Life after Monica: Courteney Cox’s life since FriendsWatch it now
As Monica, Courteney Cox created one of the most iconic – and uptight – characters in TV history. We caught up with Courteney.
Ladies and gentlemen, can we have an OMG? (And all the tissues!) It’s Friends: The Reunion! Also known as The One Where They Get Back Together, the almost two-hour TV special is now on Showmax.
Now in their 50s, Courteney Cox (Monica), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Matthew Perry (Chandler), and David Schwimmer (Ross) bring us all the feels as they return to the iconic comedy’s original soundstage for a real-life unscripted celebration of the beloved show, including a line-up of guest stars and celebrities from host James Corden to Lady Gaga, David Beckham to Justin Bieber.
Friends has an 8.4/10 score on IMDb where, surprise!, it’s at #3 on the Most Popular TV list, and still at #53, IMDb Top Rated TV of all time, 17 years after the finale aired in 2004. The series won 77 awards over the course of its 10-season run, including six Emmys.
The one with the A-type personality
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Monica and Chandler got married in Season 7 of Friends, with Ross as the best man, Phoebe and Rachel as Monica’s bridesmaids… and Joey as the minister. For many of us, Monica and Chandler were the ultimate iconic couple.
Ross’s younger sister, Monica Geller, a chef, was obsessive, competitive, a control freak, a neat-freak, and wa-a-ay too A-type for us lesser mortals, but it was her apartment the gang invariably ended up at when they weren’t at the Central Perk coffee shop, and it’s Monica that still comes up today in those “why can’t I just find my Monica?” conversations.
Season 10 left the pair on a high note when they started a family and said goodbye to their purple-painted apartment to raise their adoptive twins in the country.
The cast’s chemistry “was like lightning in a bottle,” Courteney says, but it’s just as well she and Matthew kept that chemistry strictly on-screen. In an almost soap-worthy development, researchers at the genealogy website MyHeritage recently revealed to CNN that the dream pair are in fact related, sharing common ancestors in a couple that lived in England around 500 years ago, which makes them 11th cousins.
Before Friends came along, Courteney’s career had included playing Lauren Miller in the Michael J. Fox sitcom Family Ties, and starring opposite Jim Carrey in the movie that rocketed him to mega-stardom, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
In her role as Monica, Courteney won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Performer in a New TV Program for the very first season of Friends. She went on to receive nominations for two Teen Choice Awards, two American Comedy Awards and two Kids’ Choice Awards, including Favorite Television Friends, a title she shared with Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow. The three have remained close in real life, and Jennifer is godmother to Courteney’s daughter.
Besties and Friends fandom aside, though, it was another long-running franchise that would have the biggest impact on Courteney’s life in the long run. In 1996, Courteney picked up the role of nosy reporter Gale Weathers in a little horror movie called Scream, a role she would go on to reprise over the next four films in the franchise, including the recently wrapped latest instalment, which is due for release in 2022. Scream 2 earned Courteney a Best Supporting Actress Award at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, and for Scream 3, she picked up the 2000 Teen Choice Award for Choice Chemistry, a title she shared with her co-star in the film, David Arquette, who – surprise! – she had married in real life…
David, who had met Courteney on the set of the first Scream movie, had made a cameo appearance on Friends (as Phoebe’s stalker, Malcolm) later the same year. The pair had been dating for two years when David proposed in 1998, and they married in 1999. (The opening credits of the first episode of Friends Season 6, which aired in September of 99, appended the surname “Arquette” to the entire main cast’s names, along with the dedication “For Courteney and David, who did get married”.)
Courteney and David’s daughter, Coco Arquette, was born in 2004. Yes, you read that right – Courteney was pregnant during Season 10 of Friends, and not just a little bit either. Unlike her co-star, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney’s pregnancy couldn’t be written into the show, as it had been established that Monica couldn’t have children. In fact, Monica and Chandler were trying to adopt at the time, all while Courteney was having to wear baggy clothing to hide her baby bump from the cameras.
Friends ended in 2004, and that same year Courteney made the move to executive producing, starting Coquette Productions, with her husband.
Their first project was the FX drama Dirt, which starred Courteney as the editor of a celebrity gossip tabloid, and featured a guest appearance from her former co-star Jennifer Aniston, who played a rival editor with whom Courteney’s Lucy Spiller had a… complex relationship. It was Jennifer’s first TV role since Friends, and had fans freaking out when the two stars shared a kiss.
The year 2009 also saw a mini Friends reunion when Courteney guested on several episodes of Lisa Kudrow’s comedy series Web Therapy, playing psychic Serena DuVall.
It was Coquette’s next production, however, that would deliver Courteney’s most recognisable TV role since Friends. The six-season sitcom Cougar Town saw Courteney star as recently divorced 40-something single mom Jules Cobb from 2009 to 2015. The role earned her Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe nominations, and treated us to guest appearances from her Friends co-stars Matthew, Lisa and Jennifer.
In addition to her exec producer duties on Cougar Town, Courteney also stepped behind the camera to direct 12 of the episodes, and made her cinematic feature directing debut with the black comedy Just Before I Go.
In real life
David and Courteney split up in 2010, and Courteney began dating singer, song-writer and musician Johnny McDaid of the indie-rock band Snow Patrol in 2013. They were engaged for a while, but in 2019, Courteney said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, “He’s not my fiancé. We were engaged to be married, but now we’re just together. It’s actually better than it was before. Everything’s better.”
If Friends: The Reunion sends you off on a Courteney binge, we’d suggest saving some of those tissues for the independent 2016 drama movie Mothers and Daughters, where she stars alongside Susan Sarandon, Christina Ricci and Sharon Stone, or look out for her guest appearances in comedy series Shameless, Modern Family, Drunk History and Scrubs. She also hosts the docuseries 9 Months with Courteney Cox, which follows several families’ experiences with pregnancy.
Like Monica, Courteney is an avid cook (check out her chicken curry, lemon pasta, ginger lime mocktail, and more on Instagram), but where does Courteney think Monica would be today? She told People Magazine, “I always just feel like Monica would be doing something competitively with other mothers and trying to outdo them, whether it’s the bake sale at school or something. I mean, she’d be so annoying. She’d be at the head of the PTA or something.”
In a recent interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Courteney said filming Friends: The Reunion “was great. It was really fun. We had a lot of special surprises, and it was fantastic. It really was.”
That said, you just know the emotions are going to be running high. On the show, Courteney says, “This will really make me cry but this will be the last time that we’re ever asked about the show as a group, that we will do this… We’re not gonna do this again in 15 more years.” As for the friends themselves, we get the feeling they’ll be there for each other… pretty much forever. Courteney is quick to turn to her former co-stars and add, “I’ll tell you one thing, we are not waiting so long to have a dinner.”
Much as we would love to hear Ross announce on Friends: The Reunion, “We were [just] on a break!”, the series’ creators have repeatedly denied rumours of a Friends reboot, so the special is as close as we’re getting to a comeback.
Not that the actors, or the studio, will suffer financially if the show is never rebooted. Warner Bros reportedly still earns around $1bn a year from syndication of the evergreen show, according to USA Today. Even with the six main cast members earning just two percent of that, their annual income from reruns reportedly comes to $20m each…