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You'll Barely Recognize Janice Hosenstein From Friends Now

When it came to Friends — the juggernaut television series that lived on NBC from 1994 to 2004, on Netflix from 2015 to 2019, and in our hearts for perpetuity — there was really only one relationship that mattered. Only one on-again-off-again, will-they-won't-they, greatest love of all-type romance, that kept audiences on the edge of their seats and Friends fans holding their breaths through all the peaks and the valleys. We're not talking about Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), or even Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry). We are talking, of course, about Janice Litman-Goralnik née Hosenstein and ... well, everyone else.

The magnetic pull between Janice and the cast of Friends was too strong for anyone to understand it fully, let alone anticipate where or when it might strike. Janice flitted in and out of episodes for all ten years of the show's run, always with her trademark laugh, and a poppin' purple pantsuit to boot. We were airdropped into the middle of Janice's relationship with Chandler (audiences met Janice just as Chandler was trying to get out of dating her), but we clung on for dear life as she came back, again and again — not only as Ross' short-lived flame, but as a hopeful wedding singer, a laboring suitemate, and eventually, a potential next door neighbor.

Where is Maggie Wheeler now?

It's been almost 30 years since we first met Janice Hosenstein, and the understated beauty of today's Maggie Wheeler, the woman behind The Janice, may catch you off guard. 

Without the hair, makeup, and nasally voice of her Friends character, you probably didn't even recognize the actress when you saw her as Marva Kulp, Jr. in 1998's The Parent Trap, or heard her as the voice of Trudy Pickering in 2019's The Addams Family. The fact that Wheeler, or any of the Friends cast members for that matter, now have children of their own who are so close in age to the Central Perk gang when the show first started is chilling. Add to that the fact that one of the triplets Phoebe carried for her brother, Frank Jr. Jr., is now on TikTok (via Insider), and it's enough to make you drop your own, "Oh. My. GOD!" 

But no matter the roles Wheeler has held since Friends, the shine never wore off those gold lycra pants, or that larger-than-life hair. "Well, I loved everything about playing that character because, first of all, to be able to be so unapologetically annoying is a lot of fun," Wheeler told Junkee last year. And just how can someone so annoying be so adored? How did we all find ourselves, like Chandler, drawn to Janice Hosenstein over and over again? As Wheeler puts it: "First of all, she's an infiltrator, and I think that everybody wants to figure out how to infiltrate the fab Friends [...] I was in many ways a vehicle for people to get into the party."