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“I felt awful”: Paul Rudd Thought He'd Be Fired From Friends After Hurting His Ex Jennifer Aniston
2023/10/09

Paul Rudd, one of the most popular leading men in Hollywood, entertained us earlier this year with his acclaimed performance in With roles in hilarious comedies like and as well as dramatic roles in films like and the actor-comedian has established himself as one of the industry’s most versatile actors over the years.

But one of his most notable performances was when he was chosen to play Mike Hannigan, Phoebe Buffay’s (Lisa Kudrow) love interest, on the popular television program . Even though he initially seemed like the perfect cast member, Rudd worried early on about being fired and claimed he made a terrible mistake on the set.

Note that Rudd and Aniston already co-starred earlier in the 1998 film The Object of My Affection, and they allegedly started dating the following year. 

Why Was Paul Rudd Afraid He Would Lose His Role in Friends?

Although Paul Rudd and have a long history of friendship, the former previously disclosed that he experienced some tension on the set shortly after being cast as Mike Hannigan. He acknowledged in a 2019 interview with that he accidentally hurt the actress on one of his first days on set while she was already dealing with a broken toe (per

):

“I was on set for my first episode and Jennifer was on a Segway because she had broken her toe, and everyone was marveling at it.”

Paul, who in 2021 was named the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine, added:

“Matt LeBlanc asked to have a go and immediately knew how to do it. I then asked to try it too.”

Rudd, however, remembered that things for him quickly turned bad (via ): 

“I spun ’round and rolled it right over Jennifer’s foot! The producers’ look of panic was as if to say, ‘Is it too late to fire him? Has his character been established yet?’ I felt awful.

Such an inauspicious start.”

Naturally, the actor, 54, was not fired, and over the course of the show’s subsequent seasons, he became a fan favorite. Despite having a rocky start on the show, he acknowledged that it was

“An incredible thing to be part of.”

Paul Rudd And Jennifer Aniston Remain Close Friends?

There were no persistent resentments between and Jennifer Aniston, despite the report that the former hurt his co-star on the set. The two have a long history together and have collaborated frequently in the past, even before

.

They both starred in the 1998 romantic comedy, in which Aniston’s character was single, pregnant, and in love with Rudd’s portrayal of her gay best friend. After the film, they allegedly had a brief relationship, but they remained close friends. The two worked together again in 2012 film , in which they played a married couple, after their time on .

When asked if they still felt awkward kissing after all these years, Aniston and Rudd did not seem to mind getting intimate on camera. The actress, 54, informed

:

“Nah. I’ve kissed him for years.”

Agreeing with what Aniston said, Rudd added:

“We’ve made out for decades.”

The actress continued to be Rudd’s biggest advocate, as she was quick to offer her congratulations when the latter was named the People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2021. On her Instagram Story (via ), Aniston praised her former co-star, saying:

“This makes me so happy. We’ve ALWAYS known this, but Paul Rudd is officially [People’s] Sexiest Man Alive! You don’t age, which is weird. But we still love you.”

On the work front, the actor will next appear in the Destin Daniel Cretton-directed (2026) film.  Meanwhile, Aniston’s recent film appearance was as Audrey Spitz in the sequel to (2019), which also starred Adam Sandler.

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