It’s been 19 years since the final Friends episode premiered, but it remains an important part of pop culture. This has meant that not only Jennifer Aniston continues to be among the most popular faces in the entertainment industry but also one of the richest.
The sitcom followed the lives of six reckless adults living in Manhattan, as such all six actors who portrayed these characters get plenty of love from Friends’ fans even today. But thanks to her prolific stint in Hollywood as well, Aniston gets more limelight than her friends.
Still, when it comes to net worth, all six stars are very rich. By the time the show wrapped its final season in 2004, they were understood to be earning $1m an episode. Another big reason behind their riches is the residual cheques from the show.
How Friends Star Reacted After Comparing His Yearly Pay-Out With the Main Cast in Jennifer Aniston’s Sitcom
As Hollywood finds itself at a standstill due to SAG-AFTRA strikes, younger fans are getting acquainted with the term ‘Residuals’ – which has emerged as one of the central issues of the strikes. Residuals (or royalties) are pre-negotiated payments those who worked on films and television shows get for reruns and other airings following the initial release.
While in the era of streaming, this has become an alien term (hence the protests), but the Friends cast has benefitted a lot from this. A report in USA Today in 2015, stated that Friends make a staggering $1 billion each year for Warner Bros. from syndication revenue. And thanks to the Friends cast’s savvy negotiations, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, all take home 2% of that income. Yes, $20 million a year for a show that ended decades ago.
Turns out, other cast members also get these cheques, albeit they are a lot smaller in size. Vincent Ventresca, who played Fun Bobby in the show, revealed (via The Guardian):
“Every time I get a cheque [for residuals, from reruns of the show] I think to myself: “Wow, they [the main cast members] must be really rich.” I get about $2,000 a year in residuals, and I only did two episodes.”
Ventresca is absolutely right in assuming the main cast is very rich. In particular, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Aniston’s net worth in 2023 is $320 million.
How Mitchell Whitfield Missed Out on Making $20 Million a Year From Jennifer Aniston’s Friends
Schwimmer is perhaps the second most popular face from the show. He played Ross Geller, a goofy Paleontologist, whose relationship with Rachel was one of the main plot lines of the sitcom.
Interestingly, Mitchell Whitfield, who ended up making cameo appearances as Barry Farber, was pretty close to getting the crucial role. He said (via The Guardian):
“I was brought in to audition for Ross and Chandler. I went back multiple times, and then they realised Ross was the role for me. I got down to the very end, and was testing for the show. At the last minute, they said: “We’re bringing in one more guy to read.” That guy turned out to be David Schwimmer.”
Whitfield added that his wife cringes a little bit because if he had ended up portraying Ross, he’d have also received a lot of money, including $20 million a year in residual payments.