‘Friends’ Castmates Are Coming Up with a “Bittersweet” Plan to Mark 20-Year Anniversary Since the Show’s May 6, 2004 Finale While Also Honoring Late Co-Star Matthew Perry

“They will most certainly be commemorating it somehow.”

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The beloved NBC sitcom Friends turns 30 years old this September; the next month will mark one year since the unexpected and tragic death of one of the show’s six main cast members, Matthew Perry. (After a long battle with addiction, Perry died at his Pacific Palisades home on October 28 at just 54 years old; his cause of death was determined to be due to the acute effects of ketamine, while drowning, coronary artery disease, and effects from buprenorphine—a medication used to treat opioid use disorder—were also listed as contributing factors.)

Matthew Perry

Perry died last October at just 54 years old, a loss that gutted his "Friends" castmates. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As Us Weekly put it, “They were the rare cast from a smash hit sitcom who meant it when they said they were just as close off-screen as they were on.” Since Perry’s death, the already tight-knit cast—which also includes Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer—have gotten even closer, coming together and helping one another through their grief. According to a source speaking to Us Weekly, the five are currently figuring out how to appropriately mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Friends finale in 2004 (10 years after its premiere in 1994), where an astounding 52.5 million viewers tuned in for the show’s sendoff on May 6 of that year.

“The prospect of having a reunion or a formal get-together without Matthew is bittersweet,” they said. “There will be a huge void. [But] they know Matthew would’ve wanted them to carry on and celebrate the show. So that’s very much on their minds as they move forward.”

Cast of "Friends"

The cast of "Friends" were the rare group that were just as close off-screen as they were on.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

After his death, all five posted touching tributes on Instagram to their fallen co-star. Aniston—who the source said was hit hardest by Perry’s loss—wrote that he “was such a part of our DNA. We were always the 6 of us.” The source said of Aniston that “she was in pieces for months” following Perry’s death. “Even now it’s something she finds difficult to reconcile,” they said.

Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry

Aniston was hit particularly hard by Perry's loss.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Six months on from his death, the five check in with one another frequently. “They talk via group chats as well as one-on-ones,” they said. “Jen and Courteney are in constant contact and they’re both close with Lisa, too.” They said that the five are “all aware” of the anniversaries coming up, and have had “ongoing discussions” in particular about how to celebrate the finale’s milestone, which is coming up in just a couple of weeks.

“They will most certainly be commemorating it somehow,” they said, noting that the five will likely post about it on social media and get together privately. They added “For all their individual successes after Friends, nothing else comes even close to that experience. They continue to look back on it with a huge amount of love, and of course they’ll be giving Matthew credit for everything he contributed.” 

Cast of "Friends"

The show premiered in September 1994 and left the air 10 years later in May 2004.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Friends cast

The show broke records throughout its entire 10-year run, but the finale was groundbreaking, with 52.5 million viewers tuning in.

(Image credit: Getty Images/Reisig & Taylor/NBC)

In 2013, Perry turned his Malibu home into a sober living facility for men. In a 2022 interview that resurfaced after his death, Perry said he’d ultimately like to be remembered for “the things I did to try and help other people.” To that end, the Matthew Perry Foundation was launched one month after Perry’s death last November, created with the mission of furthering his commitment to helping others struggling with addiction. His castmates “are committed to upholding Matthew’s values and spreading his message,” they said. “So while they miss him terribly, they take comfort in knowing they got to share so much of their lives with such a special human being.”

As loss tends to do, Perry’s death has brought them even closer together: “Matthew’s death reminded them how precious life is and the importance of catching up with each other more frequently,” they said. “It underlined the unbreakable bond they share and the need to look out for each other.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.