NBC's Friends has been off the air since 2004, but that hasn't stopped people from watching and rewatching the beloved sitcom more than 15 years later. And while it's hard to imagine the show without the original six cast members in their iconic roles now, there were other actors up for those parts early on.
No role was as coveted as the character of Rachel Green, and as strange as it may seem, Jennifer Aniston wasn't the studio's first choice. Here is a list of six actresses who almost played everyone's favorite waitress-turned-fashion savant.
1. Téa Leoni
These days you might recognize her as the lead on the CBS drama Madam Secretary, but actress Téa Leoni was one of NBC's top choices to play Rachel, according to ScreenRant. She turned the role down and instead starred in the short-lived series The Naked Truth a year later.
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2. Jane Krakowski
Jane Krakowski is best known for roles like Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock and Jacqueline White in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Like many actors at the time, Krakowski also auditioned for the role of Rachel Green, but she later said she didn't get very far in the audition process.
3. Tiffani Thiessen
Saved by the Bell alum Tiffani Thiessen is also on the list of actresses who almost played Rachel Green. During an appearance on You Up? With Nikki Glaser, Thiessen said she believes she didn't get the role because of her age. “I was just a little too young. I was a little too young to the pairing of the rest of them,” she said. Thiessen would have only been 20 when Friends premiered, far younger than any other member of the cast.
4. Lisa Whelchel
The Facts of Life actress Lisa Whelchel also got a script for Friends after NBC had already shot the pilot and wanted to recast Rachel, due to Aniston's commitment to another series. Even though she thought the script was funny, Whelchel still turned the role down, as she explained in a "Where Are They Now?" segment on the Oprah Winfrey Network. One of Whelchel's concerns was that the series would mostly revolve around the characters' sex lives.
5. Elizabeth Berkley
Saved by the Bell actress Elizabeth Berkley also auditioned for the role of Rachel, according to Digital Spy, but she eventually lost out to Aniston. It's a good thing, too, because she probably never would have landed her role in Showgirls.
6. Courteney Cox
Could fans be any more surprised? The role of Rachel Green was first offered to Courteney Cox; however, the actress was more drawn to the character of Monica, and despite having competition for the part, she was eventually cast in the role of her choice.