“Friends” don’t remain friends for a long time. Yes, you might be able to call these gang members “wut” for five years and it still wouldn’t mean as much, but at least they’re still friends. That’s not the case, however, with a few “Friends” stars and characters who are no longer besties.
“Friends” was one of the most-watched shows in syndication when it first aired and returned for another round of top-tier episodes in the midst of Chris Columbus’ production of the movie version of the show, however, the cast has changed significantly over the years and most of the show’s originals no longer appear on screen.
Related Image Expand / Contract Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas (SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)
Meredith Baxter, known for her character single mom Phoebe Buffay, was replaced by Shelley Long, who took over for Lisa Kudrow after she left the show. Both Long and Baxter have had stints on TV since the show’s final episode in 2004. Long had a recurring role on “Desperate Housewives,” as well as one of the pilots for Showtime’s short-lived Cheerleader Nation. Baxter was on “Six Feet Under,” “E.R.” and “Masters of Sex.”
Similarly, Matthew Perry played Chandler Bing on the show for 10 years and left just prior to the original sitcom’s final air date in 2004. Perry went on to be featured in the 2010 HBO movie “The Ron Burgundy Story” and the 2003 movie “Scrubs,” which he also wrote and directed.
Perry was replaced on the show by David Schwimmer. After six years as one half of Ross Geller, Schwimmer left the show abruptly in Season 8, though his exit wasn’t announced at the time.
Perry came back for six episodes in Season 10 and he has since gone on to star in films like “Super Bad,” “Yes Man” and “Failure to Launch.”
Matt LeBlanc played Joey Tribbiani for 15 years, followed by five years as Joey Potter on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” He had a major role on “Episodes,” a TV show about two writers who are writing a show about them. LeBlanc is the show’s star, and alongside Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig, LeBlanc co-writes the show.
Cress Williams played the popular character Josie Bartlet on the NBC drama series “The West Wing” for nine years. Williams went on to film indie movies like “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Southern Belle” and “Chaos Walking.”
Related Image Expand / Contract Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay
Josie and Phoebe weren’t the only Chandler ones to trade places. Matthew Perry played Ross for eight years. That was until Kudrow moved in to replace him in Season 9. He also left the show in 2012, but in a surprise development, he returned to the show in 2014. While still on screen, Perry wrote a novel called “The End of Longing,” in which he talked about his experiences on the show.
Carrie Preston played Monica Geller’s real-life real-life roommate and husband Chandler Bing’s wife for eight years. She then went on to have a highly successful role on CBS’ “The Good Wife.” She has also starred in movies like “The Once and Future King” and “21 Jump Street.”
Related Image Expand / Contract Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow in “Friends” (Image Source: Getty)
Norman Fell was Chandler Bing’s boss at Rocketdyne for two years. His last role was in the movie “Lovebug,” which was released in 2000. He also wrote and directed the popular movie “Mambo Mouth.”
Michael J. Fox was the original Dr. Noah Bennet on “Family Ties.” After Fox left in 1980, his replacements included Michael Gross, Eric Stoltz and Dennis Franz. Fox returned for the first reunion episode in 2003, which was written by “Family Ties” creator Christopher Lloyd. Fox also co-starred in the 2008 movie “The Extra Man.”