It’s hard to believe, but one of Friends’ most iconic couples almost didn’t happen. Following HBO Max’s highly-anticipated The One Where They Got Back Together reunion, the creators of the show shared a major Friends bombshell about Monica and Chandler’s relationship — and, it turns out, the pair was just meant to be a fling. However, the audience reaction to the couple’s London hookup changed everything.
Friends fans might remember that Chandler and Monica first slept together in London during Ross' wedding to Emily. While the show’s co-creator Marta Kauffman says they’d always planned for the pair to get together, it wasn’t originally meant to be a long term thing. Chandler and Monica, who’d previously been dating other people, seemed like an unlikely couple until the showrunners saw the audience’s overwhelmingly positive reaction to the unexpected hookup.
Kauffman said the original plan was that “they would sleep together in London. It was a brief thing, and we'd have some fun with it afterwards.”
However, after the live audience applauded for two minutes, per Entertainment Weekly, they decided to switch gears. “We kind of went, ‘Huh, this is such an unexpected duo, let’s play with it for a little while.’”
Since that episode marked the end of Season 4, the show’s creators were able to “ruminate and think” on where their relationship would go in between seasons, including having the pair hide their relationship from the rest of their friends. As their friends found out, starting with Joey and then Rachel, and fans’ positive reactions only continued to grow, their romantic storyline was put front-and-center when they became official in Season 5, Episode 14, aka “The One Where Everybody Finds Out.”
In that memorable episode, Phoebe (played by Lisa Kudrow) spots the pair together and decides to fake flirt with Chandler until it culminates in an awkward kiss — and a profession of love to Monica.
Director Michael Lembeck told EW, “I remember the incredible charge that went through the audience when he said, ‘I’m in love with Monica.’ It was electric.”
The rest, they say, is history, and Monica and Chandler would go on to get married in the 23rd episode of Season 7. Luckily for Monica and Chandler stans, the showrunners decided to listen to the show’s fans and tweak their original storyline, because Friends just wouldn’t have been the same if the two lovebirds didn’t end up together.