It was a sweet $22m payday for Jennifer Aniston and co, and the investment paid off – episodes of the show continue to run regularly around the world almost two decades on.
But while the cast are multi-millionaires as a result of the show’s success, have you ever wondered how much the actual characters made during their 10-year period inside the Friends universe?
A recruitment company decided to shed some light on the matter, and its experts watched all 10 seasons of the hit comedy to estimated the fictional salaries of all six characters.
Chandler was the steadiest earner throughout the show, thanks to his comfortable role as a IT procurement manager, and saw his paycheck rise gradually from $50,000 per year to $100,000, before it dropped sharply in the final season when he became an advertising copywriter.
Monica was another steady earner throughout the show, taking home a salary of up to $80,000 thanks to her role as head chef at Javu.
Meanwhile, Ross earned a peak of $75,000 as a palaeontologist, while Rachel Green topped out at $55,000 in her fashion career.
Surprisingly, it was jobbing actor Joey who earned the highest single-year amount, with his annual take-home pay spiking at about $130,000 when he won a role as co-star in a feature film.
Phoebe consistently earned the lowest amount of the fictional friend group, thanks to a series of odd-jobs including busking, massage work and being an extra on Days of Our Lives.
The figures were compiled by Distinct Recruitment for phone network Giff Gaff, but trying to apply real-world economics to the Friends world may be futile.
After all, Joey managed to rent his own apartment – in the middle of one of the world’s most expensive cities – even while working as a waiter for four of the 10 years.
Monica’s gigantic purple apartment is more easily explained within the show’s storyline, however – she inherited it.
That was a lucky break for her, given that Which? Mortgage Advisers estimated in around 2018 that the two-bedroom pad, with views of the NY skyline, would have cost around $4m (£3m) if bought then. The deposit alone for the Greenwich Village flat would have been $400,000 (£311,684).
This article was originally published in April 2018