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"I saw it as a gilded prison": 'Emily' Actor Hated Friends Fame after Show Turned Her into Jennifer Aniston's Speed Bump for Rachel-Ross Romance - FandomWire
2024/04/11

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The on-screen relationship between Friends actors David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston, portraying Ross Geller and Rachel Green, is considered one of the most iconic in television history. Throughout the series, their tumultuous on-and-off romance captivated viewers, with other actors playing as rebound love interests for these characters.

One such actress was Helen Baxendale, who was cast as Emily Waltham in the show's fourth and fifth seasons. She played Ross Geller's girlfriend, wife, and ultimately ex-wife. However, Baxendale revealed that she despised her role and the fame that came with it.

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She expressed her dislike for how the show turned her into a mere obstacle in Ross and Rachel's relationship. Speaking to The Daily Mail, Baxendale shared that her privacy was invaded due to her role in Friends.

She said, "You couldn't walk down the street to buy a pint of milk. In fact, you couldn't go anywhere. It was impossible to mix with the crowd and do what ordinary people do. I saw it as a gilded prison. It was something I wasn't prepared for." Despite the challenges, Baxendale acknowledges the opportunities that being part of Friends brought her. However, she admitted that she never quite felt like she fit in with her co-stars, who were constantly in the media spotlight.

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During an interview with Independent UK in 2022, she reflected on her experience, stating, "I saw those people in Friends, for example, and thought: I don't think that life is really what I want. They were hounded. They weren't able to walk into a supermarket and buy something." Nonetheless, Baxendale remains proud of her involvement in the show and recognizes its impact on her career. In a 2012 interview with The Mirror, she expressed her pride, saying, "I am very proud and delighted to have been in such an amazingly successful and international show.

It's always a talking point, and it was a very clever set up – even now, young people, especially, seem to love it.

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But it doesn't feel like part of my life at all now. I look upon it as a strange surreal little blip in my life, almost like a dream." After appearing in fourteen episodes, Baxendale left Friends due to her pregnancy. She went on to make appearances in various TV shows and movies in the 2000s and 2010s, further establishing herself in the industry.

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