Friends is a timeless show about 20-somethings in New York, so it was bound to get complicated in terms of romance. Would Ross and Rachel ever stick it out? Are Chandler and Monica true soulmates? Will Joey and Phoebe find their plus one? Though the series finale answered many of these questions, it was quite a rollercoaster ride along the way. From Ross’s romance with Rachel’s younger sister to Chandler’s infatuation with Joey’s girlfriend, Kathy, there were plenty of spicy moments throughout the decade-long sitcom. Read on to see the various girlfriends who appeared on Friends and where they are now.
Jennifer Aniston As Rachel
Ross and Rachel were the couple viewers adored but also wanted to scream at now and again. The pair was so on the fence about being together that it took them the entire series to figure out how they really felt. Then there was the time Rachel tried dating Joey, and needless to say, it was disastrous.
Despite Rachel’s confusing love life, the character made Jennifer Aniston a star. She went on to get leading roles in films like Bruce Almighty and Marley & Me. More recently, she won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in the television series The Morning Show.
Courteney Cox As Monica
It may seem like Chandler and Monica were always a pair, but there were three seasons where the thought didn’t cross either of their minds. Once they did hit it off, though, they rapidly became a fan favorite as their relationship blossomed exponentially.
Since her days as Monica, Courteney Cox has earned a Golden Globe nomination for another hilarious sitcom role, this time as Jules in Cougar Town. Courteney not only starred in the series but directed it too! She even started a production company with her former husband, David Arquette, that is suitably called Coquette Productions.
Lisa Kudrow As Ursula
Considering the other couple in the Friends group, some would think Joey and Phoebe were the most logical pair. Though they had a romantic moment or two, Joey was too busy trying on other girlfriends, including Phoebe’s twin, Ursula. Phoebe didn’t take too kindly to seeing her sister break Joey’s heart.
Lisa Kudrow went on to produce, write, and star in the series The Comeback. She also executively produced Who Do You Think You Are and co-created the improv series Web Therapy. Lisa has also appeared in numerous shows and films, like Easy A and Grace and Frankie.
Jane Sibbett As Carol
Carol technically wasn’t a girlfriend of one of the lead characters in Friends, but she was an ex-wife. Still, Carol appeared throughout the series since she and Ross had a son together. The relationship had a unique twist, though, because Carol preferred raising little Ben with her partner, Susan.
When audiences first met Carol, she was played by Anita Barone. Jane Sibbett is the more recognizable Carol, though, because she took over for the remaining 15 appearances. Jane has since co-produced four documentaries and is a theater director in Hawaii.
Maggie Wheeler As Janice
If Ross and Rachel were the king and queen of off-again-on-again relationships, then Chandler and Janice were the prince and princess. Before Chandler committed to Monica, he was rolling his eyes at the obnoxious but lovable Janice, with a heavy New York accent and a laugh heard around the world.
Ironically, Maggie Wheeler initially auditioned for the role of Monica before being offered the part of Janice. She still ended up on 19 episodes of the series and simultaneously appeared in Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, and Ellen. More recently, Maggie was the voice of Trinette in an episode of Archer.
Susan Sarandon As Cecilia
Cecilia was one of the girlfriends Joey grew closest to, as they understood one another on an emotional level. She understood Joey’s passion for acting more than most, and in return, he encouraged Cecilia to follow her dreams. Though they didn’t last, they had an ideal parting of ways.
Susan Sarandon played Joey’s mentor and lover. The legendary actress has continued her decades-long career with films like The Lovely Bones and Arbitrage. She also portrayed Bette Davis in the series Feud and is a member of the Social Impact Advisory Board for the San Diego International Film Festival.
Reese Witherspoon As Jill
Ross was perhaps more confused about his love life than ever when he fell for Rachel’s younger sister, Jill. The cute but spiteful young lady moved to New York to start a new life, but that all got a little shaky when she pursued a relationship with her older sister’s true love. Fortunately, the mishap made Ross realize how much he cares for Rachel.
After her stint as Jill, Reese Witherspoon became an acclaimed actress for major films like Legally Blonde and Walk The Line, which earned her an Academy Award. She reunited with Jennifer Aniston for the award-winning series The Morning Show.
Brooke Shields As Erika
Erika may have been one of the most stunning girlfriends Joey ever had, but she was also a little off her rocker. The wild love interest could be a little overbearing, especially because she thought Joey was a fictional character in Days of Our Lives.
Brooke Shields was no stranger to avant-garde roles when she portrayed Erika. That actress continued her television career with starring roles in Suddenly Susan and Lipstick Jungle. She also has an impressive career on Broadway, starring in Chicago, Cabaret, Grease, and, most recently, The Addams Family.
Kristin Davis As Erin
Erin was one of the more likable girlfriends Joey brought around as she had a lighthearted personality and a great sense of humor. Though their chemistry was clear, the couple was perhaps too similar, resulting in an abrupt breakup.
Erin wasn’t the only romantic New Yorker that Kristin Davis portrayed. Around the same time, Kristin became well-known for her role as Charlotte in Sex and the City. She went on to embark on a film career with roles in The Shaggy Dog and Couples Retreat. She also was in major stage productions of The Best Man and Fatal Attraction.
Aisha Tyler As Charlie
One of the girlfriends who dated two men in the Friends group was Charlie, Ross’s colleague. Before Ross could profess his interest, Joey leaped at the opportunity to date a woman more intelligent than him. When Charlie realized the two wouldn’t work, Ross finally got his chance. However, she left Ross to return to her former love.
