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Friends fans, this is who was originally supposed to play Joey Tribbiani

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After all these years, the Central Perk gang feel like our real-life Friends – and it’s always hard to reconcile the fact that, in real life, their names aren’t actually Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross, and Joey.

Matt LeBlanc, of course, played the latter – and the (now) silver-haired star has switched acting for television presenting on Top Gear. Yet, no matter how many years have passed, he’ll always be Joey ‘How You Doin?’ Tribbiani to us.

The Friends gang could've been very different

The Friends gang could've been very different

Which is why we were so surprised to learn that another famous actor was originally up for the role.


Read more: Friends fans, here are the 10 glaringly obvious mistakes you never noticed


Vince Vaughn – as in, yes, Jennifer Aniston’s co-star in The Break-Up – auditioned for the part back in 1994.

Speaking to The Huffington Post, casting director Ellie Janner explained that Vaughn was “handsome and tall” and a “good actor” – but, ultimately, just not right for the role.

And, to be honest, she was probably right: Vaughn went on to play Joey-esque womaniser Trent in the 1996 film Swingers, but his version was a whole lot more sinister than LeBlanc’s lovable and well-meaning buffoon.

Check it out:

Hmm.

We definitely prefer a light-hearted “How you doin’?” to the slightly more chilling “That’s so money”.


Read more: The 50 most iconic beauty and fashion moments from Friends


Eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed, of course, that Vaughn’s Swingers co-star is none other than Jon Favreau – who, it turns out, was originally supposed to play Chandler Bing.

Luckily for us, he turned the role down – and the world was introduced to Matthew Perry’s impeccable comic timing and biting sarcasm as a result.

Favreu did go on to star in Friends later on in the series, however: do you remember Pete Becker?

We’ll give you a hint: he was Monica’s boyfriend – and he wanted to be the ultimate fighting champion.

Oh, Pete. Poor, sweet, misguided Pete.


Read more: Watch Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow absolutely nail this Friends quiz


Of course, LeBlanc, Perry, and Aniston – along with David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, and Courteney Cox – went on to achieve worldwide fame as their Friends alter-egos, and can barely step outside their front doors without being recognised.

Even Cole Sprouse, who plays Ross and ex-wife Carol’s son, Ben, still finds himself being accosted by die-hard fans.

“I was only in seven episodes, but it's funny now that people are recognising me for that because my brother and I have been working since we were eight months old,” he said.

“Because Friends is on Netflix, there's a renewed interest from that. People can call me 'Ben' on the street and I will turn around.”

Ben Geller is all grown up

Ben Geller is all grown up

Elle MacPherson, who similarly starred in Friends for a short period of time, has also admitted that she is sick of being recognised as Janine (aka Joey’s dancer roommate and girlfriend).

“If I’d known how important it was in the US, or how long it would be on TV, I may not have chosen to do it,’ she told TV Week.

“It was a lot of pressure if you look at it in the way that it will be around for 20 or 30 years.”

MacPherson added: “Friends is still very popular where we live in America and re-runs are on constantly," she said.

“[My son and his friends] know me as Janine LaCroix and they are always like, 'Oh you know, Cy's [mom] she is on Friends.’

“They haven't figured out it was nearly 20 years ago, they still think I am on Friends.”

Images: Rex Pictures

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