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Marlo Thomas shares story behind that 'Friends' kiss with Matt LeBlanc

Marlo Thomas reminisced about playing Sandra Green, the mother of Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), on "Friends" in an interview with TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

Marlo Thomas, who played Jennifer Aniston's mom on "Friends," was one of the series' most memorable guest stars. And for Thomas, who considers Rachel Green "the 'That Girl' of the time," it was the perfect pairing.

"What was fun about 'Friends' was that they were all just all so cute to me," Thomas told TODAY. "I mean, the first day I got there, David Schwimmer opened the door and he said, 'Ladies first, ladies first,' from my 'Free to Be' album, which was so cute."

She added, "Another time, I had had an idea about something, and I said to the director, 'Well, what if I go over to the bathroom and do this and then come out and say the line?' And he said, 'No, no, no.' And Jennifer said, 'What do you mean, "No, no, no"? You can't talk to her that way. She was the queen of comedy.' So they were so respectful and sweet and nice."

Marlo Thomas appeared on three episodes of "Friends," including "The One with the Lesbian Wedding" in 1996.NBC

In particularly funny scene, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) kissed her character in an attempt to distract her from seeing Rachel's father.

"He was to grab me and kiss me in the hallway," Thomas recalled. "And every time we did it, of course, he just kind of, you know, pretended that he kissed me. So now we're going to shoot it, and he came over really sheepishly, Matt, and he said to me, 'They really want me to kiss you this time.' And I said, 'That's OK. Go ahead.' So he did, he kissed me. And so I kind of fell into it, you know, like that. And you could only see the back of me, so it got a big laugh that, in other words, Joey had kissed this mother, and she just collapsed over it."

Thomas said "Friends," which turned 25 this year, stands the test of time because "the people are real."

"You cared about them," she said. "And you still continue to care about those characters. So I think, as funny as it is, it's that the characters were well-drawn, and the people playing them were well-cast in them. You want to visit them again. I think that's why shows last a long time."

Thomas visited TODAY as part of St. Jude's Thanks and Giving campaign.

"I think it's important to give back any time of year," she said. "But this is our big campaign to say to America, 'Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not.'"