“I feel better because I look like myself”
To many of us, Courteney Cox will always be the beautiful, obsessive-compulsive character Monica Gellar from Friends. But it’s been 25 years since she first debuted on the hit series (yep, we can’t believe it either), and there’s no denying her appearance has changed quite dramatically, sparking a wave of rumours (just Google search ‘Courteney Cox plastic surgery’).
After facing a lot of criticism for her ever-changing facial features, the actress has come clean about undergoing fillers and anti-wrinkle injections and has recently spoken out about how she struggled with her ageing appearance for quite some time – especially in an industry where looks are *everything*.
“I would say it’s a common thing you go through as you age, especially in Hollywood,” the 55-year-old said in an interview with People. “You have to accept getting older, and that’s something that I had a hard time doing. [I tried] to keep up with time in a way that was anything other than maintenance. I didn’t realise it until one day I kind of stepped back and went, ‘Oh shit. I don’t look like myself’.”
“So now I just embrace who I am and getting older with what God gave me, not what I was trying to change. The things that I am not as comfortable with myself, they’re things that I continue to work on to grow and change.”
And this isn’t the first time she’s spoken about this topic. In an interview with New Beauty, the actress admitted that she regrets having work done in the past, and has since taken steps to have her fillers removed. “I’ve had all my fillers dissolved. I’m as natural as I can be,” she says. “I feel better because I look like myself. I think that I now look more like the person that I was. I hope I do.”
To give you a glimpse into Courteney Cox’s face transformation, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and check out how her face has changed over the years – before and after cosmetic intervention.
Covergirl for Tiger Beat Teen Magazine
At 20 years old, Courteney looks fresh-faced and bright-eyed, embracing big hair and bold brows. The actress shared the snap on Instagram, with one fan commenting, “[It] is a shame plastic surgery changed that beautiful face”.
‘Dancing In The Dark’ music video
Long before Friends was even a thought, Courteney shot to fame as the young actress pulled up on stage to dance during Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ video. And she absolutely killed it – with a muscle shirt, blue jeans and a glowing complexion, she looks like a natural beauty.
Yes, this happened! Donning spandex and a cropped hairstyle, Courteney starred in a Tampax commercial. She was in her early 20s at the time, so there were no filler or anti-wrinkle injections in sight. (Fun fact: she was the first woman to say ‘period’ on TV!).
Jacobs Ladder premiere
Pre-Friends, Courteney looks every bit an ‘80s covergirl, with voluminous hair, lined eyes and red lips. And can we just take a moment to appreciate how amazing her skin looks here?! So luminous! So clear! We die.
Season one of Friends
Here’s our gal! Courteney was 30-years-old when she took her first iconic role on Friends (even though she looks 20!). With a new shoulder-length bob, Courteney's locks perfectly accentuate her killer cheekbones and strong jawline.
2nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards
Showing off THOSE ‘90s-style brows and a trendy side-swept fringe, the actress walked the red carpet wearing a natural makeup look, putting the spotlight on her radiant skin and the smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks.
First Annual Project A.L.S. red carpet
Thin brows? Check. Chunky accessories? Check. While her appearance here looks a little different from that of previous years, Courteney’s complexion (and enviable cheekbones!) still look every bit stunning.
The 54th Emmy Primetime Music Awards
Nearing the end of Friends, Courteney still looks as young as she did when she first started filming the TV series. However, the actress recalls how at this point she was overly critical of her looks, especially in an industry where being young and beautiful is key to success. “I grew up thinking that appearance was the most important thing,” she told New Beauty. “That’s kind of sad because it got me in trouble. I was trying so hard to keep up, and I actually made things worse.”
Season one of Cougar Town
With a noticeably smoother and tighter complexion, this probably marks the start of her cosmetic journey. For Courteney Cox, fillers and anti-wrinkle injections gave her an avenue to stay ‘relevant’. Talking to Bear Grylls on his program Running Wild in 2016, she says, “I think there's a pressure to maintain [your looks] not just because of fame, but just being a woman in this business,” she explained. “Getting older, I don't think that's the easiest thing. But I have learned lessons. I think I was trying to keep up with getting older and trying to chase that. It's something you can't keep up with.”
Vintage Hollywood Fundraiser for Ocean Park Community Center
Here, Courteney begins to experiment with lip fillers, showing off a noticeably fuller pout, together with plump cheeks and a completely line-free complexion. While it’s pretty obvious she’s had some work done, there’s no denying the 47-year-old looks amazing for her age. However, when talking to New Beauty, she confessed that life in the limelight affected her self-esteem, and as a result she tried to combat ageing by seeing a surgeon and getting regular touch-ups to make her look more youthful. “What would end up happening is that you go to a doctor who would say, ‘You look great, but what would help is a little injection here or filler there’," she explained. "The next thing you know, you’re layered and layered and layered.”
Hand Of God premiere
Courteney shocked fans with her noticeably different appearance on the red carpet in late 2015. “You have no idea [how it really looks] because it’s gradual until you go, ‘Oh s--t, this doesn’t look right’,” she told New Beauty. “And it’s worse in pictures than in real life.”
“Things are going to change. Everything’s going to drop. I was trying to make it not drop, but that made me look fake. You need movement in your face, especially if you have thin skin like I do. Those aren’t wrinkles - they’re smile lines. I’ve had to learn to embrace movement and realise that fillers are not my friend.”
American Film Institute's 46th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to George Clooney
Walking the red carpet in 2018, Courteney showed off a more natural look, reverting back to a filler/injectable-free face. Courteney Cox now has no fillers, revealing that she let them dissolve and consequently feels more comfortable in her own skin. “I’m as natural as I can be. I feel better because I look like myself. I think that I now look more like the person that I was,” she told US Magazine. “I have done things that I regret, and luckily they’re things that dissolve and go away. So, um, that’s good, because it’s not always been my best look.”
Courteney’s 55th birthday celebrations
Courteney celebrated her 55th birthday with close pals and Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow, posting this EPIC reunion pic on Instagram. The actress put her glowing skin on full display, showing off her smile lines and looking every bit natural and fresh - a far cry from her almost unrecognisable appearance in 2015.
Looking for more celebrity beauty evolutions? Check out the insane beauty evolution of Miley Cyrus.
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.