Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
August 24, 2023
In The Mix

Emmy Moments: Friends

This year the Emmy Awards turn seventy-five! Get in the spirit with our series of time-defying flashbacks.

Friends may have been an instant hit in 1994, but it took eight seasons for one of the leads to win an Emmy Award. In 2002, on her fifth nomination, Jennifer Aniston was named Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, for her role as Rachel Green. But that year of Friends birthed more than an Emmy: in the season finale, Rachel gave birth to Emma, her daughter with Ross Geller (David Schwimmer).

"This has been the greatest nine years of my life," Aniston said from the stage, one hand clutching her Emmy and the other against her cheek. The camera cut to her husband Brad Pitt in the Shrine Auditorium audience, then back to Aniston, floating in pink Dior. She thanked her fellow cast members and the show's producers as well as "my family and dear friends ... and my dear husband — I love you so much."

Earlier, the whole Friends ensemble had come onstage to present the supporting performance awards. "We used to nominate ourselves in this category, but it didn't work out," Matthew Perry cracked. "Nobody ever won."

"I did!" piped up Lisa Kudrow, who had won Outstanding Supporting Actress in 1998 for playing hippie-dippy Phoebe Buffay.

Aniston would be nominated two more times before Friends bowed out in 2004. But the Central Perk pals were still not finished at the Emmys. In 2021, all six stars — Aniston, Schwimmer, Perry, Kudrow, Courteney Cox and Matt LeBlanc — were nominated as executive producers of Friends: The Reunion.

While shooting the special, host James Corden asked the cast if they'd had any offscreen romances back in the day. "The first season, I had a major crush on Jen," Schwimmer offered. "It was reciprocal," Aniston said.

"At some point we were both crushing hard on each other," Schwimmer clarified. "But it was like two ships passing, because one of us was always in a relationship and we respected that boundary."

To which LeBlanc burst in — but was bleeped. The special streams on Max.

See more Emmy Moments

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine issue #8, 2023.

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