Playing Ross Geller on Friends was the role of a lifetime for David Schwimmer, but his sudden rise to fame due to the show’s popularity was something that he struggled with.
During an interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatterpodcast, Schwimmer — who, unlike the rest of his Friends costars, stayed out of the spotlight once the show ended in 2004 — spoke about the difficulty he had adjusting to his newfound fame when the NBC sitcom became a smash hit.
“It was pretty jarring and it messed with my relationship to other people in a way that took years, I think, for me to kind of adjust to and become comfortable with,” he said. “As an actor, the way I was trained, my job was to observe life and to observe other people, and so I used to walk around with my head up, and really engaged and watching people. The effect of celebrity was the absolute opposite: It made me want to hide under a baseball cap, not be seen. And I realized after a while that I was no longer watching people; I was trying to hide. So I was trying to figure out: How do I be an actor in this new world, in this new situation? How do I do my job? So that was tricky.”