none of the co-stars were into the idea of a reunion until director Ben Winston charmed them all. She explained:
“Enter Ben Winston. We were all like, ‘I don’t know if we were just seduced by his talent or his charm or a combination of all of it.’ Even the boys were like, ‘Damn, I’m kind of in love with the guy. Like, I don’t know if I said yes because it’s good or because he’s so gorgeous.’ Whatever it was, we all said yes, so…”
Hah! They really are a package deal!
The Golden Globe winner also insisted that all the “ups and downs” of her life — personal and professional — have been a “blessing,” continuing:
“The career was one thing. I didn’t know what was coming, and that’s been nothing but blessed. It’s a different caliber of work but I love it, no matter what, even if it’s a terribly reviewed, dumb comedy, it doesn’t matter if it brings me joy.”
Her personal life may have taken some unexpected turns since stepping off the set, but she’s okay with the path she’s on now, noting:
“It was more personal stuff that I had expectations about that sort of shape-shifted, so to speak. That was what was jarring, that we all had an idea of what the future was going to be and we were going to go hunker down and focus on this or that, and then it all just changed overnight, and that was it. But again, everything’s a blessing if you’re able to look at life’s ups and downs in that way. And if it all hadn’t happened, I would not be sitting here the woman that I am.”
What an empowered perspective!
Reactions, Perezcious readers? Are you surprised Jennifer felt so emotional while filming? Let us know in the comments (below)!
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