EXCLUSIVE: How Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston's love for each other on and ... trends now
It was the romance that almost was.
But the couple who loved each other so much knew that if ever they tumbled into bed together it would spoil everything.
That may sound like a storyline from Friends but it wasn't. It actually played out offscreen.
But now, following Perry's tragic weekend death aged just 54, Aniston is left wondering what might have been had she fallen for him.
'Nobody shed more tears for Matthew during the darkest points of his struggles with addiction than Jennifer,' one close friend of the actress told DailyMail.com.
Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston had remained close friends years after Friends ended and up until his death last weekend
The cast of the hit show got together for their long-awaited reunion in 2021 – 17 years after the series ended
Perry was consoled by his co-star during the tearful reunion with the cast
'There was speculation at the time of the 2021 Friends reunion that Matthew wouldn't be a part of it because his demons had gotten the better of him. But Jennifer absolutely wouldn't have done it without him.
'He put in the work and made it a success even though he seemed frail.
'But Jennifer genuinely thought his worst days were behind him. So his death just two years later has come as a bitter body blow to her.
'It doesn't matter whether he died as a result of a freak accident or whether it was directly connected to his drug issues, this was a day that Jennifer has dreaded coming for 20 years,' added the friend.
'She always wanted to help Matthew any way she could – that was a constant for her.'
The cause of death has been deferred while waiting for toxicology reports which typically take six to eight weeks. Police say they found prescription pills at his house but no illegal drugs.
Aniston and Perry – born just six months apart – were the youngest of the six Friends and as such stuck up an immediate camaraderie when the show first started shooting in 1994.
He wrote in his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing that they had first met three years before Friends started and he tried to date her but she turned him down.
Aniston and Perry's bond never went beyond friendship, with insiders describing it as 'a typical brother-sister type relationship where they really watched out for each other'
The deep love and closeness between the pair was evident over the years, though the two never took a shot at romance
A clip of Jennifer breaking down in tears as she discussed the 'idea of losing' her co-star and friend, Matthew, due to addiction has resurfaced – two days after the actor was found dead
'I was immediately taken by her (how could I not be?) and liked her, and I got the sense she was