20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Courteney Cox

Courteney Cox became a household name in the 90s when she starred as Monica on Friends, becoming one of the best-loved characters in the show. The Hollywood star had a fantastic and successful acting career throughout the decade, appearing in the likes of the Scream movies and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective opposite Jim Carrey. She has continued to star in successful productions like Cougar Town and the psychological thriller November, and she has also started to move into producing and directing in recent years. With the 2021 Friends reunion looming, let’s take a look at some facts about Courteney Cox that you may not have known…

20. Courteney Cox is a Brummie… kind of

Cox was born Courteney Bass Cox on June 15, 1964 to parents Courteney and Richard Cox in Birmingham, Alabama.

However, the family didn’t stick around for long, moving to the exclusive society town of Mountain Brook, where Courteney Cox was raised. It remains one of the wealthiest spots in the whole state.

Courteney Cox was the youngest of four children, with two older sisters and one brother.

Her father was a businessman and her mother a homemaker, although the couple divorced when Courteney Cox was young.

Her mother went on to marry for a second time, this time to another business man, Hunter Copeland. Courteney Cox attended Mountain Brook High School and, after graduating, went on to study Architecture at Mount Vernon College.

19. Courteney Cox got her big break in a Bruce Springsteen music video

Courteney Cox appeared in Bruce Springsteen’s video for the song Dancing in the Dark as a surprised girl being pulled from the adoring crowd.

She was paid a grand total of $350 for her role in the video. Nice work if you can get it!

Springsteen was instructed to select Courteney Cox from the crowd, although he just assumed she was fan.

It was only after the filming wrapped that he discovered she was actually a professional actress.

The video proved popular, even winning the MTV Video Awards for Best Stage Performance in 1985

18. Her Springsteen dancing inspired a famous dance

When you think of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, you are probably inundated with mental images of his iconic ‘Carlton Dance’.

This dance is so outrageous, hilarious and just plain goofy, that it just must have been made up on the spot, right? Wrong!

The dance is actually at least partly inspired by Courteney Cox and her dance in Springsteen’s music video.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who plays Carlton, also took inspiration from Eddy Murphy’s (in)famous White Man Dance.

Ribeiro has recently attempted to sue two games companies who he feels stole the dance, but it seems it wasn’t actually very original to start with…

17. Cox also worked for F.B.I.

In the early 80s, Courteney Cox spent time working for F.B.I – not the bureau of investigation, though, but Frontier Booking International.

This was a concert booking agency in New York who were highly successful in their field at the time.

The company was owned by Ian Copeland, who was a relation of her step father.

He is also the brother of Steward Copeland, the drummer of the British rock band The Police.

Courteney Cox also worked at video game developer/publisher Bethesda briefly in the 1980s.

16. She turned down the chance to play Rachel

It’s impossible to imagine the sitcom Friends any other way, and I think we can all agree that Courteney Cox was the perfect choice to play the role of Monica Geller.

However, after auditioning for Friends, Courteney Cox was initially offered the chance to star as Rachel Green (ultimately played by Jennifer Aniston).

Despite this, she preferred the role of Monica in the sitcom, and she explained that she would rather go for that part instead.

This was because Courteney Cox related more to Monica’s character, saying that she is ‘very similar’ to her. She’ll rejoin the cast for the 2021 Friends reunion later this month.

She’s even a self-confessed neat freak, although Courteney Cox claims she is much less competitive in real life than her on-screen alter-ego.

15. She was the first person to say ‘period’ on television

Courteney Cox made American television history and broke a serious taboo when she starred in a  Tampax advert in 1985.

She became the first person ever to speak the word “period” on US television. How absolutely scandalous!

Courteney Cox, donning a rather flattering pair of Spandex, looks earnestly at the camera and states ‘feeling cleaner is more comfortable’.

‘It can actually change the way you feel about your period’. Well, she’s not wrong.

