Splitting up is hard to do… especially when you’re still dating the person on camera.
That’s the predicament Tate Donovan found himself in when he guest starred on Friends in 1994 for a six-episode romantic arc opposite Jennifer Aniston — all while they were broken up irl.
Related: Jennifer ‘Not Heartbroken’ Over Justin Theroux Split
Recalling his short stint on the beloved sitcom, the 54-year-old actor told Us Weekly:
“I was just happy to be on the team. The only bummer was Jennifer and I were breaking up at the time. And so that was tricky to sort of act, and act like we are just meeting each other, and falling in love, or whatever, interested in each other, when we’re sort of breaking up. That was just tough.”
For the few non-Friends fans out there, Donovan played Joshua, a personal shopping client of Rachel Green’s (Aniston) at Bloomingdale’s who she quickly developed a crush on. They eventually started dating and, episodes later, broke up.
But Aniston and Donovan had already ended a two year relationship long before playing love interests on screen. He added:
“It was just six episodes. I mean, only because we were breaking up. We were like, ‘Hey, can we not keep doing this? ‘Cause this is really painful and tough.’ The people that know that we dated think that we met on Friends. But in fact we had dated for two years before then, and it was over by the time we were on Friends together.”
Despite his romantic history with the show’s star, Donovan says his time on the series was nothing but pleasant, continuing:
“Those six people were amazing to me. They were fantastic. It wasn’t cliquey for me at all. I was lucky. The good thing that came out of it was that everyone was really cool about it, and really as helpful as they could be. In other words, they were just compassionate, very compassionate about the whole breakup. It was sort of like I proved that, hey, I guess I’m a pro. If you can go through a tough breakup, and still do your job, then you’re a pro. It was good. It was really ultimately a great experience of how people can treat you really well, and you still do your job even though you’re sort of dying inside.”
Now we know how the pros do it!
Have YOU ever had to work with an ex?
[Image via Nicky Nelson/WENN]