Friends is about to turn 25.

That's right, it's been a quarter of a century since we first met Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Phoebe and Joey, hanging out in their go-to coffee spot, Central Perk.

(Actually, the pilot opened with everyone but Rachel sitting around gossiping about Monica's dating life — but she runs in wearing a wedding dress soon after, and the rest is history.)

Courteney Cox was originally cast as Rachel Green and Jennifer Aniston as Monica Geller, but it soon became obvious to those on set that the actresses needed to swap roles. Photo / Getty Images
Courteney Cox was originally cast as Rachel Green and Jennifer Aniston as Monica Geller, but it soon became obvious to those on set that the actresses needed to swap roles. Photo / Getty Images

To celebrate the significant anniversary, here's everything you probably didn't know about Friends:

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STARTING FROM THE BOTTOM

When the sitcom premiered in 1994, it was the career launch pad for all its young stars — and their salaries reflected that. For the first season, each of the six core cast members received $22,500 per episode — but each year, they negotiated more and more, eventually earning a whopping $1 million.

The best bit? No one rose above the others — instead, they negotiated as a group and demanded equal pay.

That's true Friendship.

CUTTING THE CAST

The show was originally supposed to have just four main characters, with Phoebe Buffay and Chandler Bing relegated to supporting roles. Photo / Getty Images
The show was originally supposed to have just four main characters, with Phoebe Buffay and Chandler Bing relegated to supporting roles. Photo / Getty Images

As mentioned before, all core castmates negotiated for equal pay, knowing their worth as a group of six.

But Friends was originally supposed to have just four main characters, with Phoebe Buffay and Chandler Bing relegated to supporting roles.

THEME SONG

I'll Be There For You by The Rembrandts is forever etched into Friends history, but the famous theme song wasn't actually first choice for the show's opening credits.

Instead, producers were planning to use REM's Shiny Happy People, but they eventually changed their mind.

After Friends premiered, the theme song shot up to number one on the US music charts.

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THE OL' SWITCHEROO

It's hard to imagine any of the stars in any other role but their own, but Courteney Cox was originally cast as Rachel Green, and Jennifer Aniston as Monica Geller.

However, from the very first script reading it became incredibly obvious to everyone that the actresses should swap — and thank God they did.

BARGAIN BRUCE

Bruce Willis appeared on the show for free after losing a bet with Matthew Perry. Photo / Getty Images
Bruce Willis appeared on the show for free after losing a bet with Matthew Perry. Photo / Getty Images

Bruce Willis was an in-demand movie star and raking in the big bucks in 2000 when he signed on to feature in three Friends episodes as Ross' girlfriend's dad, Paul.

One would assume he took home an eye-watering pay cheque for his stint on the show, but the Die Hard lead was actually paid nothing.

He and Matthew Perry had reportedly had a friendly bet on the set of their movie The Whole Nine Yards, and when Willis lost, he made good on his promise to guest star on the sitcom for free.

MAKING AN ENTRANCE

Tom Selleck's first appearance on the show caused such a stir among the live studio audience that the scene had to be re-shot after everyone went home. Photo / Getty Images
Tom Selleck's first appearance on the show caused such a stir among the live studio audience that the scene had to be re-shot after everyone went home. Photo / Getty Images

A live audience really adds to the vibe of a show — but it also can cause some problems.

Take, for example, Tom Selleck's guest appearance on the show as Dr Richard Burke, Monica's much-older boyfriend.

The famous actor's first entrance onto set thrilled the audience, who gave him a standing ovation. In fact, they took so long to calm down, producers couldn't use any of the footage and had to reshoot his entrance later when everyone had gone.

ON A BREAK

Rachel's big romantic scene with Ross made up the bulk of the show's finale, but Aniston almost didn't sign on for the last season.

In an interview with former US TV host Matt Lauer back in 2004, the actress explained she wanted to leave the show on a high while people were still laughing — and she wasn't sure "how much Rachel" she had left in her.

Luckily, she changed her mind.

Friends is streaming on TVNZ On Demand.