'Friends' Replaced Jennifer Aniston for an Episode, and Nobody Noticed—for Over a Decade

'Friends' Replaced Jennifer Aniston for an Episode, and Nobody Noticed—for Over a Decade
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | (L) Handout; (R) Photo by Vince Bucci

It's impossible to imagine anyone else as Rachel other than Jennifer Aniston in the iconic show Friends. Perhaps for this reason, Aniston's replacement went unnoticed for over a decade. The makers of Friends replaced Aniston with a 'mystery woman' for one episode, and this was only noticed by a hawk-eyed fan much later. Although it's shocking for the sitcom's fans to believe Rachel Green was swapped, it triggered everyone's curiosity to know who she was and which episode she appeared in. Also, how did it go unnoticed for so many years? 

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The show stars Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, and Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing. Friends' fanbase has grown tremendously, leading to many people re-watching the episodes. It was during season nine, episode 15 of the beloved sitcom, titled The One With The Mugging, where Aniston was replaced. But, one ardent observer who was binge-watching the show found a glimpse of the replacement.

Image Source: Getty Images | 	Getty Images
Image Source: Getty Images | Handout

A superfan named Jordan D'Amico went through the 236 episodes and discovered Rachel in the shot, who was not played by Aniston but a random person thought to be her understudy, who wasn't even wearing the same clothing, per Mirror. The fan wrote about his discovery on RecentlyHeard.com. He said in the outlet, "Only a few minutes into the episode, an enthusiastic Rachel rushes into Monica's apartment to tell Joey that he got an audition with the famous and fictional actor, Leonard Hayes, played by Jeff Goldblum. The three friends admit to admiring the actor for his cell phone commercials in which he starred opposite a monkey. Monica zealously posits that perhaps the monkey will be at the audition. Joey reacts by saying, 'Don't make me more nervous than I already am!' and goes to sit back down. It's at this point that… BAM!"


Surprisingly, this is not the only time Rachel has been swapped. In season 9, episode 4, The One With the Sharks, Aniston was replaced mid-scene. Twelve minutes and 20 seconds into the episode, Rachel and Monica are seen sitting at the table in Monica's apartment when Joey enters. Just after the camera shifts to Monica, a different Rachel can be spotted sitting next to her on the bottom left side of the screen. It happened twice, yet the blunder went unnoticed by fans. The woman donned a dark blue top and had straight hair. Her presence was brief, but it was enough to notice that it was not Rachel or Aniston.  

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Fans are highly attached to the show and often share their favorite dialogues and scenes on social media. In fact, across platforms, Friends has its own dedicated accounts and communities. The American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman aired on NBC from September 22, 1994, to May 6, 2004, lasting ten seasons.

Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 26, 2023. It has since been updated.

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