11 Famous 'Friends' Guest Stars You Totally Forgot Appeared On The Show As Love Interests
If we're being honest, the majority of the actors who played bit parts in '90s television never really got their due. However, several surprising Friends guest stars who played characters that dated either Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler, or Joey on the show came into their own, career-wise, in the years following their appearance, from Aisha Tyler to Ellen Pompeo. That's not to say that to date Chandler and/or Ross you had to have been a virtual unknown at the time, though: Quite the contrary. Dozens of the most famous faces of the '90s graced the living room of a certain Greenwich Village apartment, from Charlie Sheen to Paul Rudd. Especially as Friends went on to become the mega-hit we know it to be today (and love it to be!), more and more guest stars took to appearing on the show — some famous, and some who became famous shortly after appearing.
Though not all of these guest stars played characters who dated one of the core friends, many did — and understandably so. It's an easy way to introduce a new character without having to offer too much backstory (Friends, after all, is only a 30-minute sitcom), and when the character eventually disappears, the reason is simple: They broke up with whatever friend they were dating. Simple, and it left a ton of room for a wide variety of stars.
In the wake of the upcoming two-hour Friends reunion, set to air on February 21, here are 11 surprising celebrity cameos on Friends.
1. Aisha Tyler As Charlie Wheeler In "The One With The Soap Opera Party"
Tyler, who guest-starred as a beautiful and brainy woman named Charlie whom Joey and Ross fought over, co-host The Talk, voice the character of Lana on Archer, and host the popular podcast, Girl on Guy, after her Friends appearance.
2. Rebecca Romijn As Cheryl In "The One With The Dirty Girl"
Since taking a turn as Ross' messy girlfriend, Romijn became an actress in her own right, and is perhaps best known for her role as Mystique in the X-Men movies. In fact, Friends was her first acting role!
3. Ellen Pompeo As Missy Goldberg In "The One Where The Stripper Cries"
After killin' it in one of her first roles as the love interest of both Chandler and Ross, Pompeo went on to make a name for herself as, of course, Dr. Meredith Grey on Grey’s Anatomy.
4. Melora Hardin As Celia In "The One With The Stoned Guy"
You probably know her as Jan from The Office, but years before, she played Ross' dirty-talking ex who got attacked by his monkey Marcel.
5. Christine Taylor As Bonnie In "The One With The Jellyfish"
Phoebe’s possibly insane friend who dated Ross has starred in a string of blockbuster comedies (and she's also married Ben Stiller).
6. Kristin Davis As Erin In "The One With With Ross's Library Book"
She broke Joey’s heart, then had her heart broken over the course of six seasons as Charlotte York on Sex And The City.
7. Steve Zahn As Duncan In "The One With The One With Phoebe's Husband"
Since his turn as the gay Canadian ice dancer to whom Phoebe green-card-married, Zahn won everyone's hearts all over again in memorable roles in the '90s (That Thing You Do and You’ve Got Mail) and, as of late, back on the small screen (Treme, Mind Games).
8. Alec Baldwin As Parker In "The One in Massapequa"
I love this man, I love this character; therefore, I can't comment on the overzealousness of Parker and how it led to the downfall of his relationship with Phoebe.
9. Ben Stiller As Tommy In "The One With The Screamer"
Similar to his wife Taylor's cameo, Stiller also played someone slightly off... only he dated Rachel.
10. Brooke Shields As Erica In "The One After The Superbowl: Part 1"
There's no doubt the definitive "Face of the '80s" had ample material of her own from which to base her portrayal of Joey's superfan.
11. Bruce Willis As Paul Stevens In "The One Where Ross Meets Elizabeth's Dad"
Willis was arguably at his peak in the years after this performance, and I like to think it's possible (although not likely) a result of this perfect moment between him, Rachel and Ross.
Case-in-point: Friends is definitely one of the best shows of our time.
Image: Warner Bros. Televison