What David Schwimmer Was Like Behind The Scenes Of Friends

When "Friends" premiered on NBC in 1994, it was an immediate hit. The show's main cast became Hollywood A-listers overnight — their faces and catchphrases were printed on T-shirts and coffee mugs, and, by Season 10, they were making well over $1 million per episode. Although it would have been easy for all this success to go to their heads, the six friends did their best to remain grounded. It helped that they were close in real life, too.

David Schwimmer, who was one-half of TV's most famous will-they-won't-they couple at the time, struggled with his new-found celebrity behind the scenes. "It was pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people in a way that took years, I think, for me to adjust to and become comfortable with," he recalled on The Hollywood Reporter's "Awards Chatter" podcast. According to the break-out star, he spent a lot of time wanting to hide under a baseball hat. Still, Schwimmer didn't let his personal struggles get in the way on set. He prioritized professionalism, also pushing for more diversity on-screen (the show was notorious for its majority-white cast). In her memoir, "End Credits: How I Broke Up With Hollywood," former "Friends" writer Patty Lin talked about Schwimmer's kind on-set demeanor. According to Lin, the actor made her feel more comfortable behind the scenes, a "high point" in an otherwise stressful experience.

David Schwimmer made Friends writers feel more comfortable

Although David Schwimmer got his start in front of the camera on "Friends," he eventually sat in the director's chair. The actor worked behind the camera on a total of 10 episodes, including "The One Where Joey Dates Rachel" and "The One with the Birth Mother." Patty Lin, who retired from TV work in 2008, helped write "The One with All the Candy" in Season 7, which Schwimmer also directed. She remembers him calling her by name behind the scenes (rare for lead actors and higher-ups). As Lin shared in her memoir, he asked her, "Patty, can you scooch closer to the door?" She scooched, "thrilled that instead of saying, 'Hey, you,' Schwimmer addressed [her] by name," per Us Weekly. For Lin, this tiny moment of respect was the "high point" of her time on the "Friends." "For once, I felt like I had something to do with the show," she wrote. 

Although David Schwimmer was a caring collaborator on-set, he did struggle with two of his costars in Season 1: Namely, the capuchin monkeys that played Ross's pet, Marcel. "I hate the monkey," Schwimmer revealed in a 1995 interview with Entertainment Weekly, adding, "The trainers won't let me bond with it. They're really, really possessive. It's like, 'Land on your marks, do your job, don't touch or bond with the monkey.' It's a bummer." Marcel was eventually written out and the actor was able to relax.

David Schwimmer harbored feelings for a costar behind the scenes

During Season 1 of "Friends" — in the midst of all his monkey troubles — David Schwimmer developed feelings for his on-air love interest, Jennifer Aniston. Sometimes art imitates life, and sometimes it's the other way around ... "The First Season I had a major crush on Jen," the actor revealed on HBO's "Friends: The Reunion." The feelings were mutual. "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 ..." he said. 

The rest of the cast knew that David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston were making eyes at each other off-camera — apparently, it was pretty obvious. Instead of acting on their feelings, the co-stars channeled their attraction into Ross and Rachel's love story. Suffice it to say, it definitely translated on screen ... It's hard to forget that first coffee shop kiss.

After Season 1, Schwimmer was considered one of the show's break-out stars. "He's got this quality I admire and hate at the same time," Matthew Perry (a.k.a., Chandler) told Entertainment Weekly, adding, "I admire it because nobody else has that hurt-guy style, and I hate it because every single woman on the face of the planet wants him." Despite his likability, Schwimmer wanted the show to remain ensemble-driven. All in all, it just might have been his selflessness that made "Friends" such a success.