Courteney Cox rose to fame playing type-A personality and chef Monica Geller on the pop culture phenomenon Friends. When the iconic sitcom went off the air in 2004, she seemed poised to achieve even greater fame on the big screen or on TV, but her career hasn’t flourished as much as fans might’ve expected.
So, why won’t Hollywood cast Cox anymore? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons her career hasn’t been as hot as anticipated lately. Losing the part Cox nearly kicked off her post-Friends career with another starring role on a mega-hit series.
The actress was in the running to play Susan Meyer in ABC’s prime time soap opera Desperate Housewives. In fact, she was reportedly producer Marc Cherry’s first choice for the part, but she had to pass on it because she was pregnant with her daughter Coco at the time. As a result, the role went to Teri Hatcher, and Cox missed out on the next big thing on the small screen. “Aw, what are the CHANCES!?” Instead, Cox’s first major post-Friends role was in 2006’s ill-fated comedy Zoom.
“Let’s get this party started!” The movie was a commercial flop, grossing only $12.5 million worldwide against its $75 million budget, and was also panned by critics, scoring a dismal 3 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. She then made her highly-anticipated return to the small screen in 2007 as Lucy Spiller, an unsympathetic tabloid editor, in Dirt. But the intense FX dramedy struggled to find its footing—and an audience—during the uncertainty of the writers’ strike going on at the time.
The show was met with a lukewarm critical reception, and its ratings steadily dwindled. With production halting mid-second-season due to the strike, the network unceremoniously canceled the series in 2008. And Cox’s next series would nearly suffer a similar fate. A rocky new start After Dirt was canned, Cox focused on developing Cougar Town, a quirky comedy which featured her chugging wine with her pals in a small town that seems to revolve around her.
The show was undoubtedly her biggest post-Friends success and actually earned her first and only Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. But just like her previous efforts to reclaim her spot on the TV throne, the show struggled to find an audience throughout its entire six-season run. The show almost always seemed on the verge of cancellation, suffering from difficult time slots, fizzling ratings, and mixed reviews. Even an attempt to revitalize the show with a new home at TBS in 2012 failed to bring any new energy to the show, and it was ultimately shuttered in 2015 without much fanfare. Behind the lens After Friends, Cox began amassing a body of work behind the lens as well, with mixed results.
She served as a producer on several shows, including Dirt and Cougar Town as well as Daisy Does America and Celebrity Name Game. She also tried her hand at directing, whelming several episodes of Cougar Town before making her feature-length directorial debut in 2014. The film, titled Just Before I Go, was billed as a dramedy but failed to impress critics or audiences. Reviewers slammed it as filled with crass jokes and uneven attempts at emotional resonance, while audiences never showed up to see it. To her credit, Cox refused to let naysayers keep her down, telling the Wrap:
“I’m never more creatively fulfilled than when I’m directing. I love immersing myself in every aspect.”
But if her inaugural movie effort was any indication, she might want to be more choosey with her future projects. Back to natural Courtney Cox was as fresh-faced as they come when she got her big break on Friends, but in the years that followed, her face started to look remarkably different on-camera. In 2016, the actress came clean about her prior use of Botox, facial fillers, and laser treatments, and admitted that the procedures made her look “fake.” “I think there’s a pressure to maintain.
She ultimately decided to let her fillers dissolve, allowing her face to return to its natural state and restoring her confidence. Cox certainly isn’t the only actress who’s dealt with the pressures of trying to find the fountain of youth in Hollywood, but if her interventions rendered her unrecognizable, it very well could have hindered her career progress at the time.
Personal projects In addition to raising her daughter and staging impromptu Friends reunions, Cox has also been devoting much of her time to changing the world. The actress is a supporter of a number of charities, but the cause closest to her heart is the fight against ALS.
Ever since her friend, publicist Nanci Ryder, was diagnosed in 2014, the actress has done her part to raise awareness about the disease. Cox has also worked closely with OmniPeace, which builds music schools in Rwanda to help empower children who are living in poverty, and the Dignity Campaign, which aids mothers in prison. Meanwhile, she’s taken her personal passions to the professional realm as well, having recently directed the music video for Joel Taylor’s “Two Sides” and beginning work on a new documentary series about the pregnancy process. Perhaps one of these new adventures, which may be nearer and dearer to her heart, will mark the start of a new career revival for Courteney Cox.