Warning: This story contains major spoilers from “Friends: The Reunion” on HBO Max.
Turns out the small screen’s biggest love affair wasn’t just a must-see-TV fantasy.
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston dropped a major bombshell in the “Friends: The Reunion” special on HBO Max: Ross and Rachel’s tortured sexual chemistry on NBC’s legendary Thursday night sitcom actually spilled over into real life.
Yes, break or no break — these turned on co-stars were totally hot for each other.
“The first season, I had a major crush on Jen,” Schwimmer, 54, admits during the much-hyped unscripted celebration. “At some point we were both crushing hard on each other — but it was like two ships passing [in the night], because one of us was always in a relationship.
“We never crossed that boundary — we respected that,” Schwimmer claims, much to the foul-mouthed skepticism of one of his castmates — but more on that later.
Aniston, 52, backs up Schwimmer’s stunning confession, before they both go into deeper detail about their steamy on-set make-out sessions — and whether or not their co-stars were in on the long-simmering secret.
“I remember saying at one point to David, ‘It’s going to be such a bummer if the first time you and I actually kiss is … on national television!’ Sure enough, the first time we kissed was in that coffee shop,” Aniston says. “So we just channeled all of our adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel.”
The reunion, which was delayed for months by COVID-19 and premiered Thursday on HBO Max, brought together actors Schwimmer, Aniston, Courteney Cox, 56; Lisa Kudrow, 57; Matt LeBlanc, 53; and Matthew Perry, 51, to reflect on the show’s status in pop culture — and to offer juicy behind-the-scenes secrets. (Hey, they weren’t paid a reported $2.5 to $3 million each for nothing, folks.)
The sure-to-stun-fans revelation by Schwimmer and Aniston was prompted by a “cheeky” observation from controversial host James Corden, who says, “You were all young, hot, good-looking, successful actors … It’s inconceivable to me that there weren’t perhaps off-screen romances.”
Meanwhile, LeBlanc revels in stirring the passion (uh, lobster?) pot. In response to Schwimmer’s suggestion that he and Aniston kept things platonic off-camera, LeBlanc coughs and blurts, “Bulls–t!” — then laughs and says, “I’m kidding!”
Could they be any more evasive?
However, Schwimmer goes on to admit, “There were moments we would cuddle on a couch” — with Aniston teasing in reply, “We would spoon and fall asleep on the couch.” Plus, fellow “Friends” cast members Cox and Perry confirm that they were aware of lovelorn Aniston and Schwimmer’s feelings for each other.
When their hot crushes officially got lit — and how long they burned — is anyone’s guess.
But let’s break this down a tiny bit: Ross and Rachel’s first kiss happens in the Season 2 episode “The One Where Ross Finds Out,” which aired on Nov. 9, 1995.
And Aniston allegedly had her first date with beau Brad Pitt, 57, in 1998. (They married in 2000 and infamously split up in 2005.)
However, Aniston once told Rolling Stone that they first met in 1994 — putting Pitt squarely in the timeframe she said she had been hoping to smooch Schwimmer. “Friends” aired from 1994 to 2004.
“Friends: The Reunion” is streaming now on HBO Max.