Was Lisa Kudrow pregnant during Friends and how did the sitcom hide the cast's real life pregnancies?

Lisa Kudrow was pregnant on-screen in Friends season 4, but was this just a storyline?

Lisa Kudrow arrives at the season premiere of HBO's "The Comeback" held at the El Capitan Theatre on November 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California
(Image credit: Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic via Getty)

Lisa Kudrow became a household name since she rose to fame with her breakthrough role as everyone’s favorite kooky character, Phoebe Buffay, in long-running sitcom Friends—but was she pregnant during her time on the show? 

The final episode of Friends might have aired 17 years ago, but the hilarious and heart-warming sitcom remains just as popular today. And the excitement surrounding the show has certainly been building after it was reported last month that the Friends Reunion has wrapped up taping

Since then, star Courteney Cox has spilled some secrets about the Friends Reunion  and the Friends Reunion trailer has finally dropped, leaving us counting down the days until they can see the group back together again. But despite fans having likely re-watched the show many, many times in the years since it last aired, there are still Friends moments that raise some pretty big questions.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing of these surrounds the on-screen and real-life pregnancies of Friends stars, with storylines such as Phoebe’s surrogacy being an unforgettable moment for the show. 

But was Lisa Kudrow pregnant during Friends and how did the show hide the cast’s real-life pregnancies? 

Was Lisa Kudrow pregnant during Friends?

Lisa Kudrow is a proud mother of one and recently revealed the adorable news that her son Julian Stern used to mistake a Friends co-star for his mom after bonding with Jennifer Aniston on set. And not only did Julian get to visit the set in his childhood, he was—technically—part of the show as Lisa fell pregnant with him during Friends season 4. 

While avid Friends fans will recall that Phoebe didn’t have children of her own in the series, many will remember that she was a surrogate for her half-brother Frank.  During the early seasons of Friends, a baby would not have fit in with Phoebe’s storyline so the creators became particularly inventive. In Friends, Phoebe’s half-brother Frank and his wife Alice are unable to conceive a child and so they decided to ask Phoebe if she would be their surrogate mother.

Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Matt Le Blanc, Courteney Cox in Friends

(Image credit: ©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection via Alamy)

Phoebe underwent IVF and became pregnant with triplets, giving birth to Frank and Alice’s three children, Frank Jr, Leslie and Chandler, in season five of the show. This on-screen pregnancy allowed Lisa Kudrow to continue working on the sitcom while pregnant and Lisa has since spoken fondly about how she was treated by her fellow Friends cast-members while filming.

In an interview with PEOPLE, Lisa explained that, “The six of us would do a huddle backstage and just say, ‘All right, have a good show, love you love you love you love you.' And when I was pregnant, then they would say, ‘Have a great show, love you love you — love you, little Julian!’ ‘Cause we knew it was a boy and that was his name.” 

“So sweet, they included my little fetus in the huddle", she added. 

And whilst Phoebe's pregnancy was a hugely prominent storyline for the show, Lisa Kudrow wasn't the only cast-member to be pregnant during Friends.

Was Courteney Cox pregnant during Friends?

Photographs taken from chat-shows just a few months after the series wrapped, show that Courteney Cox was also a few months pregnant during filming. The actor gave birth to her daughter Coco with her then-husband David Arquette, in June 2004, just months after Friends' final episode aired. 

Though unlike with Lisa Kudrow, when Courteney Cox became pregnant in the last season of Friends, the writers struggled to work this into Monica's storyline for a very significant reason. 

It had already been established in the show that it was unlikely that Courteney's character Monica and her on-screen husband Chandler would be able to conceive children biologically. This was because Monica had been diagnosed as having a 'hostile' cervical environment and Chandler had sperm 'motility' problems. Wanting children, the couple then decided to find an alternative way to become parents and went on to adopt twins. 

Friends

(Image credit: Getty Images / Handout)

Due to this existing Friends storyline, the creators of the show decided to use some genius tricks to keep Courteney's pregnancy hidden. Although she was only a few months pregnant during filming, Courteney's character Monica wore various loose tops in the last season of Friends and would often carry props that covered her stomach. 

These classic tricks meant that Courteney could finish the series while pregnant and they could conclude Monica's storyline without drastically changing the plot or creating consistency errors.

Friends

(Image credit: Getty Images / Handout / Getty Images)

It seems that the only pregnancy that was deliberately planned in Friends was Rachel Green's. Played by Jennifer Aniston, Rachel Green falls pregnant with Ross Geller's baby in the sitcom after a one-night stand. Jennifer was not pregnant in real life and her bump that is regularly on display in the series is a prosthesis. 

The cast of Friends will soon be reuniting and whilst we don't know exactly what to expect, we can't wait to see the old gang back together again! 

Friends: The Reunion will air on Thursday May 27, 2021 on HBO Max.