Aisha Taylor continued to play brainy knockouts, starring as Dr. Tara Lewis in Criminal Minds and voicing Lana Kane in Archer. She won a Daytime Emmy Award for co-hosting The Talk and also hosts Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Christine Taylor As Bonnie
Another example of Ross and Rachel’s messy relationship is that time she manipulated Ross’s girlfriend into shaving her head. The victim was Bonnie, who probably would have made a great long-term lover if only Ross and Rachel weren’t still madly in love.
Bonnie was portrayed by Christine Taylor, who had risen to fame for her role as Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie and its sequel. Christine went on to star alongside her husband, Ben Stiller, in Zoolander and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. She has also appeared in Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Alexandra Holden As Elizabeth
Another doomed Ross relationship was the one he had with one of his college students. The sweet Elizabeth wasn’t quite ready to be with a man like Ross, especially with her domineering dad, played by Bruce Willis, looking over her shoulder.
Alexandra Holden again played a young woman with a notably older partner in the 2013 film In A World… She also appeared in Sugar & Spice, The Hot Chick, Friday Night Lights, Grey’s Anatomy, Covert Affairs, CSI, and more. Her most recent acting credit was in the 2015 horror film Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story.
Soleil Moon Frye As Katie
Katie was only briefly Joey’s girlfriend because she had a hard time knowing her own strength. More specifically, she liked to punch people. Though she meant it as a lighthearted gesture, it was actually a painful habit, especially for Joey, who got the most blows during their relationship.
Katie was one of Soleil Moon Frye’s last on-screen roles, as was her three-year stint as Roxie King in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She then switched to voice acting for children series like The Proud Family and Bratz. Soleil also directed Sonny Boy, which won Best Documentary at the San Diego Film Festival.
Bonnie Somerville As Mona
By season eight, it seemed like Ross and Rachel just weren’t meant to be, especially once the kind-hearted Mona entered the picture. She was even okay with the fact Ross and Rachel had a baby together, but ultimately, nothing could stand in the way of their inevitable reunion.
After playing Mona, Bonnie Somerville starred in Kitchen Confidential with Bradley Cooper and Cashmere Mafia with Lucy Liu. She also starred alongside Neil Patrick Harris in the independent comedy The Best and the Brightest. Bonnie was also formerly a singer in the charity cover group Band From TV, the members of which are all television actors.
Lauren Tom As Julie
Julie entered the picture at the end of season one and continued to reappear in season two as Ross’s girlfriend. The two had been friends in graduate school, and it seemed like they might be perfect together. Of course, they couldn’t last because Ross and Rachel… well, you know.
After Lauren Tom played Julie, she appeared in the films Bad Santa and In Good Company. She was also in a string of television shows like The Nanny, Monk, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Closer. Lauren has primarily focused on voice acting, voicing characters in Batman Beyond, King of the Hill, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and many more.
Paget Brewster As Kathy
Though Kathy and Joey could bond over being actors, Kathy was a little too brainy for the simple-minded Joey. To top it off, Kathy and Chandler couldn’t help but become infatuated with one another. Ultimately, Kathy couldn’t stay committed to either man.
Paget Brewster may not have portrayed Kathy for long, but she did score a regular role in Criminal Minds as FBI agent Emily Prentiss. Paget also landed roles in the sitcoms Community and Grandfathered. The actress also voiced Birdgirl in Birdman, Attorney At Law, and Donald Duck’s twin sister, Della, in DuckTales.
Dina Meyer As Kate
Kate was yet another fellow actor that Joey fell for; only this time, the relationship was a little more complicated. Kate was initially dating the director of the play they were cast in together, but she ended up leaving both men behind to shoot a soap opera in Los Angeles.
After appearing on Friends, Dina Meyer landed starring roles in Star Trek: Nemesis and the series Birds of Prey. She was also Detective Allison Kerry in the Saw films and appeared in numerous series such as NCIS and American Horror Story.
Elle Macpherson As Janine
When Chandler and Monica became serious enough to move in together, Joey had one person in mind to replace as his roommate: Janine. Though the beauty appeared in five episodes, their relationship crashed and burned when Janine admitted that she didn’t like Chandler and Monica.
After Elle Macpherson played one of Joey’s many love interests, she continued her career as a fashion model. In 2008, she became the Global Brand Ambassador for Revlon Cosmetics and she walked the runway at a Louis Vuitton show in 2010. Elle also started the health and beauty company WelleCo in 2014.
Helen Baxendale As Emily
As though fans weren’t already frustrated enough with Rachel and Ross’s turbulent relationship, writers decided to give the man a new wife! After just two weeks of knowing “British” Emily, Ross decided to pop the question. The two say “I do” in London, even after Ross accidentally blurts out Rachel’s name at the altar.
After her 14-episode run as Emily, Helen Baxendale starred in the play Swimming With Sharks alongside Christian Slater. She then starred in the British mini-series Kidnap and Ransom and the British sitcom Cuckoo. In 2020, Helen landed the role of Meggie McGregor in the drama series Noughts + Crosses.
Corinne Bohrer As Melanie
Of all the women Joey dated, Melanie was perhaps the most nurturing. Though the two looked like they could be together for a lifetime, her soft demeanor made her more of a mother to Joey than a soulmate.
Given how motherly Corinne Bohrer seemed in Friends, it’s no wonder she went on to play the mother of the title character in Veronica Mars. Corinne went on to take a break from acting for almost a decade before playing Lydia Maker in Murder in the First. She also appeared in The Flash in 2018.