THEN AND NOW: Guest stars who became famous after appearing on 'Friends'

·12-min read
friends cast omg
The cast of "Friends." Getty
  • "Friends" fans are gearing up for the reunion show, which will be available on HBO Max on May 27.

  • The original show had a number of actors who appeared in small roles before becoming famous.

  • From Ellen Pompeo to Mae Whitman, these actors became even more famous after appearing on the show.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Mae Whitman appeared as Girl Scout Sarah Tuttle in season three, episode 10, "The One Where Rachel Quits."

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Mae Whitman as Sarah Tuttle. Warner Bros.

When Ross accidentally breaks her leg, he is forced to work Sarah's cookie route as an act of penance — she's raising money so she can go to space camp.

After Ross fails, he and the guys set up their own fake space camp to make her feel better.

Whitman starred as the rebellious teen Amber on NBC's "Parenthood."

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Mae Whitman. Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Whitman has appeared in dozens of projects since her time on the show. Among them, she appeared as one of the evil exes in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," and she's lent her voice to multiple shows, including "Family Guy" and "American Dad!" She also voiced Katara on "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and Becky Bot on "Doug Unplugs."

Since 2018, Whitman has starred in the NBC dramedy "Good Girls."

Craig Robinson played a clerk Phoebe visits to change her name in season 10, episode 14, "The One with Princess Consuela."

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Craig Robinson as a clerk. Warner Bros.

Robinson's character didn't have the time nor the patience to deal with Phoebe when she decided to change her name to Princess Consuela Bananahammock.

Robinson made a name for himself as warehouse foreman Darryl Philbin on "The Office."

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Craig Robinson. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Robinson also starred in a number of comedies including "Pineapple Express," "This Is the End," and "Hot Tub Time Machine."

Robinson has had guest spots on the TV show "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" as the Pontiac Bandit, voiced multiple roles on "American Dad!" and appeared in the Eddie Murphy-led "Dolemite Is My Name."

Ellen Pompeo played Missy Goldberg, the object of Ross and Chandler's affections in season 10, episode 11, "The One Where the Stripper Cries."

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Ellen Pompeo as Missy Goldberg. Warner Bros.

The two made a pact during college that neither of them would try to date Missy, but at the reunion, Ross learned from Missy that Chandler broke that pact.

Audiences are familiar with Pompeo for her work as Dr. Meredith Grey on "Grey's Anatomy."

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Ellen Pompeo. Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Though the show has seen many cast members come and go, Pompeo has been a constant for its 17 seasons.

Mark Consuelos played an officer who pulled Rachel over after she was speeding in Monica's Porsche in season seven, episode 22, "The One with Chandler's Dad."

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Mark Consuelos as the officer. Warner Bros/Youtube

Rachel flirted with the officer in question by discussing her zodiac sign in order to get out of the speeding ticket — much to the disbelief of Ross.

Consuelos stars as the villainous Hiram Lodge in "Riverdale."

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Mark Consuelos. Rich Polk/Getty Images

Consuelos appeared in five episodes of "American Horror Story: Asylum" and had a small role in film "Cop Out." He also recurred on the one-season wonder, "Pitch."

Like his "Riverdale" co-star, a young Cole Sprouse also appeared on "Friends." Sprouse played Ross' son, Ben, in seasons six through eight.

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Cole Sprouse as Ben. NBC

Ben was Ross' son with his ex-wife Carol, who in turn left Ross for a woman named Susan. Ben appeared throughout the show, most memorably when he pranked Rachel, or when Ross dressed up as the "Holiday Armadillo."

Sprouse, along with his twin brother Dylan, starred on the popular Disney show "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" for years. Now, he stars on "Riverdale."

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Cole Sprouse. Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

The twins played Zack and Cody Martin on the Disney Channel sitcom from 2005 to 2008, and in its spin-off "The Suite Life on Deck" from 2008 to 2011.

Both Sprouse twins graduated from NYU in 2015. Cole majored in archaeology, while Dylan concentrated on video game design.

Cole also starred in 2019 YA romance "Five Feet Apart," as a teenager with cystic fibrosis. Last year, he starred in the horror podcast "Borrasca."

A young Dakota Fanning played the former occupant of a house Monica and Chandler were looking to buy in season 10.

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Dakota Fanning in "Friends." Warner Bros.

Fanning interacts with Joey after he tried to find some fault in the house, in an attempt to stop the couple from moving and leaving the city.

