Certain relationships can stay in your heart long after you’ve said goodbye… even if you weren’t a member of the couple to begin with. That’s certainly how I feel about the iconic couples of Friends, whose love lives, to this day, I still ponder over. Are Ross and Rachel still together all these years after Friends stopped airing? What about Monica and Chandler? Yes, I know these characters don’t exist in real life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t care about their futures. Luckily, I have the chance to explore the potential futures of these couples when speaking with two sources close to them, Janice and Gunther — or rather, the actors who played Janice and Gunther, Maggie Wheeler and James Michael Tyler, respectively. Their thoughts on where the Friends friends are at now will give you all the feels.
In Season 6 Episode 2, Phoebe gave her take on what she envisioned would happen to herself and her friends in the years to come: Monica and Chandler (who had just agreed to live together) would get married and become “filthy rich,” but their union wouldn’t last. Phoebe would then marry Chandler (“for the money”), while Joey would get with Rachel and have beautiful children. Then, Phoebe and Joey would ditch Chandler and Rachel to get married, keeping Chandler’s money and Rachel’s kids for themselves. Oh, and Phoebe would kill Ross.
Phew. While I can’t say I haven’t thought about Phoebe and Joey getting together (I mean, their friendship is so cute!), all the other aspects of Phoebe’s prediction are pretty bleak. Luckily, Tyler and Wheeler have much better ideas of what plays out for the two main couples on the show.
At the Friends 25th anniversary pop-up in New York, Tyler sits in one of Joey and Chandler’s famous armchairs while I ask him whether he thinks Ross and Rachel worked through their differences in the years since the show went off-air. “Yeah, I think they did, “ he says. Despite his character Gunther’s seemingly undying love for Rachel, he thinks Rachel and Ross have only strengthened their bond since Rachel got off the plane to Paris. “Obviously, I think that they matured. They’ve been through so many on-again, off-again moments and, you know, the “on a break” thing, and, you know, children will change everything. I really do think that they’ve bonded.”
When I ask Wheeler — whose character Janice once told her ex-boyfriend Chandler to let her know when things went “in the pooper” with him and Monica — if she thought Friends’ other major couple, Chandler and Monica, are still together to this day, she also had a positive outlook. “Well, much to Janice’s regret, I think they are,” she admits.
As for Janice and Gunther? According to the people who played them, their futures look pretty bright, as well. “I like to say I think she has a clothing line,” Wheeler says about her character’s future endeavors. “It’s leopard and cheetah, [with] matching handbags, matching shoes. It’s doing very well online” But Janice isn’t just capitalizing on her blinged-out, fashionable side; she’s also doling out her sage wisdom about love to those in need. “She’s giving relationship advice, and she has a podcast, you know, called ... I don’t know what it’s called. Maybe, Broken Hearts... Recover From A Broken Heart.”
Gunther is also living his best life, according to Tyler. “I think Gunther hopefully [is] over Rachel by now, because otherwise that’s kind of unhealthy, right?” he says. “I obviously think the final episode where Gunther professes his love and Rachel also says she loves him, I think she does. I don’t know [that it’s in the] romantic sense, but I think Gunther accepted that and moved on.”
Good for you, Gunther! But now that the bleach-blond barista is no longer buying up all of Rachel’s stuff and daydreaming about her while she drinks coffee with her friends, what is Gunther doing with all his free time? “Hopefully, he has a decent apartment somewhere in Greenwich Village and owns Central Perk.” If that’s not goals, I don’t know what is.
Both Tyler and Wheeler’s visions for how the Friends characters are faring in the present day will come as a relief to all the Rachel-Ross and Monica-Chandler shippers out there. But regardless, if you’re a believer in Phoebe’s lobster metaphor, then you already know her Season 6 prediction of the group’s fate wouldn’t hold up against the love between those two couples. As Joey would say, it’s a moo point.