“I’ll be there for you” certainly rings true for Friends star Lisa Kudrow and her husband Michel Stern; the pair have been married for nearly 30 years! Though her castmates have been down the aisle a time or two, Kudrow is the only Friends star currently married and never divorced. She and Stern tied the knot in 1995 and welcomed their son Julian in 1998, but there’s definitely more to the story when it comes to Kudrow’s relationships leading up to the one. (Did you know she once dated Conan O’Brien?)
There's no doubt that Kudrow and Stern are in it for the long haul. The couple keeps a very low profile; they’re not often seen together, save a handful of red-carpet appearances, and they rarely speak about their relationship, though the Emmy-winning actress has shared a few details about how they make it work decade after decade. "When [Michel and I] decided to get married, we understood: We're not promising to love each other forever, because you can't do that, but we are promising to work on whatever problems come up,” Kudrow told Glamour in 2014. “We're committed to our marriage working. It turns out, after you have a history, there's such a bond, and love takes another shape. [Marriage] is like being on a team. Each teammate is different, but you have the same goal," she said.
- The couple first met in the late '80s, but they didn't begin dating until the early '90s.
- Kudrow and Stern got married in 1995.
- They welcome their son, Julian, in 1998.
- Kudrow and Stern celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2020.
1980s: The First Meeting
The Friends star first met her future husband, a French advertising executive, when he was dating her roommate at the time. Kudrow felt the sparks but thought it was probably a bad idea to make a move, given the circumstances. "I was living with [a] French girl and he had just moved here and they were dating when we first met. But I'm freakishly polite, so I saw him and went, 'Well, he's the perfect man and it's all ruined because now they're together and I can't (make a play for him),'” Kudrow has said, according to the Daily Mail. "I thought, ‘That’s not nice to flirt.’ But the minute I saw him I went, 'Well, that's it, there he is.’”
Early 1990s: Kudrow Gives Conan O’Brien a Chance
The two comedy icons briefly dated after meeting in an improv class. "He was really smart, really funny, and he thought I was funny," Kudrow said of O’Brien, according to Daily News. “But we found we were better as friends.”
Mid-1990s: Love Blossoms
Clearly everything worked out for Kudrow and Stern, who were reunited after their initial introduction—after Stern had split from Kudrow’s former roommate, of course. “They went out for two and a half months and six years later I met him again at her birthday party and we just never stopped,” Kudrow explained to the Daily Mail. According to Kudrow, the couple is still friends with the former roommate. All’s well that ends well!
May 27, 1995: Wedding Bells
The pair were married in Malibu in 1995. Kudrow wore a white off-the-shoulder column dress with long sleeves and a string of pearls and wore her signature sunny blonde hair in a glamorous updo. Kudrow’s Friends costars were in attendance (save David Schwimmer, who was filming a movie). The wedding had a casual vibe, and Kudrow even let friends and family members pick flowers for her bouquet. “I didn’t want the wedding to be too storybook,” Kudrow told PEOPLE at the time. “I’m not that type.” The couple wrote their own vows and said them in both English and French. Très romantique!
May 7, 1998: A Baby Joins the Family
Julian Murray Stern joined the family in May 1998. Kudrow’s real-life pregnancy was famously written into Phoebe’s storyline on Friends when she served as a surrogate for her brother. According to Kudrow, the cast gave the unborn baby some love before filming. "The six of us would do a huddle backstage and just say, 'All right, have a good show, love you love you love you love you.' And when I was pregnant, then they would say, 'Have a great show, love you love you—love you, little Julian!' 'Cause we knew it was a boy and that was his name," she shared with PEOPLE in 2018.
According to Kudrow, Julian entered the world singing. “21 years ago today this boy entered the world SINGING, no joke. Thank you,” she wrote in an Instagram post on his birthday in 2019, sharing two sweet pics of her son as a baby and toddler.
Similar to her relationship, Kudrow keeps her family life relatively private and doesn’t share too many details about Julian, outside of a few Instagram posts from time to time, but the Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion star did play the proud mom when he graduated from USC in 2021. The actress shared a cute pic of herself and her son in his cap and gown, saying she was “happy proud HAPPY” and did “a little crying.”
September 1998: An Exciting Night at the Emmys
Stern was by Kudrow’s side when she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Friends season four. Kudrow wore a black halter neck column gown with ribbon detail and styled her hair in a sleek, brushed back and curled under bob, while her husband donned a tux sans tie and pair of sunglasses.
2003: The Whole Family Hits the Red Carpet
Kudrow, Stern, and Julian made a super-rare public appearance as a family in 2003 when they attended a P.S. ARTS and Old Navy event for arts education. Kudrow channeled Phoebe in a boho-chic mustard yellow caftan over pants, while Julian and Stern looked cute in matching red baseball caps.
August 2006: A Return to the Emmy Awards
Stern once again supported his wife at the 2006 Emmy Awards, where she was nominated for Oustanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for The Comeback. The pair wore strikingly similar outfits to their 1998 appearance, with Kudrow once again in a black gown and Stern in a tuxedo with an icy white tie.
November 2014: Teamwork
Kudrow shared more about her decades-long marriage in an interview with Glamour, saying that one of the reasons their relationship works is that they let each other do their own thing. "[Michel and I] respect each other's independence, and I don't mean that as a euphemism," she shared. "I don't mean relationship-wise outside the marriage ... I think people get in trouble [when they assume they're] supposed to be one unit, in sync about everything. [Marriage] is like being on a team. Each teammate is different, but you have the same goal."
December 2015: Kudrow and Stern Dress to the Nines
The private pair were snapped together at the Petersen Automotive Museum re-opening gala in Los Angeles in 2015, marking one of their more recent red carpet appearances. (We told you they were private!) The longtime loves stuck to their go-to black and grey palette, with Stern in a pinstripe suit and Kudrow in an all-black suit.
2020: The 25th Anniversary
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on Kudrow’s 25th anniversary celebration. At the time, the star told ET that Stern was in Palm Springs and she was back home in Los Angeles with their son. "We were all together in the desert because we have a house there. And then there was the lock-in, so we just stayed put," Kudrow said of the early days of quarantine. "But that house needed work. And then what happened was, it got to be hotter, as it does in the Palm Springs area, so it was too hot for me." Stern stayed to supervise the renovations. "We are so used to not actually being able to be together on our anniversary," Kudrow recounted. "We were like, 'Oh, well. Does it matter? I love you. You still love me? Yeah. Great. We're good.'"
Sometimes, it's just that simple.