It’s been more than a decade since Friends went off the air, but its stars are still earning healthy revenue from the long-lasting and beloved sitcom. Namely, Jennifer Anniston—who played materialistic waitress turned sensible corporate professional Rachel Green—continues to enjoy the status of being one of Hollywood highest-paid actresses.
There are a lot of reasons why Friends was as popular and beloved as it was (and continues to be), but one of the things for which the show made history is the collaborated salary negotiations of its six leads. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer initially started off being paid $22,000 per episode, but their salaries varied in the second season.
By the third season, the cast demanded to negotiate as a group, which was something unheard of at the time. With the then-highest-paid cast members accepting a deduction in their pay in order for the six actors to receive a uniform salary, the group continued to collectively negotiate their paychecks and made a whopping $1 million each per episode by the show’s final season. Included in the ensemble cast’s negotiations were royalty payments from reruns of Friends—something else that was unheard of at the time.
After saying goodbye to Central Perk, Aniston continued to establish her acting career with roles in films like Marley and Me (2008), The Bounty Hunter (2010), Horrible Bosses (2011), and We’re the Millers (2013). She has also dipped her toes into behind-the-camera work, mostly as a producer, first with Plan B Entertainment, from which she later withdrew, and currently with Echo Films.
While Aniston has a reputable acting career under her belt, a fair share of her income also comes from endorsement deals. It’s not unheard of for celebrities to back products, and Aniston is no different, having teamed up with companies such as L’Oréal, Heineken, Elizabeth Arden, and Windows 95. Currently, she is the spokeswoman for SmartWater, as well as the face of Aveeno skin care products. Last year, Aniston signed a $5 million deal with the airline Emirates. She’s also designed three perfumes for the high-class Harrods in London via her contract with Elizabeth Arden.
Unlike many celebrities who earn a ridiculous amount and keep it to themselves, Aniston is one of the shining celebs who are very active in her charity work. She has appeared in public service announcements to stop the slaughter of dolphins, was part of a telethon for earthquake relief in Haiti, and starred and directed a video for the campaign to free Burma.
In addition to using her celebrity for charitable causes, Jennifer Aniston also freely donates her own money. She donated an estimated half a million dollars to non-profit organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health (a Haitian healthcare provider), and continues to help raise money for Friends of El Faro, an organization that seeks donations to maintain Tijuana, Mexico’s Casa Hogar Sion orphanage. And she continues to be active in philanthropy by supporting various causes, including violence against women, ending homelessness, and working towards world peace.
Despite her generosity, Jennifer Aniston remains one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. In 2007, Forbes listed her as one of the 20 richest women in the entertainment industry, citing her net worth to be approximately $110 million. In 2015, she was ranked amongst the top five highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, with an estimated annual income of $16.5 million. With her career on the uptick and her continued income from her 10-year stint on Friends, it’s no surprise that Aniston is still one of the top earners in the industry.