Let’s just say that when Julia Roberts and Matthew Perry flirted on Friends, they were wooing each other in more ways than one. According to the show’s creators, Perry’s charm was what convinced Roberts to guest star on the series—and accept a few dates!
Perry—who played Chandler Bing on Friends—famously dated Roberts between 1995 and 1996. While they kept their off-screen relationship pretty private, fans are now getting a hint about how their romance started in the first place. Apparently, it all began with an episode titled “The One After the Super Bowl,” where Roberts guest stars as Chandler’s former flame, Susie Moss. At least that’s according to a handful of Friends creators and writers who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday, January 28, where they dished about Perry and Robert’s onscreen romance in honor of the episode’s 25th anniversary (and just in time for this year’s Super Bowl!)
“Matthew asked her to be on the show, [and] she wrote back to him, ‘Write me a paper on quantum physics and I’ll do it,’” said Friends executive producer, Kevin Bright. “My understanding is that Matthew went away and wrote a paper and faxed it to her the next day.”
Alexa Junge, a writer on the episode, added that there “was a lot of flirting over faxing” between the two. “They may have met before the episode, but she was interested in him from afar because he’s so charming,” Junge said. “There was a lot of flirting over faxing. She was giving him these questionnaires like, ‘Why should I go out with you?’ And everyone in the writers’ room helped him explain to her why.” Junge went on to reveal, “He could do pretty well without us, but there was no question we were on Team Matthew and trying to make it happen for him.”
Another co-writer, Jeff Astrof, couldn’t believe Perry’s luck. “I remember standing with her on the sidelines. She kept saying, ‘Chandler’s so funny!’ And I’m like, ‘I wrote every one of those lines!’ I don’t know if she fell in love with Matthew on the spot but they soon started dating,” Astrof told THR, joking that he only had his “horrible girlfriend” to go home to.
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