18 on-screen friends who are actually best friends in real life

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Drew Barrymore leaning her head on Cameron Diaz next to Martin Short and Steve Martin smiling.
Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz; Martin Short and Steve Martin.Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images; Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
  • Hollywood has given us many fictional friendships that have turned into real-life friendships.

  • Some duos, like the frenemies of "The Office" and "Victorious," might surprise you.

  • Many of these duos, trios, and quartets have gone on to collaborate time and time again.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are life-long friends who have played pals in several projects.

Jane smiling at Lily and the pair holding hands in front of a purple backdrop.
Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin.Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Fonda and Tomlin have collaborated on- and off-screen for more than 40 years. They first acted together in "9 to 5" in 1980, in which they played rebellious secretaries alongside Dolly Parton.

"We've been friends ever since. We're friends because I just love her. I know Jane has my back whenever she can," Tomlin later told The Washington Post in 2017.

Ever since, they have supported each other professionally and personally throughout their long Hollywood friendship from TV shows to climate strikes.

Most recently, they starred as best friends going through divorces from their husbands in Netflix's longest-running original series, "Grace and Frankie." The series ended in May 2022 after seven seasons.

While discussing their temporary parting of the ways on Good Morning America in April 2022, Fonda said, "I have a physical emptiness when she's not around. I miss her physically," adding, "It's really nice to love somebody who you spend so much time with."

They have filmed two more (unreleased) films since, in which the pair play friends yet again.

Steve Martin and Martin Short were always destined to be friends, just going by their matching names.

Martin smiling in a black suit and tie and Steve smiling in glasses and a blue suit and tie.
Martin Short and Steve Martin.Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Short and Martin are one of the great comedy duos — and they're also great pals. The actors played friends in their 1986 film, "Three Amigos," alongside Chevy Chase, and they've been friends in real life ever since.

In addition to working on other films together, they co-headlined a comedy tour, "The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment," in 2021.

"What Steve and I still share at this stage of our lives is this unbelievable satisfaction when you do a good show," Short told InStyle. "We have fun. We have dinner and drink wine after, and laugh. It's a great hang."

They have reunited on-screen again in a Hulu mystery comedy sitcom "Only Murders in the Building," in which they play neighbors, would-be detectives, and bickering friends. The second season was released in June 2022.

Actor Julian Cihi, who played murder victim Tim Kono in the first season, previously told Insider that the pair were extremely close on set.

"Steve and Marty would be playing card games or board games during our breaks while everyone else was on their phones or taking a nap," he said.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire became friends as child actors, and have since played friends in two films.

Leonardo smiling in a blue suit and tie and Tobey smiling in a blue shirt and blazer.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.Victor Boyko/Getty Images

Before they were old sports in 2013's "The Great Gatsby," DiCaprio and Maguire actually met and became friends after both auditioning for a TV show in 1990. As Maguire was slightly more established as a child star, DiCaprio was the one who made the first move.

"When I want someone to be my friend, I just make them my friend," DiCaprio told Esquire in 2013.

DiCaprio and Maguire both went out for the lead role, Toby, in 1993's "This Boy's Life," with DiCaprio getting cast. Maguire was subsequently cast as Toby's friend Chuck. The friends would continue to compete for roles throughout their careers.

"We've had endless conversations about certain projects and argued with one another and supported one another along the way," DiCaprio said in 2013.

"Leo and I have a lot of trust and respect for each other," Maguire also told People that year.

Since playing on-screen besties in "The Great Gatsby," the real-life friends have been seen out eating, vacationing, and attending basketball games together.

It's comforting that Rachel Green and Monica Geller's friendship lives on through "Friends" alums Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox.

Courtney smiling in a sheer black stop and leaning into Jennifer who's wearing a black and white dress and resting her head on Courteney and has her arm on her shoulder.
Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston.Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Rachel and Monica have one of the most well-known and enviable on-screen friendships, and it's nice to know that the actresses who played them are just as close in real life.

Aniston and Cox have remained best friends, with Cox serving as a bridesmaid at Aniston's 2015 wedding, and Aniston being named godmother to Cox's daughter.

"There's absolutely no judgment in Court," Aniston said in 2014, as per Us Weekly. "You'll never feel scolded. She's extremely fair, ridiculously loyal and fiercely loving."

The duo have also stayed close to fellow "Friends" alum Lisa Kudrow. During the virtual Emmys in 2020, Aniston appeared alongside Cox and Kudrow, joking that they've all lived together since 1994.

In May 2021, the entire cast of "Friends" returned to our screens in the HBO Max special "Friends: The Reunion."

In June 2022, Aniston showed off one of Monica's dresses, which Aniston stole from the set and constantly wears, showing that "Friends" will always live on in the two of them.

 

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are childhood friends, famously played friends in "Good Will Hunting," and continue to support each other today.

