TODAY |

'I had a major crush' - Ross and Rachel's real life romance revealed in Friend's reunion special

Warning: This article contains spoilers. 

Friends: The Reunion cast Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc. Source: Associated Press

REVIEW: OH. MY. GAAAWD! The love was REAL!

"Ross and Rachel, Rachel and Ross. It's been one heck of a seesaw, hasn't it?"

We watched, we waited for 10 years, 236 episodes, for Ross Geller and Rachel Green to, quite simply, get their s*** together and finally be together.

But throughout the iconic show, Friends, which has aired in over 220 territories and in almost 20 languages, the ship kept leaving port.

Now, tonight, on the much-anticipated Friends: The Reunion we've had official confirmation that Ross and Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, was real - he really was her lobster.

The actors admitted they had "a major crush" on each other while filming the first season of the hit show, but the timing was never right.

The streamed reunion was delayed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Source: Associated Press

Mirroring their characters' tumultuous relationship, Schwimmer and Aniston revealed how it never worked between them in real life as they pursued other relationships, thus missing their chance to be a couple.

However, behind-the-scenes footage aired tonight shows the flirtatious 20-somethings cuddling on set. They also admitted they'd spooned and fallen asleep together while filming the show. My heart CANNOT handle this.

Castmates Courteney Cox (who played Monica Geller), Matt LeBlanc (who was Joey Tribbiani), Matthew Perry (who was Chandler Bing) and Lisa Kudrow (who played Phoebe Buffay) tonight also revealed how they absolutely knew there was something going on between the pair.

"We knew," LeBlanc said. "We knew for sure," Cox added.

Aniston said she remembered saying she didn't want she and Schwimmer's first kiss to be on television - but alas it was. The iconic moment in Central Perk coffee shop, which is physically impossible to watch dry-eyed, was their characters' and their first kiss.

The tension-filled scene, where they argue then come back together, it was REAL!

The actors never ended up in a real-life relationship, instead saying they channeled their love for each other into their characters.

The cast of Friends reuniting. Source: Associated Press

The show, while a tear-jerker, is far from heavy, though.

PIVOTing between love, heartbreak, laughs and the outright ridiculous (I'm talking about the turkey head scene!). The show captured the ups-and-downs of life as a 20-something living in New York, navigating work, dating and leaning on their 'family' that was their closest friends.

But while there are aspects of Friends which have dated - the most stark difference from today's television being the lack of diverse ethnicities in the series - the show still encapsulates generations of people from around the world today.

Those who grew up watching the show between 1994 and 2004 now have kids watching it - something the actors have found with their own families.

I remember watching reruns of the show on my small box TV with my siblings huddled around in my bedroom, learning eventually to quote most of the famous lines.

Most recently, though, I watched the series during Covid-19 lockdown. To audiences worldwide, millions of people, like myself, have found comfort in the six friends' storylines.

Superfans in the reunion episode tonight revealed how the show helped them form friendships of their own, saved their lives when they were in dark places and for K-pop group BTS it even help them learn English.

"They were my friends when I didn't have any," one devoted fan says.

Tonight, the reunion special explored some of the most hysterical plot lines, bloopers and star-studded guest appearances throughout the series loved by so many.

As the cast reunite for the second time only since filming ended, the audience gets the unique chance to learn more about how the show was put together, the story behind why Joey randomly appears with a sling, and gain insight into where the actors think their popular characters would be now.

In the opening scene, Schwimmer walks onto their old set first. "Wow," he says. "It's beautiful."

Then Kudrow walks in, she's tearful. Aniston soon emerges tissues in hand, then LeBlanc - thank God, we needed him to break up the crying! - then Cox, then finally Perry arrives too.

"Could you BE any later?" his old castmates joke.

They look around the set, recalling the many memories, what items they'd taken - a cookie jar, a mug and foosball ball - and they laugh about where Cox used to hide her script - in the sink, on the dining table and hidden among a bowl of apples.

Cox's sneaky lines weren't the only cover-up revealed tonight, however.

David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry on the set of Friends. Source: Associated Press

During one simple (or so they thought) episode - The One Where No One's Ready - taking 'we were on a break" to a whole new (and painful) level, LeBlanc dislocated his shoulder diving into an armchair. "OW!" LeBlanc welped as his arm pops out of its socket and he's taken to hospital after diving at the furniture, ending filming that day.

A sling-wearing Joey was seamlessly written into the show, though, explained away as the lovable character falling off the bed while jumping on it.

LeBlanc's hilariously goofy character isn't the only one cast to perfection, though.

Creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane shared the journey of how they took months to handpick each of the six friends, even basing them off off people in their own lives and striking the right balance between relatable, loveable and funny.

Rising to fame together, Schwimmer, Kudrow, Aniston, LeBlanc, Cox and Perry say there's no one else in the world who can understand their unique bond now.

"We became best friends, the chemistry, everything, it was life changing and it forever will be, not just for us but for people who watch it," Cox says.

Friends: The Reunion is available on TVNZ OnDemand.

David Schwimmer reenacts the famous quiz scene from Friends. Source: Associated Press