The Truth About Allison Janney And Octavia Spencer's Relationship

Big stars all too often have big egos. Hollywood is rife with horror stories of actors who quit roles because of another actor and actors who flat-out refused to work together.

It would have been far too easy for Allison Janney and Octavia Spencer to go down that well-trod celebrity path of egos and animosity. After all, the two Oscar-winning actresses didn't like each other at first.

In a joint interview with People in 2022, they explained that they took an initial dislike to one another because they were interested in the same man.

"And then we both decided we liked each other better than the guy!" Janney said.

Once they got past their rocky beginning, the pair became fast friends. More than two decades later — plus three films, and a TV series together — they're the type of BFFs who declare, "I love you" to each other multiple times during an interview.

"Can you believe that we both liked the same guy once?," Spencer said about that long-ago shared crush. "Our friendship has lasted so much longer."

Allison Janney admires Octavia Spencer's humor and boldness

Allison Janney and Octavia Spencer have been in three movies together, all directed by Tate Taylor; the short film "Chicken Party," the dark comedy, "Pretty Ugly People," and the controversial yet Oscar-winning film, "The Help" (often criticized for its "white savior" trope, per Insider). Plus Spencer appeared on several episodes of Janney's comedy series "Mom" (per IMDb).

Janney told Backstage about working on "Chicken Party," their first film together: "It was the first time I got to spend a lot of time with her, and I didn't want to be apart from her. If she went to the bathroom, I'd go with her. Because wherever she is, she makes me laugh."

There are countless other traits that Janney admires about her pal. "She's one of my favorite storytellers, and I could just listen to her for hours, talking about her day or what crazy experience that she's gone through. She just knows how to tell a story. She is so opinionated and so fierce with what she believes," the star of "The West Wing" said to People.

"I've been in love with Octavia forever," Janney told Glamour.

Octavia Spencer is in awe of Allison Janney's talent and kindness

Early on, Octavia Spencer spotted Allison Janney's impressive acting ability on "The West Wing." In their joint interview with People, the "Hidden Figures" star praised Janney: "You got all the talent and all the tall gorgeousness." Spencer then called her friend "one of the funniest, one of the most talented, one of the kindest people I know."

Spencer remains in awe of how effortless Janney makes the hard work of acting look, telling Backstage, "She has always been one of those people I use as the bar. As in, if I could just be in the neighborhood of giving a performance like the ones she gives, I would be thrilled."

Plus Spencer admires that her friend has remained grounded over the years, despite all of the many successes in film, television, and live theatre that have earned Janney a stunning net worth. Spencer said to Backstage, "She's always been a working actor, but seeing how she went from anonymity to fame, I was there when it really exploded. And she never, ever, ever changed who she was."

How the two friends spend time together

Many people assume that when two Hollywood stars get together, it's all ball gowns and red carpets — such as in the photo that Viola Davis tweeted of herself with Allison Janney and Octavia Spencer at the Oscars in 2018. But when Janney and Spencer hang out, it's usually far more down to earth.

"We're both lazy, though she has more of a social life than I do, but she comes over and we have dinners at my house, and we play stupid games and make each other laugh," Janney told Glamour.

They often play the game Phase 10. Janney said to Vanity Fair, "Other than that, we just put on music, dance around, cook out, and just hang. We never have to do anything, really, when we're together, just hang out and watch movies."

The pair also text and talk on the phone whenever they can. "We hop on the phone and just brighten each others' lives," Spencer said in their interview with People. "The phone calls are always, always fun."

They reminisced about a low-key New Year's Eve celebration at Janney's house, with Janney's parents, where everyone played Phase 10 and ate. "It was one of my favorite New Year's Eves ever," Janney said.

Spencer agreed, adding, "It was so easy and fun. That's how we vibe. There is no pretense."

The two friends support each other through good times and bad

Even big-name Hollywood stars go through rough times occasionally. Octavia Spencer told People that her phone calls with Allison Janney are always helpful: "Even if we're going through some touchy things in life, it's like, let's talk, because we're going to laugh, and it's going to be great, and we're going to be honest and we're going to find a moment of levity to not be so hard on ourselves."

Janney added, "She has been with me through some of my saddest, most challenging moments on this planet and also some of the biggest celebrations."

And seeing each other achieve success brings joy to both of them. While Janney watched Spencer get her hair and makeup done before their interview with Backstage, Janney felt overcome with emotion. She said, "I almost started to cry. It was just so cool; it's so nice to see this happen for someone I love so much."