Jan. 25, 2010 -- It's the tale of two pictures.
In one, Matt LeBlanc, his once dark mop of hair thinning and peppered with gray, wears a checkered flannel shirt that does little to hide the extra pounds he's obviously added since his "Friends" heyday.
In the other, LeBlanc's co-star Jennifer Aniston, her golden locks perfectly tussled, wears a sleeveless black dress slit up to there that shows off her muscular thighs and arms.
The two pictures tell the tale of what's happened to the "Friends" co-stars since their successful series ended nearly six years ago. LeBlanc, who once played the show's heartthrob Joey, was nearly unrecognizable when he was photographed last week leaving a trendy Hollywood restaurant. Aniston, on the other hand, never looked better as she strolled the red carpet at the recent Golden Globe Awards.
LeBlanc and his male co-stars, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry, appear to have let themselves go now that they are no longer in the spotlight and are struggling to find work. According to the UK's Daily Mail, they still meet up semi-regularly for breakfast at a Malibu diner, but their get-togethers these days are more like a self-help group.
The women of "Friends," Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow, have faired much better, with Aniston, by far, finding the most success at the box office. But even Aniston has struggled in her personal life, bouncing from boyfriend to boyfriend, becoming something of a poster girl for desperation.
For months, there has been speculation that the "Friends" cast will reunite on the big screen, but there is still no official deal. With the recent success of the "Sex and the City" movie, some of the "Friends" co-stars, perhaps more than others, must be hoping a deal can be finalized soon.
Until the friends can get back together, ABCNews.com looks at what they've been doing since the show wrapped.
After his ill-fated "Friends" spin-off "Joey" was cancelled after one season in 2006, LeBlanc, now 42, had few callers.
Four years later, he has finally landed a role on "Episodes," a new Showtime comedy series created by one of the producers of "Friends."
Jennifer Aniston Finds Success
In the new series that spoofs the TV business, LeBlanc will play a version of himself.
"I am so glad I got the part," LeBlanc told The Hollywood Reporter. "Seeing someone else play Matt LeBlanc would have been devastating."
Even so, it hasn't been easy being Matt LeBlanc lately. His marriage to British model Melissa McKnight failed around the time "Joey" did. According to People magazine, the couple was dealing with daughter Marina suffering seizures shortly after birth until she was 2. Then as the couple's third anniversary approached, LeBlanc suddenly moved out and began seeing his "Joey" co-star Andrea Anders. LeBlanc also made tabloid headlines after he admitted to groping a stripper at a Canadian nightclub.
Post-"Friends," Aniston has had her share of box office hits, "Marley & Me" and "The Break-Up," and misses, "He's Just Not That into You" and "Rumor Has It." Still, she has successfully made the leap from the small to the big screen and has frequently made Forbes' lists for her fame and earnings.
These days, though, it's her personal life that has seemed to eclipse her professional life. Aniston, now 40, has made headlines for posing provocatively on the covers of magazines. When she appeared nude on the cover of GQ in January 2009, she told the magazine she feels more comfortable with herself now than in her 20s or early 30s. "I'm healthier. I'm more at peace in my mind and with my body," she said.
She also seems to have made peace with her breakup to Brad Pitt. After their five-year storybook marriage ended, Pitt began seeing Angelina Jolie. While Pitt and Jolie may or may not be ensconced in domestic bliss, with their six children, Aniston has been linked with several different men, including Vince Vaughn, John Mayer, model Paul Sculfor and currently Gerard Butler.
Perry, 40, has been unable to find his groove since playing Chandler on the hit sitcom.
His attempts to repeat his "Friends" success on the small screen have fallen flat. His 2006 series "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" was dropped by NBC after the first season because of poor ratings. Last year, he tried again to return to television as a radio talk show host in "The End of Steve," but the dark comedy was scrapped after just one episode.
Courteney Cox Puts Family First
Perry has had equally bad luck on the big screen. In his first film role after "Friends," Perry played a man a chronically depressed man in the 2007 movie "Numb." The film flopped at the box office. His most recent role in "17 Again" was better received, but he played second banana to star Zac Efron.
In the past, Perry has admitted to struggles with depression and alcohol and prescription drug addiction. Production on 2002's "Serving Sara" had to be shut down for three months while Perry checked into rehab.
"Your consciousness has to change and, I was very lucky and smart enough to realize that at that moment, it was life and death time, and movies, acting, dating, sports and everything just have to take a sideline to this," he told Film Monthly at the time.
Cox, 45, turned her focus to family following the end of "Friends."
After trying for so long to get conceive, she was finally pregnant with daughter Coco when "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry wanted to cast her as Susan. The role went instead to Teri Hatcher.
A few years later, in 2007, she launched her comeback playing a tabloid editor in the FX sitcom "Dirt," which she and husband David Arquette produced. The show was canceled after the second season because of poor ratings. A long guest appearance on the NBC series "Scrubs" led to Cox's current role as a 40-something divorced real estate agent re-entering the dating scene in ABC's "Cougar Town."
"I think Courteney Cox is great at playing the comedy of discomfort," executive producer Bill Lawrence told ABCNews.com.
Lawrence, who also produced "Scrubs," approached Cox with the sitcom after he heard through the grapevine that she was looking to do comedy again. "She's a fearless comedian."
Apparently, the role couldn't have come at a better time. According to the Daily Mail, Cox had applied for a license to work as a real estate agent in real life too. With the series off to a good start, Cox has intimated that she'd like to have more children.
David Schwimmer Turned Down for Roles
"We're not trying yet. We're revving up the engines," she told OK magazine. "I'm only ready 'cause time's a-ticking."
Cox's co-star Schwimmer must be feeling the same way about time ticking away.
He has spent much of the last six years out of the limelight, working with his small theater group, the Lookingglass, in Chicago and trying to launch a career as a movie director.
He has had limited success as a director. His 2007 film "Run, Fat Boy, Run," a British romantic comedy, bombed at the box office, but USA Today said Schwimmer possessed filmmaking finesse "having wisely chosen strong comic material for his debut behind the camera."
In front of the camera, Schwimmer, 43, hasn't seen much action besides guest starring roles on "30 Rock" and "Entourage," where he played himself. Ironically, in the "Entourage" episode, agent Ari Gold tries to steer his career back to television.
But, according to the Daily Mail, Schwimmer has had to return to auditioning for parts, even while being turned down for top roles.
Like Perry, Schwimmer remains single.
Kudrow, 46, has had mixed success since the end of "Friends."
The year after the series ended, she followed up with "The Comeback," an HBO series in which she starred as a has-been sitcom star trying for a comeback. Kudrow, who was also a writer and producer of the series, earned an Emmy nomination for her role. Unfortunately, the series was not picked up for a second season.
Her film work has also had mixed success. "Hotel for Dog" did well but "P.S. I Love You" tanked.
Recently she reunited with one of her "Friends" castmates, appearing on "Cougar Town" opposite Cox, where she played a dermatologist who Cox continues to see despite the way Kudrow's character mistreats her.