Matt and Ben both sitting with their arms clasped on their laps wearing suits.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.NBC/Getty Images

Although Affleck and Damon have been friends since childhood, their breakout roles in 1997's Oscar-winning film "Good Will Hunting" solidified their friendship on screen.

The pair wrote and starred in "Good Will Hunting," which earned them Oscars for their screenplay. This win propelled them to A-list status, and began a long working relationship that's endured to today.

They have continuously supported, defended, and commended each other. In 2019, Damon said of his best friend, "I certainly wouldn't be here were it not for him."

Aside from privately enjoying each other's company and attending events together, they reunited on screen in 2021 for "The Last Duel," and in January 2022, Damon interviewed Affleck for Entertainment Weekly.

At the end of their interview, Affleck told his friend, "This friendship has been essential and defining and so important to me in my life," adding, "Your support was so profoundly meaningful to me that I don't think I would've been able to be successful without it."

They'll reunite once more for a film about the rise of Nike, which is currently filming.

Michelle Williams and Busy Philipps became inseparable while playing teenage best friends in the early 2000s.

Michelle posing in an orange and blue dress and Busy smiling in a burgundy dress.
Michelle Williams and Busy Philipps.Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Philipps and Williams first acted together on "Dawson's Creek," when Philipps joined mid-way through the show as an angsty teenager. Both on-screen and off, the pair are extremely close and have a relationship that goes even beyond friendship.

"I'm so in love with her," Williams told People in 2016. "She's proof that the love of your life does not have to be a man! That's the love of my life right there."

In 2018, Philipps also told Entertainment Weekly, "You know how people say love at first sight? We had that thing. We had that friend connection."

Thinking back to their time on "Dawson's Creek," Williams also told the publication, "My memory of being with her then doesn't have anything to do with the show or working, but it was on our time off," adding, "that's what I remember: an endless conversation over multiple bread baskets."

Since then, the pair have been seen together on innumerable red carpets, and Philipps was named Williams' daughter's godmother.

They reunited on-screen in 2013 when Williams made an appearance on Philipps' show "Cougar Town" as a foster sister of Philipps' character, and again when they both appeared in the 2018 rom-com "I Feel Pretty."

Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz were friends before "Charlie's Angels" and constantly talk today, over 20 years later.

Drew smiling and leaning her head on Cameron's shoulder, who's also smiling.
Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz.Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Barrymore and Diaz famously played secret agent besties in the 2000 film "Charlie's Angels" and its 2003 sequel. Much like how they supported and defended each other in the films, their loyalty extended off-screen.

"We've experienced birth, life, death, marriage, divorce, highs and lows, work, boyfriends, friends, travel — there is nothing we haven't done together," Barrymore said during an Instagram Live cooking session with Diaz in 2021, according to People.

Barrymore revealed that the pair were friends long before sharing the screen. "We met when I was 14 and she was 16. I was working at a coffee house and she was a junior model. She's still my bestie," Barrymore said. During the stream, the pair also discussed that they share photos of themselves getting ready with each other for advice.

In addition to being featured on Barrymore's Instagram, Diaz has been on her friend's daytime talk show multiple times.

Now that Diaz has officially un-retired from acting, perhaps these two can reunite on-screen once more.

Brad Pitt and George Clooney have a long history of pranking each other on and off film sets.

Brad smiling in a three-piece suit and George looking at him and smiling in a suit and tie.
Brad Pitt and George Clooney.Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

Clooney and Pitt famously play dashing ride-or-die thieves in the "Ocean's Eleven" trilogy. Since working together in the early 2000s, they've become close … and extremely mischievous with each other, constantly pulling pranks.

"I've done some terrible things to Brad and Brad's done some terrible things to me too," Clooney told Graham Norton in 2015.

When filming "Ocean's Eleven," Clooney secretly put a crude bumper sticker on Pitt's car, and when filming "Ocean's Twelve," Pitt put up false flyers saying Clooney demanded to only be called Danny Ocean and claimed he was cruel to the crew.

Clooney also told Howard Stern in 2020 that he has used a fake letterhead with Pitt's name to send notes to celebrities.

There were rumors that Pitt's ex-wife Angelina Jolie disrupted the pals' friendship, but Clooney and Pitt seem to be going strong. They're set to co-star in an upcoming film for Apple directed by "Spider-Man: No Way Home's" Jon Watts.

"One Tree Hill's" Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Sophia Bush are still besties and even host an "OTH" podcast together.

Three women dressed in character in ordinary clothes Sophia in a doctor's coat. They're all smiling and hugging.
Hilarie Burton, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Sophia Bush.CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Peyton, Brooke, and Hayley were best friends on "One Tree Hill," and the actresses who played them are actually best friends in real life too.

Burton, Bush, and Lenz wrote an open letter in 2017 about having negative experiences on the series set after alleged sexual misconduct by the show's creator Mark Schwahn. Luckily though, they stood by each other's sides along the way and afterwards.

