Few shows have managed to maintain such a powerful presence in popular culture more than Friends.
The long-running sitcom about a group of twenty-somethings bumbling through their careers and relationships captured the feeling of the 90s, and audiences grew to invest heavily in the will-they-won’t-they romance between Ross Geller and Rachel Green.
The show launched the career of a young Jennifer Aniston and secured her place as one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies, however, according to a new book set to analyse the ‘secrets’ of the show on its 25th anniversary, Aniston was ordered to lose over two stone after her agent considered her to be ‘too heavy’ to make it in Hollywood — Metro reported.
“She had to lose thirty pounds if she wanted to stay in Hollywood,” Saul Austerlitz stated in his book, Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era. “Los Angeles was a tough place to be an actress — it was a tough place to be a woman — and Jennifer Aniston’s agent was reluctantly levelling with her.
"Aniston was hardly fat; everyone could see she was beautiful, but as the show, she would one day become indelibly associated with later made a point of noting, the camera added ten pounds,” he concluded.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1996, Aniston confirmed the story, stating: “My agent gave it to me straight. The disgusting thing of Hollywood, I wasn’t getting lots of jobs cause I was too heavy.”
Fat-shaming ‘on the rise’
Whilst the actions of Aniston’s manager are undoubtedly a serious issue for HR, evidence discovered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that fat-shaming is becoming more prolific in certain sectors. The issue has become the subject of public scrutiny due to statements made by US comedian Bill Maher, who recently voiced his endorsement for publicly fat-shaming people – something he says will promote weight loss. Maher controversially announced that fat-shaming “needs to make a comeback”.
However, actor and talk show host James Corden was quick to highlight the negative implications of Maher’s approach. "So, I sat at home and I'm watching this and all I could think of, I was like, oh, man, somebody needs to say something about this!" Corden said on his show The Late Show With James Corden.
"If only there was someone with a platform who knew what it was actually like to be overweight, and then I realised, 'Oh, that will be me.'"
“Fat-shaming never went anywhere," he continued. "Ask literally any fat person. We are reminded of it all the time — on aeroplanes, on Instagram. It's proven that fat-shaming only does one thing," he said. "It makes people feel ashamed, and shame leads to depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour. Let's be honest, fat-shaming is just bullying. It's bullying, and bullying only makes the problem worse,” he concluded.