The six stars reunited for Friends: The Reunion premiering May 27 on HBO Max

By Julie Jordan
May 20, 2021 09:00 AM
Advertisement

When Friends ended in 2004, it had become one of television's highest-rated series of all time.

But in 1994, when the show first aired, Jennifer AnistonCourteney CoxLisa KudrowMatt LeBlancMatthew Perry and David Schwimmer weren't yet aware that working together would be like "lighting in a bottle," Cox, 56, tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "It's so rare to have that kind of writing and that kind of chemistry between six people."

Having reunited for two days to film the unscripted special Friends: The Reunion, premiering May 27 on HBO Max, the cast sat down with PEOPLE on the set to reminisce about their time together.

"It's still, to me, one of the greatest jobs I've ever had," says Aniston, 52. "It goes so beyond the work and what the show was, which was, in and of itself, just a spectacular phenomenon, but the friendships and family that came out of it is just — you can't put words to that really. It's priceless."

Friends Reunion
Credit: Mark Seliger

For more of the exclusive interview with the Friends cast, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here

Adds Kudrow, 57: "And I know that I can text or call, and I feel like we can pick up right where we left off, and no time's passed. We're connected no matter what."

The reunion marked only the second time the cast has all gotten together again since the finale. "Over the years we've all struggled with different obstacles and challenges. And I think in those times it's been nice to be able to reach out and touch base and have a call," says Schwimmer, 54. "We've seen each other, like one or two people, or I know the girls get together often, but yeah, the whole cast hasn't been together in quite some time. So it's been really lovely."

friends reunion
Friends reunion
| Credit: Terrence Patrick/HBO Max

"I think everybody sort of has a relationship like that in their life," adds LeBlanc, 53. "You know that when you have a conversation with that person, it's really heartfelt, it's honest, it's open. You know that there's no ulterior motive. They're significant relationships."

friends
Friends cast
| Credit: NBCU/Getty

As for what advice they'd give themselves if they could back to before the first show aired, Aniston insists she "wouldn't change a thing," she says. "Nothing to warn or be aware of."

Listen to more of PEOPLE's cover story interview with the Friends cast below on our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

“It would be like, ‘This might get scary but don’t worry, you’ve got these five people,’” says Kudrow.

friends reunion
Friends reunion
| Credit: Terrence Patrick/HBO Max

"'That will always have your back,'" adds Aniston. "We'll be family for life."

Perry, 51, smiles: "'Do an eleventh season.'"

Friends: The Reunion premieres May 27 on HBO Max.