Ellen DeGeneres almost played Phoebe on Friends & more surprising facts

Kaya Kaynak September 21, 2020
Ellen DeGeneres almost played Phoebe on Friends & more surprising facts
Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Lock-down has been tough for all of us, but you’d have to be dead inside not have enjoyed the return of Phoebe from Friends. But did you know that Ellen DeGeneres almost played Phoebe? Here are more head-spinning facts to tide you over to the next reunion (fingers crossed).

Lisa Kudrow – who played the famous character – joined fellow cast mates Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox in a hilarious sketch as part of Sunday’s Emmy awards.


Despite ending 15 years ago, the show still has an almost unrivalled cult following today thanks to its success on Netflix.

Phoebe Buffay’s quirkiness in particular has gained lots of love from fans. Here’s five things you didn’t know about Phoebe from Friends.

She’s friends with Monica and Rachel in real life

Photo by NBC/Newsmakers

Throughout the show’s ten years on air there were constant rumours about cast members falling out.

All these years on, it’s seems we have proof none of them were true.

Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox’s real-life friendship is still going strong to this day. In fact, they are all in a group chat together.

Phoebe almost didn’t exist

The original premise of Friends centred around the lives of only four young New Yorkers.

The two that were going to miss out were Phoebe and Monica’s eventual husband Chandler – sorry if that’s a spoiler but it has been 15 years people!

Quite what we would have done without the quirkiness and sarcasm of both characters doesn’t bare thinking about.

Ellen DeGeneres nearly played Phoebe

Photo by FOX via Getty Images

It has already been a pretty bad year for Ellen, so she won’t need reminding she missed out on one of the biggest opportunities of her career.

She could have played Phoebe Buffay rather than Lisa Kudrow. Amazingly, the day-time host turned down the role. Jane Lynch and Kathy Griffin also auditioned for the role but didn’t get the part.

Lisa Kudrow hated playing guitar

Some of the show’s best scenes came during Phoebe’s acoustic concerts at Central Perk. Who can forget her incredible Christmas ode to her beloved friends?

While the character had a true passion – if not talent – for music, the real-life situation was very different.

Lisa Kudrow was offered lessons to improve her guitar playing for the show but gave up after learning only a few basic chords

She could have ended up with Joey

Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Joey and Phoebe were the only two ‘friends’ who never coupled off together by the show’s finale. But that’s not for lack of trying on the actors’ part.

Matt Le Blanc and Lisa Kudrow suggested to writers the characters could have been secretly having a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship.

As we know today, their suggestion was ignored. Phoebe ended up with Mike while Joey went off to do his own thing. The less said about that the better…

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Kaya is a sports journalist who is desperately missing football. He has worked with talkSPORT, 90min.com, GiveMeSport and CBC. He has a first class master's degree in international journalism from City University of London. He is also a fluent Turkish speaker and is proficient in French. Follow him on twitter @kayakaynak97 for all his latest articles.