Real Scandal Involving Tom Cruise’s Enemy Landed Jennifer Aniston in a Difficult Spot, Later Inspired Her Drama Starring Reese Witherspoon

Real Scandal Involving Tom Cruise’s Enemy Landed Jennifer Aniston in a Difficult Spot, Later Inspired Her Drama Starring Reese Witherspoon

Jennifer Aniston returned to the television scene in 2019 with The Morning Show, a drama about what goes behind the scenes at a popular daytime news program. The Friends superstar committed to a TV show for the first time since the end of her iconic sitcom in 2004.

This also reunited the Friends sisters, Rachel Green (Aniston) and Jill Green (Reese Witherspoon). The latter appeared on the sitcom for just two episodes but struck a life-long friendship with Aniston. The two not only star as leads in The Morning Show, but they are also producers for the same.

Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston.

Having said that, more than their friendship, it was a scandal involving Matt Lauer, who’s certainly not Tom Cruise’s favorite news personality, that inspired Aniston and Witherspoon’s show.

Read more: “Jennifer Aniston cried in my lap”: Friends Star Had a Heart-Wrenching Reaction After Receiving News About Show’s Take-Off in 1994

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How Tom Cruise’s Enemy Inspired Jennifer Aniston’s Show

In The Morning Show, Jennifer Aniston plays Alex Levy, an anchor of a morning talk show who finds herself in a pickle after her co-presenter, Mitch Kessler, portrayed by the very brilliant Steve Carell, faces accusations of s-xual misconduct. 

Jennifer Aniston
The Morning Show star Jennifer Aniston.

However, the show, which is now in its third season, might’ve played out a lot differently had the makers not witnessed a scandal involving Matt Lauer.

It was originally planned to take the form of a TV drama about breakfast TV, but during the early days of its development, s-xual allegations came to light against the famous presenter of NBC’s breakfast program, Today. This put Aniston and Witherspoon in a difficult situation, but instead of dumping their planned show, the producers rejigged their story.


Witherspoon explained to The Guardian“So now, instead of dancing around that subject, we were like, OK, episode one – there it is.”

The idea is brought up in the very first episode and after Carell’s character is fired, Bradley Jackson (Witherspoon) is brought on to take his place. The Office star isn’t explicitly playing Lauer, but he does well to represent an individual with a charming on-screen presence that overshadows a very different reality.

Read more: “I felt awful”: Paul Rudd Thought He’d Be Fired From Friends After Hurting His Ex Jennifer Aniston

What Happened Between Tom Cruise and Matt Lauer, The Scandal that Impacted Jennifer Aniston’s Show

Lauer was one of the biggest television stars, who frequently made headlines with his high-profile interviews. In particular, his infamous showdown with Tom Cruise in 2005 still gets talked about.

Tom Cruise and Matt Lauer
Tom Cruise and Matt Lauer.

During the interview for Today, Lauer touched on fiery subjects like Scientology and Cruise’s criticism of Brooke Shields’ medication (antidepressants), as the superstar insisted on his disagreement with psychiatry. He said:

“I’ve never agreed with psychiatry, ever. Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with psychiatry, and when I started studying the history of psychiatry, I understood more and more why I didn’t believe in psychology.”

The back and forth eventually led to the latter saying, “Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt. You’re glib.” 

The Top Gun star later apologized in person to Shields, and even invited her to his wedding to Katie Holmes, who was interestingly present on the set during his interview with Lauer.

Read more: “I’m the reason the show exists”: Despite Jennifer Aniston’s Star Power, One Unlikely ‘Friends’ Actor Hogs All the Credit For the Iconic Show’s Existence

Source: The Guardian, Today


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Written by Vishal

An experienced content writer, Vishal juggles his time between analyzing players on the pitch and stars on the big screen.