Jennifer Grey reveals why she didn’t reprise her ‘Friends’ role

Jennifer Grey reveals why she didn’t reprise her ‘Friends’ role

Jennifer Grey says ‘bad anxiety’ kept her from reprising her Friends role

The Dirty Dancing star was asked to return to the NBC comedy after appearing on the show in its first season.


Jennifer Grey‘s season 1 appearance on Friends is a memorable one — when her character Mindy and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) confront Barry about his cheating ways — but it turns out Grey wasn’t having as much fun as it seemed on the episode.

In a new interview, the Dirty Dancing star says her 1995 appearance on the NBC sitcom was her last due to the intense pressure she felt filming the episode.

“I was a fan of the show, and I got the call to do it,” she told MediaVillage. “Then when I did it, I had such bad anxiety because they kept changing the script. It’s very hard to be a guest star because you’re not a part of it, and you’re really trying to figure it all out. They were trying to figure out what the character was, what the scene was, and it was changing, and changing, and changing. It all made me so anxious that I could barely do it.”

Grey didn’t realize it then but she was grappling with intense anxiety. 

“I had a lot of performance anxiety,” she continued, “and I just didn’t understand at that time that I needed help in the anxiety department.”

FRIENDS — “The One with the Evil Orthodontist” Episode 20 — Air Date 04/06/1995 — Pictured: (l-r) Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, Jennifer Grey as Mindy Hunter — (Photo by NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Grey on ‘Friends’

| Credit: NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Her struggle also prevented her from accepting an offer to guest on another big NBC series.

“I always just [felt] like I wished I had the ability to do things,” she shared. “Like when they asked me to do Saturday Night Live, I just couldn’t. I said ‘No.’ I was just too scared.

As for Friends, she was asked to return but declined, so the role was recast with Jana Marie Hupp. Looking back, Grey says she wishes she had better support at the time. 

“It makes me sad that I would say no to continuing on Friends or doing Saturday Night Live because of my anxiety. The truth is, I wished I had people to help me navigate that kind of fear,” Grey admitted. “But I couldn’t be there until I was there.”

Grey went on to conquer her battle by challenging herself to compete on season 11 of Dancing With the Stars, which she went on to win. 

“When I look back at Dancing With the Stars, I’m like, ‘Look what I did!’ But at the time, I didn’t watch it because I was so busy learning the next dance that I never actually could see it,” she said. “Eventually, when I did look at it, it was thrilling to be able to say, ‘I can’t believe I did that.'”

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