They may have played friends, lovers, and eventually a married couple on Friends, but it turns out that actors Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox are distantly related. Eleventh cousins, to be exact. CNN reports that researchers at genealogy website MyHeritage did a little digging and found that they shared distant relatives, William Osbern Haskell III and Ellen Haskell, who were married and lived in England approximately 500 years ago. "Ellen and her two sons emigrated from England to America in 1635," they explained. "One son, Roger, is a direct ancestor of Courteney, and the second son, William, is a direct ancestor of Matthew."
The family tie is made through Cox's mother, Courteney Copeland, and Perry's father, John Bennett Perry. "We went into this line very deeply, we checked every name. We found a lot of records that support it, and we have confidence that they are related," Roi Mandel, the head of research at MyHeritage, told CNN. "This is not such a surprise. It makes sense that when you go so many generations back, the chances of people being connected are higher." Not only are Perry and Cox related, but Lady Gaga is also a distant member of their family tree.
The experts at MyHeritage didn't give a reason why they went this far down the family tree to find a connection, but interest in Friends is certainly at a high currently with the Thursday release of the HBO Max reunion special. From the sounds of things, the cast couldn't wait to reunite, relatives or not. Cox told PEOPLE ahead of the premiere that filming was an emotional experience for everyone. "I was flooded with 10 years of irreplaceable memories." LeBlanc added, "It's funny when we do get together, it's like no time has passed. We pick up right where we left off."
While Aniston admitted she first wondered how the cast would get through the reunion "without just crying our faces off," the crew said their "lightning in a bottle" chemistry was right back to how it used to be. "It was a character-driven funny, not timely funny," said Perry of Friends' enduring popularity. "They didn't make timely jokes. They didn't make jokes about O.J. Simpson. They made character-driven jokes about people — and people are going to come back time and time again and watch that."