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"I wouldn't feel good": Like Robert Downey Jr., Jennifer Aniston Risked Her FRIENDS Role to Fight for Co-Stars That Led to Massive Pay-Cut
2023/08/23

Robert Downey Jr. played a pivotal role as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the MCU and was instrumental in its success. Considering his significant contribution to the franchise, the Marvel studios offered him a higher salary than many of his fellow actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Downey didn't view this arrangement as equitable and fair to his co-stars so he urged the studios to reconsider their salaries.

A parallel example of advocating for pay equity can be seen in Jennifer Aniston's stance during her time on the TV show Friends. Aniston stood alongside her fellow cast members and collectively negotiated with the series' makers to secure equal pay for the entire lead cast of the show.

Robert Downey Jr. championed pay equity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Robert Downey Jr. made his debut in the MCU as Tony Stark/Iron Man for the first Iron Man film in 2008. With his impeccable talent, the actor soon established his name in the MCU and became a linchpin of the franchise. Realizing Downey Jr.'s supremacy, the Marvel studios were convinced to pay him whatever amount he asked for, he earned a pretty well amount which was higher than his co-star's salary.

According to reports, Downey made $50 million for his role in Age of Ultron whereas the rest of the lead star cast just earned around $200,000. Looking at the significant disparity between his salary and his fellow actor's salary, the actor urged the studios to reconsider their salaries. According to the sources, Downey Jr. put his own job at risk and stood firm in support of his fellow actors. 

Later, the studio was convinced and considered Downey's request and paid the rest of the cast members competitive salaries. 

Jennifer Aniston led the charge for equal pay and unity among the 'Friends' cast

The iconic American sitcom Friends stands as a timeless series that has captured the hearts of audiences across generations.

The evergreen show owes much of its charm to the exceptional ensemble cast, featuring Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry.

All six of them were indeed a gem in the entire series. However, apparently, the cast was on the verge of falling due to the significant disparity in the salaries of the cast members. However, the solidarity among the cast members played a pivotal role in averting any potential fallout. During an interview, Aniston said, 

"It would've destroyed us, I think, if someone was soaring financially." 

Also Read: "Isn't that sweet?": Jennifer Aniston Was Hurt and Embarrassed After Brad Pitt Left Her and Got Cozy With Angelina Jolie in a Romantic Getaway

Previously, the actress revealed that she and Schwimmer earned comparatively more than the rest of the cast, as the characters played by them: Ross and Rachel became a main highlight of the series. Acknowledging the difference in the salary, the actress demanded equal pay for the entire star cast. The actress said, 

"[The negotiations were] more about, 'We're doing equal work and we all deserve to be compensated in the same way. I wouldn't feel good going to work knowing someone was getting 'x' amount and I was getting something greater."

Subsequently, both Aniston and Schwimmer opted to accept a reduction in their salaries, ensuring that they remained on equal footing with their fellow costars. Later all the six cast members came together to negotiate their contracts and by Seasons 9 and 10, they were earning a whopping $1 million per episode.

Source: TV Line

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