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James Michael Tyler's Life after 'Friends' — He Saw No Reason for the Show's Reunion

Edduin Carvajal
May 18, 2021
09:20 A.M.

James Michael Tyler portrayed Gunther in “Friends,” Central Perk coffee shop’s manager, for all ten seasons. Now, he doesn’t see a point in filming a reboot.


Born in May 1962, James Michael Tyler fell in love with theater and began acting while studying at Clemson University. After receiving his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Georgia, he moved to Los Angeles.

Just like many other young actors, Tyler had to find ways to make ends meet. He worked as a bar-back, sold keyboards at a store, and was a barista, which gave him a set of skills crucial for "Friends."

James Michael Tyler during an interview with E! in September 2019 | Photo: YouTube/E! Red Carpet & Award Shows

James Michael Tyler during an interview with E! in September 2019 | Photo: YouTube/E! Red Carpet & Award Shows


Tyler once confessed he was not supposed to be a series regular but an extra. However, he was the only one who knew how to use the show's expresso machine properly, so he got the part of Gunther.


Fortunately, the show's main characters kept going back to Central Perk, so Tyler always had at least a few minutes on screen per season, starting with the second episode of season one.

Over time, the show’s writers gave Tyler’s character lines and involved him in minor storylines. Gunther is probably best known for having a crush on Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel, but she never loved him back.

It is important to point out that while Tyler only booked the role for having real-life knowledge with a coffee maker, he never really made coffee as the machine was too loud.



More than ten years have passed since the last episode of “Friends” aired, and James Michael Tyler still remembers his final day on set. He described it as “sad” and “bittersweet,” especially because he and Aniston cried “a lot.”

As previously mentioned, Gunther had a crush on Rachel but she never really shared his feelings. He only found enough courage to do it on the series finale, and shooting that scene was hard.

According to Tyler, he and Aniston couldn’t look at each other without bursting into tears. The makeup crew had to jump in and get everything ready again, but it was a “very, very emotional” scene to film.

Tyler also said working with Aniston was fantastic as they had great chemistry. He added that the actress was such a great person and actress that it made their scenes effortless and easier.


Tyler is not very likely to join the special [reunion].



Following “Friends,” Tyler landed small parts in “Scrubs” and “Jason’s Big Problem,” and even worked with Matt LeBlanc again (who portrayed Joey in the series) in his TV show “Episodes.”

In 2013, he appeared as Chad Levitz in “Modern Music,” then took a break from the acting industry. Six years later, he landed parts in “The Gesture and the Word” and “Processing,” two short films released in 2020.


Apart from not booking many roles, James Michael Tyler and his ex-wife, Barbara Chadsey, divorced in 2014. They had been separated for over a decade, though.

The former couple tied the knot in 1995 – when “Friends” was on its heyday – and parted ways in 2003. They haven’t said much about their time together, but he’s married again.



In February 2020, HBO Max announced they’d work on a “Friends” unscripted special reunion. The coronavirus pandemic delayed everything, but it is now expected to air on May 27, 2021.

Apart from the six main actors, other artists like Lady Gaga, David Beckham, and James Corden are set to appear. On the other hand, Tyler is not very likely to join the special.


Back in 2019, speculations about a possible reboot were all over the Internet. In an interview with Daily Mail, he pointed out that “Friends” creators worked hard to give the series a good ending, so he didn't believe there’s a “reason” to shoot a reboot.

However, James Michael Tyler said he would be glad to reprise Gunther as he loved that character. With or without Tyler, the show’s fans cannot wait to watch the reunion.

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