HBO Max's 'Friends' Reunion Special: What We Know

"Where's the tissue box?" —Jennifer Aniston and us.

friends reunion 2021
(Image credit: NBC)

Finally. Finally! After months of increasingly fervent speculation (and that was just from me) and teasers, HBO Max and the stars of Friends confirmed that, yes, a reunion special is happening. And furthermore, on May 19, the streamer dropped a trailer of the reunion that is sure to bring all the tears, smiles, and goosebumps.

In the two-minute clip, fans can see the original cast returning to the show's original soundstage in Burbank, California. "Where's the tissue box?" Jennifer Aniston says while walking around the iconic purple apartment/set.

The trailer also shows glimpses of the cast playing show trivia (yes, the same game from "The One With the Embryos"), doing a table read (Lisa Kudrow has definitely still got Phoebe's edge), and generalizing laughing and reminiscing together about the good times.

The special is jam-packed with recurring guest stars like Reese Witherspoon (Jill, Rachel's sister), Tom Selleck (Richard, Monica's longtime boyfriend), Maggie Wheeler (Janice, Chandler's on-again-off-again girlfriend) as well as superfans like David Beckham, Justin Bieber, Malala Yousafzai, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, and Mindy Kaling. It's hosted by James Corden.

friends reunion

(Image credit: HBO)

The Friends reunion special streams on May 27. Fittingly, that's a Thursday—the day original series ran on NBC.

Courteney Cox first chatted with comedian Kevin Nealon on his Hiking with Kevin Youtube series for E News! about the reunion. Let's just say she's just as excited as we are. "So the exciting thing is that we're all going to get together for the first time, in a room, and actually talk about the show, and it's going to be on HBO Max, and I'm so excited," Cox said at the time.

"But we really haven't all done that and actually sat there and talked about and reminisced about this incredible experience that we had. It's gonna be fantastic," she added.

The last time the cast was all together was at Cox's home for dinner in October, she says, which to her is the perfect kind of reunion.

"I don’t know how many years it was, maybe 15 years—and we finally all got together and had dinner," said Cox on the dinner. "And when we get together, which is never … it just doesn’t happen very often, like twice since we ended the show—it’s just the most fun. We laugh so hard."

Jennifer Aniston posted a photo of the six stars on Twitter on an otherwise unremarkable Friday in mid-February, writing "It's happening..." and tagging HBO Max. Cox and the rest of their costars shared the same post at the same moment.

And then everyone just went nuts.

According to Variety, which broke the news, each star will get about $2.5 million for the special. The show's executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane will return to work on the project, and each of the six main cast members will executive produce as well. The reason it'll debut in May is because that'll when HBO Max will kick off, and the streaming service aiming to incentivize new subscribers with news of a Friends reunion.

Friends left Netflix at the end of 2019, and is now available on HBO Max.

In a statement, HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly further teased the special: "Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together — we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire ‘Friends’ library." He added: "It taps into an era when friends – and audiences – gathered together in real-time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans.”


friends cast

(Image credit: Reisig & Taylor/NBC)
Jenny Hollander
Digital Director

Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. A graduate of Leeds University, and a native of London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was the first intern at Bustle when it launched in 2013, and spent five years building out its news and politics department. In 2018 she joined Marie Claire, where she held the roles of Deputy Digital Editor and Director of Content Strategy before becoming Digital Director. Working closely with Marie Claire's exceptional editorial, audience, commercial, and e-commerce teams, Jenny oversees the brand's digital arm, with an emphasis on driving readership. When she isn't editing or knee-deep in Google Analytics, you can find Jenny writing about television, celebrities, her lifelong hate of umbrellas, or (most likely) her dog, Captain. In her spare time, she also writes fiction: her first novel, the thriller EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, was published with Minotaur Books (UK) and Little, Brown (US) in February 2024 and became a USA Today bestseller. She has also written extensively about developmental coordination disorder, or dyspraxia, which she was diagnosed with when she was nine. She is currently working on her second novel.