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Courteney Cox explains why she turned down Rachel role on 'Friends'

Cox ended up playing Monica instead, while the Rachel role went to some actress named Jennifer Aniston.
/ Source: TODAY

We’ve watched more than enough “Friends” reruns on TV and Netflix over the years to say with confidence that Jennifer Aniston was a perfect choice to play Rachel. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Aniston in that role ... especially her co-star and real-life BFF, Courteney Cox.

Hard-core fans of the 1994-2004 sitcom know that Cox was originally offered the part of Rachel, but she turned it down. Of course, she wound up playing Rachel’s pal and roommate, Monica, instead. Cox reflected on the decision in a recent episode of the “Off Camera with Sam Jones” podcast.

Rachel Green, Monica Geller
We'll never know what Cox would've looked like with the Rachel haircut.NBC

“For some reason, I thought I related more to Monica, which maybe it’s because I do,” she explained. “I’m very similar to her ... I’m not as clean as Monica, but I am neat. And I’m not as competitive, even though some people, my partner (musician) Johnny McDaid, would say I am.”

It obviously worked out for her and for Aniston. They and the rest of the cast — Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc — hit it off right away. (Thank goodness ... the show was titled “Friends,” after all.)

RELATED: Here's what the cast of 'Friends' really thought of the show's theme song

“That was lightning in a bottle, to have those writers, those creators of the show and the team they put together, and the actors. It just worked,” Cox said. “I mean, the casting was perfect. It really was.”

"Friends" cast
See? The casting really was picture-perfect.HO / REUTERS

Cox, 52, said she realized during filming of the “Friends” pilot that the show might be special.

“People responded to it. It felt right. Everybody just got along. It was just a great group of people that were put together that were there for the right reason,” she noted.

People continue to respond to “Friends” to this day. Now, if we can just convince the six stars to do a reunion ....

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