Up until this point, the term ‘period’ had been disguised by a range of euphemisms, including the classic ‘time of the month’ and ‘the crimson wave’.

14. She has an expensive, but lucrative, hobby

Everyone likes to have a hobby, but one of the great passions of Cox’s life takes a lot of investment, and probably takes more time than others.

The actress likes to buy houses, renovate and update them and then sell them on at a profit, otherwise known as flipping houses.

It seems Courteney Cox has quite a talent, and she is known for purchasing classic pieces of architecture and styling them with a modern twist.

She makes a point of not destroying their historic qualities, preserving original work wherever possible.

Perhaps her passion is in the blood: her father was a contractor and we can only assume he passed on some tips!

13. Jennifer Aniston is godmother to her daughter

One of her closest friends is Friend’s co-star Jennifer Aniston, who is also the godmother of her daughter, Coco, born in June 2004.

Both Courteney Cox and Aniston were also nominated for Golden Razzie Awards, giving them something else in common, too!

The pair frequently meet for lunch dates, often posting the evidence on social media for all to see.

They’ve also kept up with fellow Friend, Lisa Kudrow, and the three describe being ‘incredibly close’ on the set of the show – as we’ve recently seen in the 2021 Friends reunion trailer.

Celebrity pals Cox and Kudrow recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of Friends with a ‘mini reunion’, although they were not joined by the rest of the cast.

12. She was originally deemed too nice to play Gale Weathers in Scream

After auditioning for the role of Gale Weathers in Scream, Cox was denied the part as the producers of the film could not see Cox being “bitchy” enough.

This stemmed from producers seeing her playing ‘nice girl’ Monica on the small screen for so long.

Cox was actually still playing the role at the time the first Scream film was in production back in 1996.

However, much like Monica, it seems Courteney Cox isn’t one to give up easily, and she persevered.

The actress hounded the movie’s producers until they finally relented and gave her the role of Gale Weathers.

11. She was named Playboy’s ‘Hottest Babe’ in 1995

Over the years, Cox has been recognised many times for her natural beauty, and is considered by some to be the most attractive Friend (sorry Jen).

In 1997, at the peak of her Friends career, she was voted FHM’s 9th sexiest woman in the World.

She was also given the huge honour of being named “Hottest Babe” by Playboy Magazine in 1995.

Cox was given the prestigious title of being the 18th ‘Sexiset Woman in the World’ in 2002. What an achievement!

According to Cox, her beauty regime is relatively low key, saying ‘I only have to do three things to look halfway decent: Curl my eyelashes, fill in my eyebrows and put some lipstick on’.

10. She inspired a cast-wide name change

Cox married fellow actor David Arquette in 1999, at Grace Cathedral in San Fransisco.

A few months later, it was publicly announced that her new legal and professional name was Cox Arquette.

As a result, the cast and crew of Friends also added Arquette to their own names in the credits of the season’s opening episode.

This was a hilarious yet touching tribute to their newly married costar. However, her name change was not to last.

In October 2010, the pair announced their separation, and Arquette filed for divorce in June 2012. After the couple’s divorce, she filed to change back to her maiden name.

9. She compromised on her daughter’s name

Her daughter Coco became the new addition to the family in June 2004, 17 years ago, so both mother and daughter celebrate their birthdays in June. Coco got her name as the result of a compromise between her father David Arquette and Cox. Courteney Cox clearly took a keen interest in naming traditions.

In keeping with the traditions of her Southern roots, she originally wanted to call her daughter Courteney Cox.

This was her mother’s name and, obviously, her own. However, Arquette is half-Jewish, and it is against Jewish tradition to name a child after a living person.

As a child, Cox’s friends had called her mother Mama Coco.

Therefore, the couple decided to name their daughter Coco, in honour of Cox’s mother.

8. She met her husband on the set of Friends

She first met Arquette when he made a guest appearance in a third season episode of Friends over 20 years ago.

He played the role of a stalker who mistakenly follows Phoebe, thinking it was her twin sister, Ursula.

