Friends was one of the most popular shows of the 90s. The show was loved by millions and aired for 10 years, helping to make all the stars household names.
One of the best things about Friends was that they had so many guest stars. Each season had some huge names come and join the cast for a few special episodes. Sometimes they would appear as themselves but a lot of the time they would play a character.
Some really big names came to Central Perk over the years, including Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Tom Selleck, Susan Surandon, Brad Pitt and even Bruce Willis.
It turns out, the story behind Bruce Willis’s appearance on the show is really bizarre compared to the rest of the guest stars.
Willis played Paul Stevens, the father of Ross’s much younger girlfriend, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a student at the college Ross was teaching at, which meant that dating him wasn’t technically allowed.
Paul, Elizabeth’s dad, hates Ross right away because of the big age gap between him and his daughter, and threatens to get him fired. However, he ends up meeting Rachel and they hit it off. She convinces Paul to go to dinner with Ross and Elizabeth, to try and show him how good of a person he is, but it doesn’t really go as planned.
The entire Paul arc ends when he and Rachel have a discussion of about his childhood and he can’t stop crying. Rachel ends up breaking up with him and that’s the end of Bruce Willis in Friends, but it’s still hard to believe that they managed to land such a huge star for so many episodes.
How did Bruce Willis end up on the show for so long? It turns out it was all because of a bet…
Bruce Willis was in a movie with Friends star Matthew Perry that was called The Whole Nine Yards. Willis wasn’t as confident in the movie’s potential as Perry was and the rumor is that they made a little bet.
Apparently, Perry bet Willis that if the movie made it to number one at the box office, Willis would have to appear on Friends for free.
While the reviews of the movie were mixed, it managed to come out on the top of the box office for three whole weeks. Which meant that Willis was going to be on the show.
The actors didn’t confirm that there was a bet, but Willis did say that “[he] agreed to a guest stint on Friends simply because he and Perry thought it would be fun.”
Whether he did it for fun or for a bet, the fact is he DID do it for free. He was on three episodes of Friends, and while that would normally earn a good amount of money, he donated all of it to charity. He split the money between The American Foundation for AIDS Research, AIDS Project Los Angeles, The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, The Rape Treatment Center ad UCLA Unicamp for underprivileged children.
A very generous donation for sure! Willis went on to win an Emmy for his role on Friends, proving that what goes around comes around!