Who doesn’t wish they were a part of the Friends cast? Let’s be honest: Most of us would give our left leg to to be able to hang out the Friends gang at the Central Perk for real. But for David Schwimmer, who played Ross Geller, there were some definite downsides to being in the living room of mass America for a good ten year period, when Friends was at its peak popularity.
As Schwimmer tells the Hollywood Reporter, for him, the instant fame and celebrity was “pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people in a way that took years, I think, for me to adjust to and become comfortable with.” Schwimmer and the rest of the now-famous Friends cast were virtually unknown at the time the show premiered in 1994, but the show’s immediate popularity sent them all into entertainment stardom.
While we can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to be any sort of big celebrity, Schwimmer raises a really interesting point when it comes to the distinction between being a celebrity on TV and a celebrity in the movies. As he puts it,
“There’s less of a barrier than there is with, say, a big movie star — you see them in this other kind of a space with a lot of other people on a big screen and you see that their role changes in every movie, for the most part. They’re very different people in very different situations, whereas in our show I’m the same guy for 10 years, you can rely on me to be a certain way and you know me — or you think you know me.”
It’s not hard to imagine how this could feel a little overwhelming, especially when the success basically happened over night.
Though Schwimmer initially struggled with fame and TV, he has returned to screens around America for a starring role in The People v. O.J. Simpson, where he plays the role of Robert Kardashian. This role has given him his second Emmy nomination, the first coming from, of course, his role on Friends.