Aniston opens up about emotional toll of 'Friends' reunion
Abaca Press

Jennifer Aniston admits 'Friends' reunion 'really took us all down way harder than we anticipated'

Jennifer Aniston is back on "The Morning Show," which premiered the first episode of its second season Friday, but people are still stuck on May's HBO Max special "Friends: The Reunion."

But then again, Aniston has been asked about "Friends" for 25 years and will continue to be until the end of time.

As a guest on the "Literally! With Rob Lowe" podcast, the Emmy-winning actress discussed how it felt to reunite with all six of her "Friends" costars — Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer — for just the second time since the series wrapped in 2004:

"We didn't know what it would look like. I mean, we'd been hearing about it for a long time. We knew that people wanted it. Fans really wanted some kind of reunion, but why unwrap a perfectly packaged [ending]? You know, leave it where it was. Let's not disrupt it. So when Ben Winston, our producer/director came to each of us with his idea, it just resonated with all of us. And it didn't sound like something that would cheapen or tarnish something that was perfectly left in its place.
"But I think it really took us all down way harder than we anticipated. Because in your mind, you think, ‘Oh, this will be really fun to time travel.’ It turns out, oh, ouch—it’s kind of hard to time travel. Because you’re going back to a time, and mind you, when I say the set was put back exactly, it was the exact same everything. Down to the little tchotchkes on the shelves and little tiny things that had been in a storage space for this whole time. All of a sudden, here you are. And, you know, 16 years, a lot has gone on for each of us. Sixteen years ago, we were all sort of wide-eyed and bushy tailed and sort of had our whole lives ahead of us."

Aniston called returning to Stage 24 for the first time "nostalgic in a way that's kind of also a little melancholy because a lot has changed, and we have all gone down different roads."

"Friends "ran for 10 iconic seasons from 1994 to 2004, and as difficult as it was to revisit those glory days, Aniston expressed that she is ultimately nothing but grateful.

"We truly are family 'til death do us part, whether we see each other every week or every year, every 10 years, [it] doesn't matter," she said. "There's something that has bonded all of us together. I mean, just a gift. It's just a real lightning in a bottle."

"Friends: The Reunion" is nominated for four awards at Sunday's 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards: variety special (pre-recorded), outstanding production design for a variety special, outstanding directing for a variety special and outstanding lighting design/lighting direction for a variety special.

Megan Armstrong (@megankarmstrong) is a writer with previous work appearing in places such as Billboard, Bleacher Report, GQ and others. She's most interested in writing about people and how they live their lives, through the framework of music, entertainment and sports.

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