Oh. My. God. Ross and Rachel almost dated IRL!
Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer revealed the bombshell during the HBO Max reunion, saying they almost got together during season one of the sitcom, which premiered in 1994. In the words of Monica Geller: I KNOW!
Luckily for fans, host James Corden did the dirty work to uncover the truth about the most iconic couple that never was. On camera, he reflected, "It's inconceivable to me that there weren't perhaps off-screen romances."
Jen admitted, "Uh, well. I mean... David?" He said, Yeah," before she confirmed, "The first season."
As David explained, "Yeah, the first season we—I had a major crush on Jen." The Morning Show actress revealed, "It was reciprocated."
David continued, "At some point, we were both crushing hard on each other, but it was like two ships passing because one of us was always in a relationship, and we never crossed that boundary. We respected that. But we both—"
Matt LeBlanc interrupted, saying, "Bulls--t. I'm kidding," suggesting the co-stars maybe did show a little PDA on set.
Jen cut in, confessing, "Honestly, I remember saying one time to David, ‘It's going to be such a bummer if the first time you and I actually kiss is going to be on national television.' And sure enough, the first time we kissed was in that coffee shop."
She added, "So, we just channeled all of our adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel."
The beloved characters didn't date during the first season, but eventually got together in the 1996 episode "The One Where Ross Finds Out."
James then said what we were all thinking: "Is this blowing anyone else's mind?"
David later admitted, as Matt had hinted, that he and Jen shared some intimate moments while filming the show. "I thought back on the very first year or two, you know, when we had breaks from rehearsal, like, there were moments where we would cuddle on the couch," the Will & Grace actor recalled.
Jen shared one of her favorite memories, saying, "Or we would spoon and fall asleep on the couch."
As David put it, "I'm thinking, how did not everyone know we were crushing on each other?"
According to his fellow friends, their low-key love wasn't so secretive. Matthew Perry said, "We knew," and Courteney Cox added, "We knew for sure."
"Great, thanks," David told his castmates. "It was a situation that we couldn't—we couldn't do anything about it," he said, perhaps referring to the stars' off-screen love lives.
Jen was reportedly dating Daniel McDonald until 1994, then Tate Donovan (who later appeared on Friends) from about 1995 to 1998. Of course, the Emmy winner went on to marry yet another Friends guest actor, Brat Pitt, from 2000 to 2005, followed by a two-year marriage to Justin Theroux from 2015 to 2017.
David, on the other hand, tied the knot with artist Zoe Buckman in 2010, though they split in 2017. While filming Friends, he was reportedly linked to singer Natalie Imbruglia from 1996 to 1997.
Courteney seems to think it worked out for the best that Ross and Rachel's romance remained on-screen, for the most part. "How great though, ultimately," she mused, "'cause if you had and it didn't work out, it would have not probably been as great."
The Friends reunion special dropped on HBO Max on Thursday, May 27.