Millionaire ‘screams’, parties with Prince Henry and no more touch-ups: Why Courteney Cox is ‘popular again’

Her age positivity, the latest installment of ‘Scream’ and a dose of royal gossip have aligned to bring the ‘Friends’ actress back to the spotlight

Courteney Cox Friends
Courteney Cox.

“To be friends with Courteney is to be family with Courteney. She’s responsible for all of that. From the beginning of Friends, she was immediately inclusive, warm, loving, interested in everything about you. [...] We love you. You’re sisters from another mister, and we love you.” With these words, Jennifer Aniston showed how sorority can thrive in Hollywood through the years, the fame, the fortune and the — nearly legitimate — rivalries, contradicting the fatalistic cliché that “most of the successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings,” as articulated by Marlon Brando.

It wasn’t just Aniston. Other women, such as Lisa Kudrow and Laura Dern, also took the floor on February 27 to celebrate Courteney Cox, 58, on the occasion of the unveiling of her Walk of Fame star — a ceremony that coincides with the unexpected resurrection of her acting career through the greatest cinematographic achievement of a career full of rough patches and interruptions that has just reached an unpredicted cruising speed.

Courteney Cox
Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow joined their ‘Friends’ co-star Courteney Cox for the unveiling of her Walk of Fame star.LEON BENNETT (Getty)

With more than $100 million raised in just 10 days, the sixth part of the Scream franchise has become its highest grossing installment since its premiere back in 1996. At that time, Courteney Cox was already one of the most popular actresses in America thanks to her role as Monica Geller, the connecting link of the famous group of Friends — and the one that the audiences will forever associate with her. But it was not her first; in the 1980s, Cox worked as a model and an advertising actress, before landing a recurring role in the series Family Ties alongside Michael J. Fox.

Her beginnings were so difficult that a few days before getting that job, she was just about to return to Birmingham, her hometown, to work with her father selling swimming pools, due to a grim lack of money. Today, her fortune is estimated at $150 million, not only thanks to her work in Friends, but also from her famous house-flipping abilities. “I’m from Birmingham, Alabama… [Having a star on the Walk of Fame] is just not something you think would be a possibility,” said the actress, who once again became journalist Gale Weathers to serve as a link between the original cast of Scream and a younger generation led by people like Jenna Ortega (Wednesday).

Just a couple of years ago, before the impact of the recent horror film and the Friends reunion renewed interest in Cox, that Walk of Fame star seemed much more distant. Her career seemed to be at a standstill after the end of Cougar Town, a series where she played a divorced woman who tries to revitalize her intimate life and which stands as her only semi-successful job after having said goodbye to the role of Monica; a hiatus of almost 10 years in which she focused on her business side to found Homecourt, a brand of home care products such as soaps, cleaning sprays and air fresheners. She herself has admitted to having shifted the focus of her career towards business and her intimate life. The years after Cougar Town “I didn’t feel very relevant [...] I think they probably forgot about me for a while,” she mused in the Just for Variety podcast.

During that time, Courteney Cox only made headlines due to her cosmetic touch-ups. The pressure to look younger and the inherent ageism of the industry took their toll on her, as she herself admitted later. “There was a time in my life when I thought, ‘Oh no, I’m changing, I look older.’ So I spent years chasing the illusion of youth,” she told The Times, not without regret. “I had not realized that I had become crazy about it. One day I realized ‘Oh my god, I look really weird with all these injections and everything I’m doing to my face’ [...] I had to stop, it was really too much.” Cox gradually removed the facial fillers and claims to feel “more natural” than ever, using her Instagram account (with more than 12 million followers) to mock the pressure to stay young through funny skits. “The place I am in right now is the happiest I’ve ever been,” she declares.

Courteney Cox
Courteney Cox poses with her daughter Coco at the ‘Scream VI’ premiere.Evan Agostini (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The actress has also been in the news in recent weeks due to the public presentation of her only daughter, Coco (whose godmother is Jennifer Aniston), born in June 2004 as a result of her relationship with actor David Arquette, whom she met on the set of the first installment of Scream. After divorcing in 2009, the actress began a relationship with her partner of the last decade, musician John McDaid. Coco, 18, is still focused on her studies, although she has already taken her first steps in the world of acting and seems to be on her way to become an official nepo baby.

We first saw evidence of Coco’s talent in some videos made during Cox’s famous parties. Stars like Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres and Ed Sheeran (who gives her a sex mask as a gift every time she lets him stay at her house when he travels to the United States) have visited her Malibu mansion. The public’s interest on her parties also skyrocketed this year after Prince Harry revealed in his memoir Spare that he had consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms at her house. Cox – the Prince’s crush during his teenage years – replied to that with her characteristic sense of humor: “I definitely wasn’t passing them out.”

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