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Secrets from Friends finale REVEALED - 15 years since it was aired

Mirror logo Mirror 18/05/2019 James Brinsford

FRIENDS -- Season 4 -- Pictured: (back l-r) Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, (front l-r) Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay  (Photo by Gerald Weinman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) © Getty FRIENDS -- Season 4 -- Pictured: (back l-r) Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, (front l-r) Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay (Photo by Gerald Weinman/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) Friends was one of the biggest TV shows of its time and even today, some 15 years after its finale it is still revered by many.

The show ran for 10 years on NBC and made global stars of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc.

To celebrate the show that has become a pop culture icon, here are some secrets from their last ever episode, that was aired in 2004.

A cool mill

When six relatively unknown actors were cast for Friends in 2004, they were paid around $20,000 per episode (equivalent of £26,645 in today's money).

By the time the final episode arrived, they were all superstars and demanding a cool $1million per episode.

Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer posing for a photo: I'll be there for you © Reuters I'll be there for you

What was unusual was that the cast negotiated together to ensure that they all got paid the same amount.

It was a tactic later taken on by the casts of Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory, and at the time having both sexes being paid the same was incredibly rare in Hollywood.

Shortest run of the lot

As the wages per episode rocketed, so the number of episodes starting going down.

They started with 24 episodes when it first aired but by the Friends final season, they were down to 18 in the run.

Back in 2003, it was reported that Brad Pitt may have had a say in this cut, as he was keen to start a family with his then wife, Jennifer Aniston, and was reportedly "really angry" when she signed up for another year, though Aniston's rep at the time denied this was the case, insisting that it was just the best time for all the cast to be together to film.

a close up of Courteney Cox: Friends forever © NBCU Photo Bank Friends forever

It was always going to be Ross and Rachel forever

If nothing else happened in the final episode, producers Crane and Kauffman were insistent that Ross and Rachel finished together.

Speaking to EW, Crane said: "The only thing we absolutely knew from very early on was that we had to get Ross and Rachel together.

"We had dicked the audience around for 10 years with their 'will they or won't they,' and we didn't see any advantage in frustrating them."

However, they tried to work a sting into the tail by showing Rachel getting off a plane, leaving viewers to think that she may have chosen Paris over Ross, until the big reveal.

David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow posing for the camera: The cast earned $1m per episode for the final series © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The cast earned $1m per episode for the final series

An emotional farewell

After a run of 10 years and at the height of their fame, it was always going to be an emotional finale but the tears almost stopped filming happening at all.

Before the cameras had started, the whole cast needed their makeup redone, as emotions were so high.

Aniston said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey: "I don't think we've ever taken more time in hair and makeup in between scenes.

"Also, that fact that we kept crying all our makeup off, over and over again."

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Schwimmer said that he was okay until they had their pre-show ritual huddle. He said: "I started to lose it. That was the moment I was dreading."

Aniston said that they were all in "hysterics" at amount of time the makeup was needed, though there may be a different take on that from the artists themselves.

Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer posing for a photo: Friends together in 1998 © Daily Mirror Friends together in 1998

One 'Friend' almost never returned

Aniston took some convincing that they should do another series, even if it made them the highest paid TV stars in history.

After picking up an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her role in Friends, Aniston had reservations of doing it all again.

She said: "I had a couple issues that I was dealing with. I wanted it to end when people still loved us and we were on a high. And then I also was feeling like, 'How much more of Rachel do I have in me?'"

Of course, around this time, her relationship with Brad Pitt was starting to unravel and was she was finding it difficult to commit to filming another series with this in her private life.

As she struggled with the ending of Friends, Aniston said that she wasn't getting any support from Brad, saying: "He just wasn't there for me."

Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc posing for a photo: The cast of Friends © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The cast of Friends

Gifts all round

The cast and crew had 'yearbooks' that celebrated their time on the show and they were getting signed between takes.

The cast also bought inscrived Cartier watches for the producers as well as diamond earrings.

Well, you have to spend that million per episode on something!

a man and a woman lying on a bed: Together forever, or ten series at least © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Together forever, or ten series at least

The one that they all hated

The moment that Joey and Rachel couple up still divides fans of the show to this day.

They are not alone though, as the cast hated the idea as well and railed against the writers making this happen.

Matt LeBlanc was "very firmly against it, saying that he's Ross' friend, and that the type of friend that Joey is would never go and take someone else's girlfriend."

Aniston also addressed the controversial coupling in an interview with Elle in 2017.

She said: "I think there was a moment when Joey and Rachel got together that maybe it could happened, but it didn't. It was Ross and Rachel all the way.

"I just don't think Joey and Rachel could have made it. I think it was more physical than emotional with them. They were friends with benefits, and they left it at that."

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