Starring in a major sitcom can be life-changing, but it can also create lots of off-screen tension. Helen Baxendale claims that while it was an amazing experience working with her Friends co-stars, the vibe on the set wasn’t exactly positive.
Baxendale joined Friends in season 4 when the show's popularity was blowing up. She starred in 14 episodes as Emily Waltham, Ross's girlfriend and second wife, for a brief moment. Given that Ross was already in love with Rachel while with Emily, evidenced by his blurring out the former's name on the wedding altar, fans didn't necessarily love her.
Why did Helen Baxendale Struggle while on ‘Friends’?
The British actress revealed that although she was on great terms with her co-stars, the vibe was extremely professional and not as friendly as the name of the show suggests.
Baxendale told Mirror, 'The cast members were delightful to work with. But they weren't great mates. You'd expect that because the show is titled 'Friends', the cast would actually be close. They weren't friends but real professionals.'
She is grateful for her time on the sitcom though she feels it didn't contribute to her career or life.
International Fame was Too Much for Helen Baxendale to Handle
Featuring in Friends impacted the career of less famous actors and actresses. Baxendale was one of those stars, as her popularity rose while reporters pried into her personal life.
'The main issue for me was for a brief while, the paparazzi would stalk my family and friends, and it was too much for me,' she said.
'The show's main cast was hounded by the paparazzi. They weren’t able to go out shopping without media people hovering over them. That kind of press attention didn’t sit well with me. But I think I’ve been prepared to deal with it to get good roles.”
There is no disputing how the actress felt. David Schwimmer expressed this feeling following his time on the show that it was mortifying to go out with everyone crazing over him.
Baxendale got a glimpse of this and decided to redirect her career.
What did Helen Baxendale do After Her Time on ‘Friends’?
Following her brief period on Friends, Baxendale took her career overseas not for the sole reason that fame in the U.S. overwhelmed her, but also because TV roles in the state were not available after the sitcom.
The 52-year-old actress has no regrets about the direction her life took after Friends. She has been quite active, appearing in TV projects such as the British sitcom Cuckoo (2012-2019) and Noughts + Crosses (2020). She is also finalising her latest film Heidi: Queen of the Mountain.