Now 27, Fanning appeared in 2019's "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood" as part of the Manson Family.

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Dakota Fanning. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Fanning also had a small role in "Ocean's 8" and a supporting role in the "Twilight" saga as an antagonistic vampire. She also starred in the TV show, "The Alienist," and will have a recurring role in Showtime's "The First Lady."

Melora Hardin played Celia, one of Ross' girlfriends, in season one, episode 15, "The One with the Stoned Guy."

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Melora Hardin as Celia. Warner Bros/Youtube

In the episode, Celia is attacked by Ross' pet monkey Marcel.

Fans of "The Office" will recognize Hardin as Michael Scott's boss and eventual lover Jan.

Melora Hardin
Melora Hardin. David Livingston/Getty

Hardin also had recurring roles on "Monk" and "Transparent," and starred on the TV show, "The Bold Type."

Steve Zahn played Duncan, a Canadian ice dancer in season two, episode four, "The One with Phoebe's Husband."

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Steve Zahn as Duncan. Warner Bros.

Phoebe decided to marry Duncan so he could get a green card — even though everyone thought he was gay. When he returned years later, it was eventually revealed he's straight, much to Phoebe's chagrin.

Zahn starred in a number of '90s and early 2000s hits including "Joy Ride" and "You've Got Mail."

Steve Zahn
Steve Zahn. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Right before his stint on "Friends," he appeared in the film "Reality Bites," which had him typecast as a stoner for years.

Zahn starred as Greg's father in the first three "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movies. He also appeared in "Dallas Buyers Club" and "War for the Planet of The Apes." Some may also recognize him from his role as Davis in HBO series "Treme."

Jim Rash appeared as a nervous passenger in the final episode of "Friends."

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Jim Rash as a passenger. Warner Bros.

Rachel accidentally caused all the passengers to leave the plane before take off, because the plane didn't have a "phalange."

Rash played a passenger who overheard the conversation between Rachel and Phoebe and became convinced that the flight was doomed.

Rash played the lovable goofball Dean Pelton for six seasons of "Community."

Jim Rash
Jim Rash. Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Rash is also an accomplished writer. He won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on the 2011 film, "The Descendants."

He also appeared in an episode of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and co-wrote and co-directed the 2020 film "Downhill," starring Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Christine Taylor made guest appearances as Phoebe's friend Bonnie in seasons three and four.

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Christine Taylor as Bonnie. Warner Bros/Youtube

Bonnie dated Ross for a short time before Rachel interfered and caused the couple to break up — Rachel encouraged Bonnie to shave her head.

Taylor starred in the comedies "Zoolander," "The Wedding Singer," and "Dodgeball."

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Christine Taylor. Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images for for Paramount Pictures

Taylor married fellow "Friends" alum Ben Stiller, but the two separated in 2017. Taylor has played a recurring role on HBO Max's "Search Party" since 2016. She also appeared in 2020's "Friendsgiving."

Rebecca Romijn played one of Ross' dates, Cheryl, in season four, episode six, "The One with the Dirty Girl."

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Rebecca Romijn as Cheryl. Warner Bros.

The date fell apart after Ross saw how messy her apartment was. She is, in fact, the titular "dirty girl."

Romijn is best known for her role as the villainous Mystique in the original "X-Men" trilogy.

Rebecca Romijn

From 2014 through 2018, Romijn starred in the TV series "The Librarians," a spin-off of a series of fantasy films. She also voiced Lois Lane in DC's line of animated films and had a recurring role on "Ugly Betty." She also had a recurring role on "Star Trek Discovery."

Aisha Tyler played Charlie Wheeler in a couple of episodes during seasons nine and 10.

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Aisha Tyler as Charlie Wheeler. Warner Bros.

Charlie was initially a love interest for Joey but quickly abandoned him when she set her sights on Ross.

Since "Friends," Tyler has had a long career as a television actor and comedian.

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Aisha Tyler. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

She famously voices secret spy Lana Kane on the animated show "Archer," and also hosts the rebooted version of improv show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" She also hosted six seasons of "The Talk."

Tyler appeared in the "The Santa Clause" films as Mother Nature, and starred in the later seasons of the crime procedural "Criminal Minds."

Jon Favreau played Monica's millionaire boyfriend Pete Becker for six episodes during season three.

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Jon Favreau as Pete Becker. Warner Bros.

