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Jennifer Aniston Gets Real About How She Felt While Filming The Final Episode Of Ellen DeGeneres’ Show

Jennifer Aniston on Friends and Ellen on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Plenty of celebrities spoke out in celebration of Ellen DeGeneres when the comedian closed the book on her award-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show after 19 seasons, but Jennifer Aniston had an especially important role. The actress who served as the talk show’s first interview back in 2003 (and then showed up around 20 more times) helped her friend come full circle by appearing on the final show, and it turns out the Murder Mystery 2 actress had some pretty strong emotions while filming the last episode.

Jennifer Aniston’s first appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show came the year before Friends ended on NBC after 10 seasons. When the host sought advice on how to deal with the end of such a huge chapter in her life, Jennifer Aniston responded with humor — albeit dark humor — about getting divorced post-Friends and starting therapy. It seems the salad-loving actress may have been feeling the impending loss of Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show harder than we realized. She opened up to People about what it was like on that last day of filming, and she said the sadness actually started when she appeared earlier in the final season:

It was so bizarrely sad. I have to say, because I did the show at the beginning of the year and I was really emotional then, and I kind of was like, 'I can't do that on the last show. I'm going to really lose it.'

The Morning Show actress appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show at least 20 times, which averages out to more than once per season. While Jennifer Aniston is certainly not left with as big of a hole in her schedule as the comedian herself, I can see how she could feel sad about not having that to look forward to. Aniston’s also done a lot of thinking about the end of Friends lately — thanks to Friends: The Reunion that hit streaming last year for HBO Max subscribers — and the unexpected heaviness she felt returning to that set, which may have contributed to some extra empathy for her longtime pal. 

Once the cameras were rolling and she and Ellen DeGeneres were on stage together, filming flowed naturally, as they looked back to that very first 2003 interview, and Jennifer Aniston gifted Ellen with a welcome mat, just as she had 19 years earlier. Apparently, Aniston said, they took steps to prevent themselves from getting emotional during the show:

We made sure we saw each other beforehand so we could get any of that [emotion] out. It didn't feel like the last show. It was bizarre. … I still can't wrap my head around [the fact] that that's it. It's not going to be there anymore, because it was such a staple. Even though the world was there before Ellen and now it'll be there after, she was such a source of entertainment and love and joy and laughter for people. It's sad. I don't understand what's going to fill it.

It sounds like Jennifer Aniston is really feeling the loss of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, even if the end does mean that her friend gets to explore some of her other lifelong passions like animals and conservation. I’m sure the Friends actress, like so many others, is excited to see what on-screen projects Ellen DeGeneres is planning to do next. In the meantime, check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what shows are premiering soon.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.