For the 10 years that Friends aired on NBC in the late ‘90s and early aughts, one of the things the sitcom was known for was its impressive roster of guest stars. A-listers who graced the soundstage included Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Aisha Tyler, Tom Selleck, Reese Witherspoon, and the list goes on. One member of television royalty who played a small but important role on the show was Marlo Thomas, who recently spoke about her experience with Matt LeBlanc, as their characters shared a big kiss in Season 2, and she recalled the question he supposedly asked her about it.
Marlo Thomas was featured in three episodes of Friends as Sandra Green, mother of Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel. In the Season 2 episode “The One with the Two Parties,” the gang aims to keep Rachel’s divorcing parents from running into each other at her birthday party, and at one point Joey (Matt LeBlanc) distracts Sandra by kissing her when she’s about to come face-to-face with Rachel’s father (Ron Leibman). The That Girl star told US Weekly:
When I played Rachel’s mom on Friends, Matt LeBlanc was [supposed] to kiss me. Before the scene, Matt shyly asked my permission to really lay one on me. So cute!
Yes, I'd have to agree that consent is pretty cute. Matt LeBlanc seemed to know that moment would hit the hardest if both actors just fully went for it, and I love hearing that he spoke to Marlo Thomas about the scene first.
Some of Friends’ guest stars have said they found it intimidating to work alongside the established six main cast members — Tom Selleck was “scared to death” — but here it sounds like it was Matt LeBlanc who was a little nervous about his impending intimate moment with Marlo Thomas. Clearly the actress was game, and it resulted in a hilarious moment for the ensemble. Check it out below:
Joey really does lay one on Sandra, and Marlo Thomas showed off her comedic chops perfectly, as her knees buckled, arms falling limp to her sides, as she stood lip-locked with her daughter’s neighbor. Even after the kiss, Sandra remained hilariously flustered.
Reese Witherspoon seemed to have a similar experience with Matt LeBlanc when she guest-starred as Rachel’s sister Jill. In addition to how exciting it was to sit on Central Perk’s famous orange couch, she had her mind blown when Joey delivered his signature pickup line, “How you doin’?” to her.
All in all, it sounds like the experience was a positive one for the actresses who portrayed Jennifer Aniston’s family members, but not every guest star enjoyed their time on the Friends set. Jennifer Grey, who played Rachel’s frenemy Mindy, has spoken candidly about her anxiety and how multiple script changes added to the already-daunting experience of guest-starring on the show. When Grey was asked to reprise the role later in the series’ run, she had to turn it down, forcing Friends to recast Mindy.
If you want to relive Marlo Thomas’ appearances on Friends, all 10 seasons can be streamed with a Max subscription, and be sure to also check out our 2023 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon.