Tate Donovan Says He Was “Dying Inside” Working On ‘Friends’ With Ex Jennifer Aniston

(Adam Christopher/NBCUniversal via AP)

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When it comes to Jennifer Aniston’s famous exes appearing on Friends, many fans bring to mind that hilarious Thanksgiving episode starring Brad Pitt, but before her marriage to Pitt and his cameo, she worked with another ex on the show.

Back in the show’s fourth season, Tate Donovan appeared in a six-episode arc as Joshua, a customer that Aniston’s Rachel Green falls for, only as it turns out playing a couple just beginning to date was harder than it looked because in real life Donovan and Aniston were breaking up.

“I was just happy to be on the team. The only bummer was Jennifer and I were breaking up at the time,” Donovan told Us Weekly. “And so that was tricky to sort of act, and act like we are just meeting each other, and falling in love, or whatever, interested in each other, when we’re sort of breaking up. That was just tough.”

He added that his stint on the show may have been longer if weren’t so difficult for the pair.

“It was just six episodes. I mean, only because we were breaking up. We were like, ‘Hey, can we not keep doing this? ‘Cause this is really painful and tough,’” he recalls of his and Aniston’s feelings about working together at the time. “The people that know that we dated think that we met on Friends. But in fact we had dated for two years before then, and it was over by the time we were on Friends together.”

While guest star Kathleen Turner recently spoke out saying she “didn’t feel welcomed” by the Friends cast because of how close they were, Donovan said that wasn’t the case at all for him.

“Those six people were amazing to me. They were fantastic. It wasn’t cliquey for me at all. I was lucky,” he adds. “The good thing that came out of it was that everyone was really cool about it, and really as helpful as they could be. In other words, they were just compassionate, very compassionate about the whole breakup. It was sort of like I proved that, hey, I guess I’m a pro. If you can go through a tough breakup, and still do your job, then you’re a pro. It was good. It was really ultimately a great experience of how people can treat you really well, and you still do your job even though you’re sort of dying inside.”

“It was like being on the Golden State Warriors,” he joked. “They were in their prime doing the greatest stuff.”

The actor went on to postulate where he thinks Joshua would be now after his Rachel Green breakup. “Joshua is happily married and has an 18 year-old-kid who is about to go to college,” he said. “He’s doing well. He’s doing good.”

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