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Was Jane Lynch Actually Going To Play Phoebe On Friends?

"Friends" is one of the most successful and beloved American TV sitcoms of all time. Created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, the series follows six friends as they each deal with personal and professional struggles while living in Manhattan in the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s. The series ran for 10 seasons before coming to an end in 2004, and a large part of its charm and success came from the individual talents and shared screen chemistry of its six lead actors. Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and Courteney Cox all emerged as major stars because of their work in "Friends," and it's difficult to imagine what the series might have been like had its core ensemble been any different.

It's for that reason that so many stories and unsubstantiated rumors about "Friends" casting what-ifs have always been able to earn attention and spark debate amongst the show's fans. With that in mind, there's almost no "Friends" rumor more popular or well-known, than the story that "Glee" star Jane Lynch was allegedly up for the role of Phoebe Buffay, a role that ultimately went to Lisa Kudrow. But was Lynch ever really in the running to play Phoebe?

No, Jane Lynch was not up for the role of Phoebe on Friends

While "Friends" fans may have gotten a lot of fun over the years out of speculating what Jane Lynch's take on Phoebe might have been like, the rumor that she auditioned for the role is, unfortunately, not true. The "Glee" and "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" actress put an end to the rumor once and for all during a November 2020 appearance on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen." Asked by a viewer if the story that she'd auditioned for the "Friends" role in the 1990s was true, Lynch responded, "I never auditioned for Phoebe. I've seen that [rumor] before but that never happened."

While Lynch may not have been up for the role of Phoebe at any point, the actress does still have a small connection to "Friends." She appears in one episode of the NBC sitcom's final season as a realtor named Ellen who shows Matthew Perry's Chandler and Courteney Cox's Monica around a house in Westchester. It's by no means a major role, but it does secure Lynch's place on the long and diverse list of notable actors who guest starred on "Friends" throughout its run.