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Tom Selleck explains why he was ‘scared to death’ to be on ‘Friends’

During his appearance on “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” the “Blue Bloods” star spoke about portraying Dr. Richard Burke on the beloved ‘90s sitcom. 
/ Source: TODAY

Tom Selleck came across as sensible and charming during his stint on “Friends” as Dr. Richard Burke, but the actor was actually “scared to death” to be on the show.

Selleck, 77, stopped by “The Kelly Clarkson Show” on Wednesday and spoke to the host about how it feels to be an actor joining a long-running series. 

“(The) hardest thing is to guest on a show,” said Selleck, who has been starring on the police drama “Blue Bloods” since 2010. “I try to relax the new actors because that’s really hard to come on a show where everybody’s up to speed.” 

He mentioned that he had a similar newcomer experience when he joined “Friends” during the sitcom’s second season. 

"You were amazing in ‘Friends'!" Kelly Clarkson chimed in.

As the crowd applauded, Selleck replied, “I wasn’t amazing at what they call the table read.”

Clarkson continued to compliment him and said, “Who cares? Bad rehearsal. Good show. That was so good. That’s literally the thing I feel like people comment about all the time–(when) Monica’s on your voicemail, breathing.”

She then asked if he enjoyed filming the beloved ‘90s comedy. 

“I was scared to death,” Selleck revealed. “I had done ‘Taxi’ a long time before, but I hadn’t done a sitcom.”

He recalled being “really nervous” and shared that Courteney Cox made him feel welcome. 

Friends - Season 2
Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Tom Selleck as Dr. Richard Burke and Courteney Cox as Monica Geller in the "Friends" season two episode 15, titled "The One Where Ross and Rachel...You Know."Paul Drinkwater / NBC

“Courteney’s a big help,” he said.  While he spoke, photos were shown of his time on the show as Monica’s love interest. After his character was introduced in Season Two, the ophthalmologist eventually started dating Monica. They broke up by the end of the season but briefly reconciled in a Season Three episode that was appropriately titled “The One Where Monica and Richard Are Just Friends.”

In 2000, Richard returned for his last appearance in the Season Six finale. 

“That group is just an incredible group of friends,” Selleck told Clarkson. “They obviously became friends in life as well as on the show, and it shows. It was a wonderful place to work and we ended up doing about nine (episodes).”

He added that he was “speechless” when he was asked to continue his guest arc because he was only supposed to film three episodes.

In 2021, Selleck was one of the many recurring stars who celebrated with the cast during HBO Max’s “Friends: The Reunion.” 

During the nearly two-hour special, Selleck greeted the group after Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc and Cox were asked to identify a voicemail from Richard. 

On the YouTube talk show “Hot Ones” last month, Cox, 57, spoke about her favorite love interests among the list of famous guest co-stars on “Friends.” 

She named Selleck and praised him for being “the nicest and the tallest.”