This was the first time she and David Arquette were seen together on television.

However, they were not a couple at the time and barely interacted on the show.

The pair finally got together after working on the set of the iconic Scream movies.

7. She contributed to the investigation into the disappearance of Natalie Holloway

Natalie was an American teen who seemingly vanished into thin air whilst on a school graduation trip to Aruba. Holloway had attended Mountain Brook High, the same school Cox herself had attended.

Cox and her husband, Arquette, wanted to contribute to search efforts, and came up with the idea of holding a celebrity fundraiser.

Donations from celebs came flooding in, including a whole table of items donated by the Friends cast.

A whole string of stars also donated guitars to the cause, including Sting, Alan Jackson and Bobby Weir.

Sadly, Holloway has never been found, and has since been declared legally deceased.

6. She turned her back on cosmetic surgery

Like many female stars in Hollywood, she struggled with personal attacks on her ageing appearance, and she turned to fillers to help combat the process of ageing.

However, she has since had said fillers removed in an attempt to ‘feel more like myself’.

Earlier this year, she became the new face of L’Oreal Paris Owning It campaign.

This inspired her to practice what she preached, and learn how to accept getting older.

‘You need movement in your face,’ Cox explained. ‘I’ve had to learn to accept movement.’

5. She was pregnant during the final season of Friends

Cox wasn’t the only Friends star to be pregnant at the time of filming.

However, when Lisa Kudrow was pregnant, producers decided to write it into the script, making her the surrogate to her brother’s triplets.

At the time of Cox’s pregnancy, Monica and Chandler were in the process of adopting twins.

Cox wore baggy shirts and jackets and was filmed largely from the chest up in an attempt to hide her bulging stomach.

This wasn’t always successful, however, and in some scenes you can actually see the outline of her bump through her shirt.

4. She was a real-life Monica Geller

Okay, so Monica is known for her obsessive cleanliness and neurotic disposition, perhaps not the most flattering traits.

However, Cox has admitted that her personality is eerily similar to Monica’s.

Apparently, the star would always have the cleanest dressing room out of the whole Friends cast, and would even clean everyone else’s if they were too messy.

She would also constantly tidy up the set, no easy feat when faced with a cast of six plus the whole crew!

The show’s creator, Martha Kauffman, commented that she was ‘adorable and intelligent and really together’.

3. She struggled to conceive for years

Recently, she has bravely opened up about her fertility struggles. The actress had numerous miscarriages before finally giving birth to her daughter, Coco, at the age of 40.

It was a true case of light imitating art, as Monica and Chandler were also unable to conceive, ultimately adopting twins.

During this time, Cox had to make people laugh on set, something which she found incredibly challenging.

In fact, she sadly suffered a miscarriage just days prior to Rachel giving birth to Emma on the set of Friends.

Ultimately, Cox and Arquette turned to IVF, and were eventually blessed with their daughter in 2004. In the same year, she starred in the  psychological thriller November.

2. She is in a relationship with the guitarist of Snow Patrol

Cox met Johnny McDaid in 2013, and the pair announced their engagement just a year later.

However, in 2019, she revealed the pair were no longer engaged, although they were still in a relationship.

McDaid is the guitar and keys player for Snow Patrol, as well as providing backing vocals for the band.

He also writes tracks for other artists, including Ed Sheeran Harry Styles and Example.

McDaid splits his time between his home in London and Courteney’s Malibu home.

1. She directed a music video for Kodaline

She was a huge fan of the band Kodaline, and was introduced to them via her partner, Johnny McDaid.

‘When Johnny first played me Love Will Set You Free, I was blown away,’ the actress explained.

She decided she wanted to direct the video for the track after hanging out with the band, feeling she would be able to showcase who they were as individuals.

The video was filmed at her Malibu home, and the star herself made an appearance.

The actress even tweeted a shot of her with the band, captioned ‘Hanging with Kodaline after a day of shooting their next video’.