"We've forged such a friendship and been able to, as a unit, reclaim so much of what was good and joyful about our first job together while taking out the respective trash," Bush previously told Insider about staying connected and working on their podcast "Drama Queens" together.

"And we're just more in love with each other than we've ever been," she added.

In addition to their rewatch podcast, the trio worked together on-screen in 2022, too. Burton and Lenz co-starred on an episode of Bush's CBS medical drama "Good Sam."

"Scrubs" stars Donald Faison and Zach Braff also share a podcast documenting their on- and off-screen friendship.

Donald smiling in a black shirt and blazer and Zach smiling with his arm around Donald in a blue shirt and blazer.
Donald Faison and Zach Braff.Paul Archuleta/Getty Images

"Scrubs" coworkers and best friends J.D. and Turk had a bromance on the show for nine seasons, but it extended beyond the screen for the actors.

"The only way to have a real bromance is if you're genuinely fond of each other. [Zach]'s my best friend. I'm really fond of that man, I'm not ashamed to say it," Faison said in 2016.

Braff and Faison previously lived together, and Braff hosted Faison's 2012 wedding at his house, served as a groomsman, and is now godfather to his son.

The iconic duo started the podcast, "Fake Doctors, Real Friends," in 2020, in which they re-watch "Scrubs" and give commentary, along with giving fans a glimpse into their friendship.

"This is a great place to check-in and hopefully [enjoy] conversations between two best friends," Faison told Entertainment Weekly in 2020.

Salma Hayek was Penélope Cruz's first friend in America. They gave each other the nickname "huevos" while filming together.

Salma smiling in a white gown with her arms around Penelope's waist and Penelope smiling in a black gown with her arms around Salma's torso.
Salma Hayek and Penélope Cruz.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Look-alike friends Cruz and Hayek played bank-robbing besties in the 2006 Western film "Bandidas."

Cruz shared their nickname for each other while on set and beyond. "We call each other huevos," she once said, as per the Huffington Post. "It was a way to call each other lazy." Huevos means eggs in Spanish.

But the pair had actually become close before that. Cruz recently told Ellen DeGeneres that when she came to the States to start her acting career, Hayek was the only person she (barely) knew who reached out a helping hand.

"She picked me up at the airport and she said, 'You're not going to a hotel, you're coming to my house,'" she said, adding that they shared a bedroom and, "That's why now we're like sisters."

And although they haven't worked together on the big screen since 2006, they have maintained their friendship, as seen through red carpet appearances and Instagram selfies.

"The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" cast have an undying bond, and all still celebrate milestones and holidays together.

The four friends smiling and embracing each other in blazers and dresses.
America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Blake Lively, and Alexis Bledel.Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Just as you'd expect many best friends to celebrate milestones together, from weddings to pregnancies to holidays and more, the cast of "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" do all of that too. Even after their 2005 and 2008 films released, Lively, Ferrera, Bledel, and Tamblyn have continued their real-life sisterhood.

"They're really there for me as a source of support and advice, and we're very much leaning on each other through motherhood," Ferrera told Us Weekly in 2019.

That year, Tamblyn paid a tribute to her friends on Instagram. She dedicated it to "the women I have acted with, got in fights with, wiped up a dance floor with, cried at each other's weddings with, kissed each other's brand new babies with, drank a LOT of wine with, had sleepovers with, had meltdowns with, and had life altering experiences with."

The friends have had a ball posting about their frequent reunions on social media. Ferrera and Tamblyn, who perhaps see each other the most since they live near each other, even formed a "pod" during the pandemic in 2021.

In November 2021, Ferrera teased that a "Sisterhood" sequel was unofficially in development, meaning that we may see this quartet on the big screen one more time.

Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey have created a podcast and written a book about their time as real (and fictional) coworkers and friends on "The Office."

Jenna smiling in glasses and a pink dress and Angela smiling in a black floral dress.
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey.NBC/Getty Images

Kinsey and Fischer may have played frenemies on "The Office," but there's no competition between the two in real life. They became friends while filming the popular sitcom, which was on the air until 2013, and have maintained that relationship since.

In 2018, the pair started their weekly podcast "Office Ladies," in which they re-watch episodes and share behind-the-scenes anecdotes and glimpses into their friendship.

"We both say we didn't expect to make such a close friendship later in life. But we're so close and she's one of my life anchors," Kinsley previously told Insider in 2019.

"We'll meet up for dinner. Jenna and I go for hikes, or after we drop our kids off at school we'll meet up and go for a walk," she added.

The friends collaborated yet again for a joint book, "Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There," which was released in May 2022.

"Pretty Little Liars" stars Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell bring out each other's goofy sides.

