14 'Friends' Actors Who Ended Up Becoming Huge Stars, From Cole Sprouse To Ellen Pompeo
One of the best parts of Friends is the way that you can watch the show over and over again without getting sick of it. And when you do, you discover some great things, like all of the series' many, many guest stars. Although plenty of the people who appeared on the show were already big, these 14 Friends actors ended up becoming huge stars, but it's easy to miss their cameos since they weren't major celebs when they appeared on the show.
You probably remember the famous guest appearances on Friends by people like Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Danny DeVito, and even Robin Williams; clearly, the show had tons of impressive guest stars throughout its run. The sitcom lasted 10 seasons, after all, so it makes sense that it had a chance to involve a lot of popular actors of the '90s and early '00s. Even Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, Duchess of York appeared on the show, and she was literally royalty. Plus, who could forget Julia Roberts' appearance — which is the American equivalent to royalty, really. There were so many big stars on Friends that you probably didn't even notice a bunch of these actors who later became über-famous.
1. Hugh Laurie
Before he starred on House, Laurie was on two British comedies in the '80s-'90s, but he wasn't as big a US celeb as he is now. Back when he guested on Friends, he was just Rachel's grumpy seatmate in "The One with Ross's Wedding: Part 2" (S4E24).
2. Anna Faris
Faris played Erica, the mother of the twins who of the twins Chandler and Monica adopted in Season 10. Before that, Faris had starred in Scary Movie 1 and 2 but she didn't have her breakout role in Just Friends until 2005, a year after Friends wrapped.
3. Mae Whitman
Future Parenthood star Whitman played Sarah Tuttle, the "Brown Bird" whose leg Ross accidentally broke in "The One Where Rachel Quits" (S3E10).
4. Paul Rudd
OK, you definitely knew this one. Before he became Ant-Man, Rudd played Phoebe's boyfriend, Mike Hannigan in Season 10. Sure, he'd starred in Clueless before that, but Rudd's career really took off after his Friends role.
5. Jane Lynch
You probably know her from Glee, but Lynch had a guest-starring role on Friends as a real estate agent in "The One Where Estelle Dies" (S10E15).
6. George Clooney
Clooney played a doctor along with Noah Wyle during their E.R. days as a little inside-TV joke during Friends' first season on "The One with Two Parts." (S1E16-17.)
7. Craig Robinson
Robinson appeared on a memorable episode, "The One with Princess Consuela," when Phoebe tried to change her name to Princess Consuela Bananahammock. (S10E14.)
8. Dakota Fanning
Fanning appeared on the same episode as Robinson, which isn't too surprising since she was the child star of the early 2000s. (S10E14.)
9. Cole Sprouse
Speaking of child stars of the new millennium, Cole Sprouse played Ross' son, Ben, for numerous episodes during Friends' seventh season.
10. Jim Rash
The Community star played the nervous flyer on the show's series finale, "The Last One" (S10E19-20).
11. Gabrielle Union
Union played Kristen, who dated both Ross and Joey in Season 7's "The One with the Cheap Wedding Dress." (S7E17.)
12. Doug Benson
The famed podcaster had a hilarious role as Tom, the friend of Rachel's date. (S5E7.)
13. Leah Remini
Before her starring role on The King of Queens, Remini played a woman Joey helped when she went into labor. (S1E23.)
14. Ellen Pompeo
The woman who later became Meredith Grey first played Missy Goldberg, the woman who Ross and Chandler had a crush on during college. (S10E11.)
You might want to use this list as an excuse to re-watch the whole series to catch the ones you might have missed. Any excuse to watch Friends is a good one, after all.