When Friends was on the air, the sitcom's cast members were some of the most famous people in the world. That kind of fame profoundly changes a person, and some of that still lingers. Even though they all have huge careers of their own (and Jennifer Aniston can't go five minutes without being "pregnant" on a tabloid cover), they are constantly still asked about Friends. And it turns out that can bring up some harsh memories.
David Schwimmer, who played Ross, opened up to The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast to promote his role in The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. He is nominated for an Emmy for playing Robert Kardashian, his first nomination since Friends 21 years ago. But of course, the conversation moved on to the sitcom that made him famous.
He was 27 when he first started on Friends, and he said the transition from unknown to household name was a lot to deal with. "It was pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people in a way that took years, I think, for me to adjust to and become comfortable with," he said. "As an actor, the way I was trained, my job was to observe life and to observe other people, so I used to walk around with my head up, really engaged and watching people. The effect of celebrity was the absolute opposite: It made me want to hide under a baseball cap and not be seen. And I realized after a while that I was no longer watching people; I was trying to hide."
He also said that he was terrified of being typecast as Ross forever, so even while the show was going on, he dabbled in directing and had a few roles in projects like Band of Brothers. "There's less of a barrier than there is with, say, a big movie star—you see them in this other kind of a space with a lot of other people on a big screen and you see that their role changes in every movie, for the most part," he said. "They're very different people in very different situations, whereas in our show I'm the same guy for 10 years, you can rely on me to be a certain way and you know me—or you think you know me."
Follow Marie Claire on Facebook for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.