Friends: How Much Were The Cast Paid For The First & Last Episode

Friends will go down in history as one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. Thanks to its wildly talented and hilarious cast, the series aired new episodes for a decade and continues to air reruns on various television networks and streaming services around the globe. The series reportedly earns Warner Bros. 1 billion dollars a year.

RELATED: 10 Classic Friends Episodes Every Fan Has Seen

Thanks to the immense success of the series, the members of the main cast went on to become some of the highest-paid actors in television history. This group also went on to forever change how actors negotiate their contracts. Using Insider as a source, fans can find out exactly how much the main cast was paid for each season.

Updated October 29th by Rose Graceling-Moore: The Friends cast continues to fascinate, with the recent reunion special revealing that Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer's on-screen chemistry came from a real life crush (among other amazing things, of course!). Given how successful the show remains even after so many years off the air, it's no wonder that the cast were paid so much by the end of it all - and how it has so impressively impacted the net worth of the cast.

8 Cole Sprouse: First Episode - $20,000 / Last Episode - $20,000

Cole Sprouse was not the first actor to portray Ross and Carol’s son, Ben, but he was certainly the most memorable. Sprouse starred as Ben Geller from season six to season eight of the series and was very young when he began working on the series, yet he reportedly was paid $20,000 per episode.

Though Sprouse only appeared in seven episodes, he is generally who people think of when they think of Ben and he will always remain an important part of the Friends legacy. Of course, this is far from his only iconic role, now, as he is one of the stars of Riverdale, where he reportedly earns $40,000 per episode!

7 James Michael Tyler: First Episode - $5,000 / Last Episode - $40,000

While James Michael Tyler has played many different roles throughout the years, he will always be most known for his portrayal as Gunther, fan-favorite side character and manager of Central Perk. Tyler appeared in every season of the series and was in 185 episodes in total. But how much was Gunther paid?

RELATED: 10 Best Gunther Memes For Friends Fans

In the first season of the show, he earned $5,000 per episode he appeared in. Throughout the seasons, that amount steadily increased until he earned $40,000 per episode, for his comedic stylings, and James Michael Tyler reportedly has a net worth of $4 million before his tragic passing in 2021.

6 David Schwimmer: First Episode - $22,500 / Last Episode - $1 Million

When Friends first aired in 1999, David Schwimmer made $22,500 per episode of season one. By the end of season one, it became clear to the executives of the show that Schwimmer’s on-screen relationship with Aniston was a big reason why the show was so successful.

Luckily for the rest of the cast, Schwimmer felt the group should all be paid equally for their work and he fought for everyone to be paid the same amount, which turned into $1 million dollars per episode by the final season. Schwimmer is more often found directing than acting these days, and has a net worth of $100 million.

5 Lisa Kudrow: First Episode - $22,500 / Last Episode - $1 Million

Like the rest of the cast, Lisa Kudrow made $22,500 per episode for the entirety of season one for her work as Phoebe Buffay. As the seasons went by, fans were happy to learn more and more about the enigmatic character.

RELATED: 10 Times Phoebe Said Everything Friends Fans Were Thinking

Her original songs “Smelly Cat” and “Two Of Them Kissed Last Night” are classics and her big heart helped make her one of the most lovable characters on the show. Kudrow created a one-of-a-kind character and was undeniably deserving of the $1 million dollars per episode she was paid in seasons 9 and 10. Since then, she has gone on to appear in many smaller roles, as well as the reunion (of course), and Lisa Kudrow has a net worth of $90 million.

4 Courtney Cox: First Episode - $22,500 / Last Episode - $1 Million

Courtney Cox nailed her role as the responsible, ambitious, and caring Monica Geller. If it weren’t for Monica’s connection to Ross and Rachel, the friends probably would have never formed the strong connection that they did. Throughout the series, Monica takes care of everyone in the group, while still managing to get into her own widely entertaining messes.

She was paid the same amount as all of her co-stars and continues to collect $20 million a year in royalties, like the rest of the main group, and now Courtney Cox has a net worth of $150 million.

3 Matthew Perry: First Episode - $22,500 / Last Episode - $1 Million

It’s safe to say Friends probably would not have reached the heights it did if not for Matthew Perry’s gift of delivering one-liners. For 10 seasons, Chandler was the group’s resident comedian — or at least he tried to be. He also was one-half of one of the most memorable bromances on television and his relationship with Joey was also a central part of his character.

RELATED: Are The Friends Cast Really Friends? Monica And Rachel's Real-Life Relationship, In Pictures

Like the rest of the cast, Perry made $22,500 for the first episode of the show and $1 million for his work in the final episode, and in 2021, Matthew Perry's net worth stands at $120 million.

2 Matt LeBlanc: First Episode - $22,500 / Last Episode - $1 Million

Matt LeBlanc’s portrayal of Joey Tribbiani was so successful that he even got his own spinoff show when Friends ended in 2004. LeBlanc was able to balance out Joey’s role as the flirting womanizer and struggling actor of the group by also playing up his kindness and loyalty.

His salary followed the same trajectory as his co-stars. Following the $22,500 per episode deal he had for season one, he made $40,000/episode in season 2, $75,000/episode in season 3, $85,000/episode in season 4, $100,000/episode in season 5, $125,000/episode in season 6, $750,000/episode for seasons 7 and 8, and finally $1 million/episode for seasons 9 and 10. Now, Matt LeBlanc's net worth stands at $80 million.

1 Jennifer Aniston: First Episode - $22,500 / Last Episode - $1 Million

Though Jennifer Aniston has gone on to play many other high-profile roles since working on Friends and has become a huge star in her own right, her role as Rachel Green will forever remain her most iconic. From her style and her fascinating love life to her willingness to go after what she wants, Rachel is a character that many women aspire to be like.

When season one ended, Aniston was supposed to receive a huge bump in pay, along with her co-star David Schwimmer, however, Aniston agreed to take a pay cut so that all the main cast would receive equal pay. Now, Jennifer Aniston's net work is a whopping $300 million.

NEXT: Every Season Of Friends, Ranked According To IMDb



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