Inside Matthew Perry's Friendship With David Schwimmer

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It comes as no surprise that the cast of "Friends" were just as good pals in real life as they were on screen. Maybe that's exactly why the show worked as brilliantly as it did — other than perfect casting, the original six shared genuine relationships that extended beyond their roles.

While the women of the show, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, and Courteney Cox, were the closest and remained a tight-knit group in the years after "Friends" came to an end, their male castmates had a special bond, too. Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer often spent time together off-set, as was detailed in Dennis Bjorklund's e-book, "Friends: Behind the Scenes."

While the late Perry, who played the notoriously funny Chandler Bing, seemed closest to LeBlanc (Joey), he was also great friends with Schwimmer. The two weren't as keen on sharing too many details about their friendship publicly, but they've given us glimpses of their bond throughout the years. According to Bjorklund, the two met during the audition process and got along from the get-go. Despite a potential obstacle involving a female co-star, their bond prevailed. Perry spoke highly of Schwimmer in his memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," while Schwimmer often engaged in playful banter with his former co-star. Following Matthew Perry's untimely death in 2023, Schwimmer, along with other "Friends" co-stars, publicly expressed his deep grief in a statement to People.

Perry praised Schwimmer's business acumen

While Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer weren't as vocal about their friendship compared to the rest of the "Friends" cast, it was evident that they held each other in high regard. As per Insider, Perry, in his memoir "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," disclosed that Schwimmer took the initiative to negotiate higher payouts for the entire cast.

Perry recounted Schwimmer's early success in the first year of the show, noting, "He was the hot guy that first year, and rightly so. He had been hilarious." According to Perry, as the most successful in the public eye out of the six, Schwimmer had the best odds of raising everyone's salary, which is exactly what he did. The actor revealed that Schwimmer suggested a collective approach to renegotiating the cast's terms because he felt like they all deserved to be paid equally, and the rest is history.

The "Fools Rush In" star did the math, revealing that he got $22,500 for the pilot episode of "Friends", which turned to $1 million when the show hit its eighth season. Perry openly expressed his gratitude to his "Friends" co-star, writing, "We had David's goodness and his astute business sense to thank for what we had been offered."

They both had a crush on Jennifer Aniston at one point

It is now basically common knowledge that David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston had a crush on each other during the early days of "Friends," but it took fans by surprise to find out Matthew Perry also had a thing for Aniston.

In his memoir, Perry confessed to being attracted to Aniston before "Friends" was a thing. The two met three years prior, and as reported by Mirror, Perry was instantly crushing on the famous beauty. He eventually even asked her out, but Aniston refused. While he ultimately got over his fixation, he had to face the fact that Aniston was crushing on his friend and "Friends" co-star, David Schwimmer.

During the "Friends" reunion special on HBO Max, Aniston and Schwimmer admitted to having feelings for each other throughout the first season of the show, but their timing never aligned. In an interview on SiriusXM's "The Jess Cagle Show," Perry revealed that he was aware of their crush but harbored no ill feelings. When asked if he was upset that Aniston preferred Schwimmer, Perry replied, "Eventually, my crush dissipated. I did, at one point, just go, 'Alright, that's enough.'" The trio remained lifelong friends, so it's safe to assume there was no animosity stemming from Perry's unreciprocated feelings.

Perry and Schwimmer always had the right words for one another

Despite not engaging in public displays of affection when it came to their friendship, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry always found the right words to support each other. In a 2003 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the cast of "Friends" were asked about Perry's struggle with drug addiction and whether it was hard for them to see a friend suffering. Schwimmer, who has never publicly spoken about the issue, simply responded, "It was really hard."

Perry later opened up in a 2022 interview with People about how his co-stars, undoubtedly including Schwimmer, provided their unwavering support during his lowest points. "They were understanding, and they were patient," he stated, adding, "[We're] a group that really is close and tight-knit."

While Schwimmer never discussed Perry's troubles with the media, he playfully poked fun at him on lighter topics. In the wake of teasing the HBO "Friends" reunion on BBC's "The One Show," Schwimmer took the opportunity to tease his castmate instead. "Honestly, I really wish I could confirm or deny. I can't. There's nothing official to report, unfortunately", he said, quipping, "Maybe Matthew Perry is pregnant." Although Perry is no longer with us, we can only hope for more insights into their iconic friendship in the future.