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Friends Gunther Star James Michael Tyler Looks Unrecognisable 26 Years On

Friends Gunther Star James Michael Tyler Looks Unrecognisable 26 Years On

The actor is known best for starring as the Central Perk coffee shop manager.

Joanna Freedman

Joanna Freedman

Friends fans are feeling a bit sentimental recently, what with the reunion dropping imminently.

But now we've just discovered something that's bound to make them feel even more nostalgic. Have you seen what Gunther looks like now?

Yep, James Michael Tyler, the TV star who played Gunther, looks absolutely unrecognisable today.

Gunther was a pivotal part of the Friends cast (
Warner Bros)

And while we know it's not a shocker that he's changed in 26 years, we still couldn't help but gasp when we saw the glow up...

Now, gone is the bleached blonde hair, which Rachel once dubbed "brighter than the sun", and instead James is sporting a darker beard and a moustache.

Take a look for yourself:

Gunther has a beard now! (
Instagram/ James Michael Tyler)

We're sure you'll agree Gunther - sorry... James - looks a far cry from the nervous, awkward manager of Central Perk who graced our screens alongside Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross for 150 episodes and 10 whole seasons.

Currently living in Hollywood, James is still an actor today, having recently starred in a short film called The Gesture And The Word, which won awards at Birmingham Film Festival.

He also previously starred in another independent film called Processing, and before that in 2013 TV series Modern Music, where he appeared as Chad Levitz.

Tyler in The Gesture And The Word (
Burden & Light)

He also filmed for an unaired pilot satire comedy called Nobody's Watching, in which he played himself on the set of Central Perk.

While James spent the 10 seasons he appeared on Friends - between between 1994 and 2004 - married to his ex, Barbara Chadsey, they split in 2014, citing "irreconcilable differences".

He is now married again, to a woman named Jennifer Carno, and she can be seen in several of his artsy Instagram shots today.

James and his new wife, Jennifer (
Instagram/ James Michael Tyler)

The story of how James got cast in Friends is a funny one. He was an extra who ended up landing the role because he was the only one who knew how to use a coffee machine. Result!

It turns out his signature peroxide blonde hair was a happy accident, too, as his friend who was a hairdresser had been experimenting on him ahead of landing the gig.

But, as it turns out, the production team loved the look, and so it stayed. Just imagine how different Gunther could have been...

James was cast as Gunther by happy accident (
Warner Bros)

While it's hard to imagine, at first, Rachel's admirer didn't even have a name - on the call sheet, he was known as 'Coffee Guy'.

But as the series evolved so did James' character, and by episode 33 the moniker Gunther was born, and so was the largely silent but omnipresent character that followed the main protagonists and brewed their coffees through all of the ups and downs in their lives.

Speaking on where he thinks his beloved Friends character is today, James said on This Morning in 2019 that he'd likely have "some kids running around" and still be managing Central Perk today.

James has now forgone the bleached blonde hair and clean-shaven look (
Instagram/ James Michael Tyler)

He added that the ending of the series was "bittersweet".

"I bonded with the entire cast and crew, they were family," he told Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. "It was sad knowing I wasn't going back like I had for the last 10 years but it ended on a good note."

You can catch James Michael Tyler in the Friends reunion, alongside other stars including Maggie Wheeler (Janice), Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles (Jack and Judy Geller) and Reese Witherspoon (Jill Green).

Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox and Matt LeBlanc will of course also be back.

Friends: The Reunion will air on HBO Max on 27th May.

If you're watching it from the UK, Sky has announced it'll be broadcasting it on 27th May at 8pm and on demand on NOW from 8am.

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros

Topics: TV News, TV Entertainment, Friends