Was Denise Even a Real Character In Friends? Fan Theory Offers a Guess

Was Denise Even a Real Character In Friends? Fan Theory Offers a Guess
Image credit: NBC

Shrewd theory states that Phoebe is not making up lies about Denise (we’re not so sure about her other stories, though).


  • One of the most-watched TV shows of all time, iconic NBC sitcom Friends ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004.
  • Among the show’s principal stars, Lisa Kudrow ’s Phoebe Buffay is particularly popular with the fandom due to her pronounced eccentricity.
  • In the show, Phoebe is prone to telling exaggerated tales about the details of her life, one of which involves an unseen woman named Denise.

Audiences have proposed a theory proving that Denise was actually present in the series all along.

Although the hit comedy series Friends has been off the air, it did leave a slew of questions in its wake, including one that has us wondering about how the titular group of best pals is able to afford renting a huge apartment in the center of New York City despite frequent financial distress.

One other mystery concerns the fan-favorite Phoebe Buffay, played by Lisa Kudrow, and her alleged lady friend Denise.

In the third episode of the show’s Season 6, then-bachelorette Rachel Greene, portrayed by Jennifer Aniston, asks to move in with Phoebe, who tries to brush her off by claiming that she already has a roommate named Denise.

Later in the episode, when Rachel runs out of housing options, Phoebe reconsiders and lets Rachel move to her room, revealing that Denise is away and won’t return until the day after Christmas.

This whole plot had fans puzzled, not helped by the fact that the absent-minded Phoebe is known – both within and outside the series – for her tendency to launch into stories of dubious veracity.

However, audiences on social media managed to put together a credible theory explaining that Denise may actually have been a visible part of the show, even if this was not noticed by fans.

The theory holds that, in a later episode taking place during Phoebe’s wedding, which occurs in Season 10, an unnamed woman among the bridesmaids who stands next to Monica and Rachel can actually be Denise.

Specifically, a member of the show’s fandom section on Reddit pointed out that Phoebe mentions talking about Denise all the time at one moment in the series, and shared a still from the scene with the stranger, identifying her as Denise.

“I talk about her all the time, DENISE OKAY???” - Phoebe
byu/Gutyenkhuk inhowyoudoin

Ironically, despite Phoebe’s statement mentioned above, this was the only nod to Denise that she dropped over the course of the show. We’re not going to use words like “goldfish memory”, but her obliviousness is certainly curious.

That said, this confusing scenario is a good illustration of Phoebe’s endearingly wacky and cloud-headed personality. She is an airheaded weirdo, and that’s how fans like it.