(CNN) – In “Friends,” Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox played a couple of friends, then lovers, then husband and wife, over the course of a decade, but the two actors are actually distant cousins, according to genealogy experts.
“Friends” stars are eleventh cousins, researchers at the online genealogy website MyHeritage have discovered.
They found that Perry and Cox share distant relatives William Osbern Haskell III and Ellen Haskell, who married and lived in England about 500 years ago, the company told CNN.
Ellen and her two children immigrated to the United States from England in 1635. One of the children, Roger, is a direct ancestor of Courteney, and the second son, William, is a direct ancestor of Matthew, they said.
The connection is made through Cox’s mother, Courteney Copeland, and Perry’s father, John Bennett Perry.
Perry and Cox played one of the most beloved couples in comedy series history. Its characters, Chandler Bing and Monica Geller, met midway through 10 years of “Friends,” married in the seventh season, and became parents in the show’s final episode.
“My eyes! My eyes! ”Phoebe Buffay yelled when she found out they were in a relationship; a response that became one of the most famous scenes on the show and that seems even more fitting given the actors’ connection to real life.
“We went into this line very thoroughly, we verified each name. We found a lot of records to back it up, and we are confident they are related, ”Roi Mandel, MyHeritage head of research, told CNN.
But while uncovering the couple’s bond required a significant amount of research, it’s not especially unusual.
“This is not a surprise. It makes sense that when you go back so many generations, the chances of people being connected are greater, ”Mandel said.
To find the connection, the company used various databases containing billions of historical records, including birth and death certificates.
He also found that both actors are distant relatives of singer Lady Gaga.
The cast of “Friends” got together to a special program single episode, which will air on HBO Max this Thursday. (HBO and CNN share parent company, WarnerMedia.)
Cox told “Good Morning America” this week that the experience of being back on the old set of the show “was so emotional we started crying.”