During the final season of Friends, Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) chose pianist Mike (Paul Rudd) over scientist David (Hank Azaria)

By Eric Todisco
December 10, 2019 01:56 PM
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The romantic conclusion for Phoebe Buffay in Friends‘ final season could’ve gone much differently.

While the beloved free-spirit, played by Lisa Kudrow, ultimately married Paul Rudd‘s Mike Hannigan, the sitcom’s co-creator, David Crane, recently revealed that Phoebe nearly ended up with her ex-lover, David (Hank Azaria), instead.

“There was definitely a possibility of that,” Crane, 62, told RadioTimes on Monday. “I mean, we didn’t definitively know [who she’d end up with].”

“They’re both amazing actors. I mean, both Paul and Hank are fantastic, and fantastic with her. We sort of went back and forth,” he added.

David, also called “the Scientist Guy,” falls in love with Phoebe early on in the series, but the two split shortly after when he receives an academic grant for a three-year research trip to Minsk, Russia. Years later, he returns and hopes to win Phoebe back.

Credit: Danny Feld/NBCU Photo Bank

During the final season’s two-part episode, “The One in Barbados,” David proposes to Phoebe, but she turns him down in favor of Mike. Phoebe and Mike go on to marry in “The One with Phoebe’s Wedding.”

“I don’t even remember all the pieces that led to where we landed, but yeah, it could have gone the other way,” Crane said. “Phoebe would have been great with either one.”

Kudrow, who won an Emmy Award in 1998 for the role, admitted on Kevin Nealon‘s YouTube series, Hiking with Kevin, in September that she “struggled” in her early years while playing Phoebe.

“I had played dumb girls [before] but it wasn’t really me,” Kudrow explained of her role. “I feel like, ‘sh-t, I tricked them in the audition.’ I was the only one who could cope with the audition process and that’s how I got it, I think. So I had to work hard at being Phoebe.”

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Kudrow, 56, was “struggling” at nailing the offbeat Phoebe even after three seasons on the show. However, that all changed thanks to advice from costar Matt LeBlanc.

“I remember Matt LeBlanc going, ‘What’s going on with you?’” she recalled. “And I said, ‘I don’t think I have it. I don’t know what I’m doing.’ And he went, ‘You’re her, relax, you got it. You’ve been doing this f-cking character for three years. You’re working too hard, that’s your problem. You don’t need to work this hard, relax.’ He was right.”

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When Nealon asked Kudrow if she noticed a changed in her acting from season 1 to season 5, she surprised the comedian with her response: “I haven’t seen the show,” Kudrow admitted.

“You’ve never watched it?” he asked. “You’ll wanna watch it.”

“I should, I hear it’s good,” she joked.