Pete and Monica broke up after Pete decided he wanted to be a martial arts champion (the Ultimate Fighting Champion, to be specific) with disastrous results. After a fight put him in a full body cast, he still refused to see reason — so, Monica broke up with him.

Some of Favreau's best work has been behind the camera, like directing "Iron Man" and the live-action "The Lion King."

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Jon Favreau. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Favreau directed the two films that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 2." Favreau also played bodyguard Happy Hogan in the MCU, a role he reprised for "Avengers: Endgame" and "Spider-Man: Far From Home."

Favreau has also directed "Elf," and "Cowboys & Aliens," and is the showrunner behind the Disney Plus show "The Mandalorian."

Paget Brewster played Kathy, a woman caught between Joey and Chandler in season four.

Paget Brewster
Paget Brewster as Kathy. Warner Bros/Youtube

Kathy was introduced as Joey's girlfriend, though it became clear that she was much more compatible with Chandler. Eventually, she dated Chandler, but the two broke up due to his insecurity, which led to her infidelity.

Brewster starred as Special Agent Emily Prentiss on the popular procedural "Criminal Minds" for almost 200 episodes.

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Paget Brewster. Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

Brewster also appeared in the final season of "Community" with fellow "Friends" alum Jim Rash.

Leah Remini made a guest appearance as a mother-to-be in season one, episode 23, "The One With The Birth."

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Leah Remini as Lydia. Warner Bros.

When her character went into labor, Joey stepped in to help her deliver the baby.

After "Friends," Remini found a sitcom of her own starring as Carrie Heffernan in the long-running "King of Queens."

Leah Remini
Leah Remini. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Remini reunited with her "King of Queens" co-star Kevin James in "Kevin Can Wait," and appeared as a co-host of "The Talk" for two years.

But Remini is perhaps best known now for her outspoken criticism of Scientology, and her Emmy-winning documentary series, "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath."

Jane Lynch appeared as a real estate agent in season 10, episode 15, "The One Where Estelle Dies."

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Jane Lynch in "Friends." Warner Bros,

Lynch's character tried to sell Chandler and Monica a house when they decided to move from the city — though all bets were off when the infamous Janice appeared at the house as well.

After "Friends," Lynch starred as Sue Sylvester for six seasons on the musical TV show "Glee."

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Jane Lynch. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Lynch has also made appearances in a number of comedies including "Role Models," "Talladega Nights," and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."

She's also been the host of "Hollywood Game Night" since 2013.

Adam Goldberg appeared in three episodes of season two.

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Adam Goldberg as Eddie Menuek. Warner Bros.

Goldberg appeared as Chandler's, shall we say, eccentric roommate Eddie. At one point, Goldberg's character watched Chandler while he slept, and accused Chandler of sleeping with his ex-girlfriend.

After "Friends," Goldberg appeared in the World War II ensemble film "Saving Private Ryan," along with Tom Hanks and Matt Damon.

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Adam Goldberg. Tinseltown/Shutterstock

Goldberg more recently played an assassin called Mr. Numbers in the first season of "Fargo," and he had a supporting role on the sitcom "God Friended Me."

Hank Azaria appeared sporadically in five episodes over nine seasons as Phoebe's love interest David.

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Hank Azaria as David. Warner Bros.

Early on, David left Phoebe to move to Minsk for his job. He returned in various seasons, but made his last appearance in season 9, when he tried to win Phoebe back, though she chose Mike, played by Paul Rudd.

Azaria is best known for his voice acting, voicing prominent members of "The Simpsons" cast.

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Hank Azaria. Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Azaria has often collaborated with fellow "Friends" alum Ben Stiller, appearing in "Mystery Men," "Along Came Polly," and "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian."

He's also the star of the IFC show "Brockmire," which aired its series finale in May 2020.

Kyla Pratt appeared as a Girl Scout named Charla Nichols in season three, episode 10, "The One Where Rachel Quits."

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Kyla Pratt as Charla Nichols. Warner Bros.

Charla was angry and rude to Ross when he accidentally broke her fellow Girl Scout's leg, played by Mae Whitman.

Pratt starred in five of the "Doctor Dolittle" films as Eddie Murphy's daughter.

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Kyla Pratt. Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

She also appeared in "Fat Albert" and Disney Channel series "The Proud Family" — which is getting a revival on Disney Plus. Pratt also appeared in the reality tattoo show "Black Ink: Compton." She also stars in the Fox sitcom "Call Me Kat," which premiered in January.

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