Did you ever feel like the friends from Friends were really your friends?
You’re not alone! Viewers spent so much time with the hit show — which, astonishingly, turns 25 this month — that by the time it was in its eighth season on NBC, a 2002 evolutionary-biology study found that our brains may not be able to distinguish between real-life companions and fictional ones.
To celebrate that long relationship with Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe, PEOPLE takes a loving look back at Friends in a new special edition, Friends at 25!, out now.
Inside, we revisit the 10 funniest moments (yes, “Pivot!” made our list), remember the best guest stars from Reese Witherspoon to Sarah, Duchess of York, and hear each cast member’s favorite episode. (If you still love “The One with the Prom Video” that’s David Schwimmer’s choice too.)
PEOPLE has covered Friends since its 1994 start. Included in this 96-page photo-filled issue is a flashback exclusive — a visit to the season 1 set and interviews with Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow just as they were becoming stars. “These women are definitely my sounding boards,” Cox said of Aniston and Kudrow back then. A quarter-century later, they are still close, turning up for weddings, babies, birthdays and girls’ nights out.
Also: The story behind that catchy theme song, “I’ll Be There For You,” performed by the Rembrandts. “That song — I’m not ashamed of it,” said Danny Wilde, one half of the duo. “It put us on the map.”
Finally, test your knowledge by taking the exact quiz that lost the girls’ their apartment to the guys. Game on!
With new generations of fans streaming the series on Netflix, the celebration around Friends’ milestone is massive. Four episodes of the show will play in 1,000 movie theaters starting Sept. 23. Immersive pop-up shops are opening around the world, including in the friends’ hometown of New York City from Sept. 8 to Oct. 9. Even the famous Central Perk couch gets its own tour!
So grab a cup of coffee from Central Perk and catch up!
PEOPLE’s special issue Friends at 25! is available now on Amazon and wherever magazines are sold.
- The 25 best episodes of Friends
- Friends co-creator reveals the Monica story NBC tried to cut
- The 12 moments from Friends we’re still not over
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