Fans of the hit TV show Friends will never forget the iconic “perfect kiss” between Joey Tribbiani and Phoebe Buffay in the episode “The One Where They All Turn Thirty.” However, it turns out that the stars behind these beloved characters, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow, had hoped for a larger romantic storyline for their on-screen personas. In a recent interview, LeBlanc opened up about how the characters’ relationships could have progressed further than what was shown on the screen.
The 55-year-old actor revealed that both he and Lisa Kudrow had conceived a potential storyline, but unfortunately, the show’s writers didn’t share the same enthusiasm. According to a 2019 report by Cosmopolitan, LeBlanc and Kudrow pitched an idea in which Joey and Phoebe would engage in a secret romantic relationship for years.
“We’d go back and shoot all the historical scenes. LeBlanc revealed in an interview with People that right before a well-known moment, Joey and Phoebe were seen emerging from a broom closet together.
Such a storyline would have undoubtedly delighted fans, given the enduring popularity of both characters throughout and beyond the show’s run. The “perfect kiss” scene, in particular, received immense praise from fans on social media platforms. One fan took to Twitter to express their love for Joey’s gesture, writing, One fan expressed their admiration for Joey, saying, “Joey kissed Phoebe so she could have her perfect kiss after finding out she lost a year for her birthday. UGH, I love JOEY.” Another user tweeted, “When Phoebe mentioned not having the perfect kiss yet, Joey went after her and kissed her!” along with multiple crying emojis.
Fans have long debated whether Joey and Phoebe should have been portrayed as just friends or as a romantic couple. One fan tweeted, “My ultimate dilemma will always be whether I ship Joey and Phoebe more as friends or as a couple because they’re perfect as both!” “Best characters in Friends?” another fan expressed their fondness for the characters. Mine are Joey and Phoebe. I ship them so much. They’re so funny, adorable, beautiful, and a little dumb.” Yet another fan shared their preference, saying, “I prefer Phoebe & Joey over every other couple on Friends, to be honest. They were meant for each other and could have had the most adorable family together.
Beyond their on-screen chemistry, LeBlanc and Kudrow also shared a close friendship off-camera. In a 2019 interview on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, as reported by Marie Claire, Kudrow revealed her struggles with body image issues during her time on the show. She mentioned feeling insecure about her appearance compared to her co-stars and shared how LeBlanc had been a tremendous source of support during those challenging times. When I saw myself on TV, I felt like a huge woman compared to Courteney and Jennifer. I felt big, like my bones were bigger. I felt like a mountain standing next to them.
She further discussed the pressures women face regarding body image, highlighting the societal emphasis on being underweight to be considered attractive. Kudrow noted that when she was too thin, she suffered from frequent illnesses, such as colds and sinus infections. However, despite these difficulties, she expressed gratitude for having someone like LeBlanc, whom she considered a supportive “big brother.” Kudrow revealed that she confided in LeBlanc after experiencing body-shaming from a guest star on the show.
In the realm of Friends, the “perfect kiss” scene between Joey and Phoebe remains etched in the hearts of fans worldwide. While the characters’ romantic storyline may not have extended as far as LeBlanc and Kudrow had hoped, their undeniable on-screen chemistry and their enduring off-screen friendship continue to be cherished by fans long after the show’s finale.