Matthew Perry Said He Asked Jennifer Aniston Out Years Before ‘Friends’ (But She Just Wanted To Be…Friends)

Matthew Perry’s Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing isn’t even out yet, but it’s already become the most attention-nabbing memoir in ages. On one hand, it appears to be a bracing depiction of one man’s harrowing addiction. On the other, it has him talking about people he’s made out with and others he may or may not inexplicably hate. It also has dirt on his fellow Friends alumni, including one he encountered long a few years before they wound up with two of the splashiest gigs on television.

In his book, Perry talks about how he first met Aniston through mutual acquaintances sometime in the early ‘90s. “I was immediately taken by her (how could I not be?) and liked her, and I got the sense she was intrigued, too — maybe it was going to be something,” Perry writes. “Back then I got two jobs in one day — one was Haywire, an America’s Funniest Home Videos-type show, and the other was a sitcom. So I called Jennifer and I said, ‘You’re the first person I wanted to tell this to!'”

But Perry realized he was coming on too strong. “Looking back, it was clear that this made her think I liked her too much or in the wrong kind of way… and I only compounded the error by then asking her out,” Perry writes. “She declined (which made it very difficult to actually go out with her), but said that she’d love to be friends with me, and I compounded the compound by blurting, ‘We can’t be friends!'”

As fate would have it, the two would wind up spending 11 seasons on one of the most enduring sitcoms of the ‘90s. “Fairly early in the making of Friends I realized that I was still crushing badly on Jennifer Aniston,” Perry writes. “Our hellos and goodbyes became awkward. And then I’d ask myself, How long can I look at her? Is three seconds too long?”

Eventually, Perry’s crush on Aniston “disappeared in the hot glow of the show” as the show’s popularity skyrocketed. That helped kill it. “That, and her deafening lack of interest,” he adds.

Perry elaborated upon this tidbit during his big sit-down with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, which aired on Friday night. He revealed Aniston wasn’t the only Friends cast member he crushed on. “Well, how can you not have a crush on Jenny? And Courteney [Cox]? And Lisa [Kudrow]?” Perry told Sawyer. “It made it kind of difficult to go to work, because I had to pretend that I didn’t.”

You can watch a segment from Perry’s Diane Sawyer chat below.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)