Ashley in a black top and Shay in a black top and both embracing and posing.
Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell.Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

Benson and Mitchell became real-life friends after starring on the hit TV series "Pretty Little Liars." The duo, affectionately nicknamed "ButtahBenzo," have vacationed together, attended music festivals and red carpets together, and have even made TikToks together.

After telling CinemaBlend in 2011 that she saw Benson as a little sister, Mitchell said, "She brings out the lightheartedness in me and the goof in me that might not have been brought out so much," adding, "I'm very fortunate to have the friendship that we have."

And in 2021, Benson told Cosmopolitan UK that they live close to each other, along with their "PLL" cast-mate Troian Bellisario, who they also stay in touch with. "They're like my sisters and they always will be," Benson said.

Ariana Grande and Elizabeth Gillies have continued their singalongs from their "Victorious" days.

Elizabeth posing with black hair and a blue dress and Ariana smiling with red hair in a yellow dress.
Elizabeth Gillies and Ariana Grande.Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Although Grande and Gillies played polar-opposite frenemies in "Victorious" from 2010 to 2013, the duo are extremely close in real life thanks to their shared bond of acting and singing.

Before their Nickelodeon hit show, they both starred in "13: The Musical" on Broadway in 2008. The two now frequently reunite for singalongs, whether it's Gillies making an appearance at one of Grande's concerts or the pair belting show tunes during girls nights.

In March 2022, Grande and Gillies reunited after being separated due to the pandemic. Gillies posted a photo dump of the pair hanging out and a video of them singing, with the caption, "The highlight: Seeing @arianagrande for the first time in TWO AND A HALF YEARS."

Then in May 2022, in an r.e.m beauty behind-the-scenes TikTok, Grande did some of her famous impressions, including one of Gillies, lovingly paying homage to her best friend.

Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson have one of the most enviable bromances in Hollywood.

Kevin short in a grey suit and Dwayne much taller with his hand on Kevin's shoulder wearing a light blue suit.
Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson.Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Johnson and Hart starred in several movies together including the buddy action-comedy "Central Intelligence" in 2016 (when their friendship began), the "Jumanji" reboots, and "Hobbs & Shaw."

"It's a real friendship. It was one that I didn't anticipate," Johnson told Jimmy Kimmel in 2019 after helping honor Hart at his Hollywood Hand and Footprint Ceremony. "He has become truly a great, great friend."

Their dynamic typically includes teasing and roasting each other, especially during interviews. In a 2021 friendship quiz with LadBible, they did just that.

"Looking at those questions, you probably realize how uninteresting you are," Hart said before Johnson erupted in laughter.

And when tested on Hart's height, Johnson joked, "Legit answer. Legit, legit, legit because I know you're my best friend: Four-foot-two."

Childhood besties Millie Bobby Brown and Noah Schnapp made a marriage pact.

Noah smiling in a pink suit and Millie smiling in a black dress with her arm around Noah's chest.
Noah Schnapp and Millie Bobby Brown.Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Characters Eleven and Will didn't initially have a lot of screen time together in "Stranger Things" due to being in separate dimensions, but in the new fourth season, the duo share more time together in their friend group and on their own.

Although the on-screen friendship is new, Brown and Schnapp have been best friends since filming started eight years ago when they were just 10 years old. They've been inseparable, going to on-set school together, pranking each other, and participating in Fruit by the Foot challenges.

"You're one of the longest friends I've ever had," Brown told MTV in a joint interview with Schnapp in June 2022.

Schnapp added that their real-life friendship makes work more fun and told the outlet, "We both encourage each other and cheer each other on when we're doing well."

The pair — who have deemed each other their biggest supporters — even made a long-term pact.

"We said if we're not married by 40, we will get married together because we'd be good roommates," Brown said. "No kids though, because I could not deal with a child of yours. Only dogs and separate bedrooms for sure," she joked.

Zendaya and Hunter Schafer's vulnerable relationship on "Euphoria" shaped their real-life friendship.

Hunter Schafer and Zendaya at the season two premiere of "Euphoria" in January 2021.
Hunter Schafer and Zendaya.Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

On "Euphoria," Rue and Jules have a complex relationship — offering each other a support system, gaining romantic feelings for one another, and holding each other accountable even when it was difficult. The intense storyline and many vulnerable scenes bolstered Zendaya and Schafer's own friendship.

"We've formed a really special bond over the past eight months that I'm so thankful for," Schafer said of Zendaya, who she affectionately calls Z, to W magazine in 2019.

Zendaya told HBO that same year, "[Schafer] has seen me in every form, the worst, the best, and vice-versa. There's no judgment, it's all love."

Two years later, Schafer talked to Collider about acting with Zendaya. "As one of my best friends too, it's something that we can take from, with our real-life friendship. We trust each other," she said.

The pair also frequently hang out off-camera, and show their genuine affection for each other on red carpets.

Read the original article on Insider