Rachel Green, a fashion enthusiast and Monica Geller’s best friend from high school. Rachel and Ross Geller are involved in an on-again-off-again relationship throughout the series. Rachel’s first job is as a waitress at the coffeehouse Central Perk, but she later becomes an assistant buyer at Bloomingdale’s and a buyer at Ralph Lauren in season five. At the end of season eight, Rachel and Ross have a daughter named Emma in “The One Where Rachel Has a Baby, Part Two”. Courteney Cox portrays Monica Geller, the mother hen of the group and a chef, known for her obsessive-compulsive and competitive nature. 9] Monica is often jokingly teased by the others for having been extremely overweight as a child, especially by her brother Ross. Monica works as a chef in various restaurants throughout the show and marries Chandler Bing in season seven.  Lisa Kudrow portrays Phoebe Buffay, an eccentric masseuse and self-taught musician. Phoebe is ditsy but street smart and writes and sings (badly) her own quirky songs, accompanying herself on the guitar. She has an “evil” identical twin named Ursula. In the last season, she marries Mike Hannigan played by Paul Rudd. 11] Matt LeBlanc portrays Joey Tribbiani, a struggling actor and food lover who becomes famous for his role on Days of our Lives as Dr. Drake Ramoray. Joey is a simple-minded womanizer with many short-term girlfriends throughout the series. He falls in love with Rachel in season eight.  Matthew Perry portrays Chandler Bing, an executive in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration for a large multi-national corporation. Chandler quits his job and becomes a junior copywriter at an advertising agency during season nine. Chandler is known for his sarcastic sense of humor and bad luck in relationships. 14] Chandler marries Monica in season seven, and they adopt twins at the end of the series. David Schwimmer portrays Ross Geller, Monica Geller’s older brother, a paleontologist working at the Museum of Natural History, and later a professor of paleontology at New York University. Ross is involved in an on-again-off-again relationship with Rachel throughout the series. Ross has three failed marriages during the series: Rachel, Emily, and Carol, a lesbian who is also the mother of his son, Ben (Cole Sprouse). He and Rachel have a daughter at the end of season eight.  Cast Friends cast in first season.
Front: Cox, Aniston. Back: LeBlanc, Kudrow, Schwimmer, Perry. The main cast members were familiar to television viewers before their roles on Friends but were not considered stars.  Cox had the highest profile career of the main actors when she was initially cast, having appeared in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Family Ties.  Kudrow previously played Ursula Buffay on Mad About You, and reprised the dual role of twin sister Ursula as a recurring character during several episodes of Friends.  Before her role on Friends, Kudrow was an office manager and researcher for her father, a headache specialist. 15] LeBlanc had appeared as a minor character in the sitcom Married… with Children, and as a main character in its spin-offs, Top of the Heap and Vinnie & Bobby.  Aniston and Perry had already appeared in several unsuccessful sitcom pilots before being cast in Friends.  Before his role on Friends, Schwimmer played minor characters in The Wonder Years and NYPD Blue.  During the series’ ten-season run, the actors all became household names.  In their original contracts for the first season, cast members were paid $22,500 per episode. 19] The cast members received different salaries in the second season, beginning from the $20,000 range to $40,000 per episode.  Before their salary negotiations for the third season, the cast decided to enter collective negotiations, despite Warner Bros. ‘ preference for individual deals.  The actors were given the salary of the least-paid cast member, meaning Aniston and Schwimmer had their salaries reduced. The stars were paid $75,000 per episode in season three, $85,000 in season four, $100,000 in season five, $125,000 in season six, $750,000 in seasons seven and eight, and $1 million in seasons nine and ten. 17] The cast also received syndication royalties beginning with the fifth season.  Series creator David Crane wanted all six actors to be equally prominent, and the series was lauded as being “the first true ‘ensemble’ show”.  The cast members made efforts to keep the ensemble format and not allow one member to dominate; they entered themselves in the same acting categories for awards, opted for collective salary negotiations, and asked to appear together on magazine cover photos in the first season.  The cast members also became best friends off-screen,[