'Friends' Creators Reveal How Matthew Perry Persuaded Julia Roberts to Guest Star on the Show

Matthew Perry and Julia Roberts briefly dated after filming an episode of Friends together

Photo: Liaison/Getty

Ahead of next week's Super Bowl, former Friends staffers are reminiscing on an iconic episode: "The One After the Superbowl."

The episode, which aired in two parts following the NFL game in 1996, featured a handful of guest stars in addition to the usual cast — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer.

Among the guest stars was Julia Roberts, whom Perry convinced to come on the popular sitcom after some "flirting" via fax, the episode's writers and creators recently told The Hollywood Reporter.

"Getting Julia Roberts was incredibly exciting," said Marta Kauffman, the Friends co-creator. "We knew she would have the right touch for it. And when she said yes, it was pretty awesome."

Friends cast. JON RAGEL/NBC

"Do you know the story of how we got her? Matthew asked her to be on the show. She wrote back to him, 'Write me a paper on quantum physics and I'll do it.' My understanding is that Matthew went away and wrote a paper and faxed it to her the next day," co-creator Kevin Bright added.

Staff writer Alexa Junge shared that the writer's room became invested in the flirtationship building between Roberts and Perry.

"They may have met before the episode, but she was interested in him from afar because he's so charming," she said. "There was a lot of flirting over faxing. She was giving him these questionnaires like, 'Why should I go out with you?' And everyone in the writers room helped him explain to her why."

"He could do pretty well without us, but there was no question we were on Team Matthew and trying to make it happen for him," she continued.

Matthew Perry Friends
Matthew Perry. Reisig & Taylor/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

In the episode, Roberts played Susie Moss, a former friend of Perry's Chandler Bing who fakes a hook-up with him to get revenge for a childhood prank. After they filmed, the pair continued their romance off-screen and were seen on a number of dates in 1996.

"I remember standing with her on the sidelines. She kept saying, 'Chandler's so funny!' And I'm like, 'I wrote every one of those lines!' I don't know if she fell in love with Matthew on the spot but they soon started dating," Jeff Astrof, who co-wrote part one of the Superbowl episode, told THR.

"I felt like Cyrano [de Bergerac]," he added. "Like, 'Chandler is going to date Julia Roberts and I'm going to go home to my horrible girlfriend.' That's my memory of that episode."

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