Courteney Cox: Fabulous at 50

It is a tricky age for women in the workplace – never mind a celebrity A-Lister

Share

Courteney Cox was 50 on Sunday. Yes, Monica is 50! Our Friends really are getting older – much as we might struggle with the concept. Cox is actually the second of the six Friends to reach the landmark, after Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe).

Cox was already 30 when she auditioned for the role of Rachel, which went to Jennifer Aniston and her hair. Instead she became Monica, the OCD younger sister of David Schwimmer’s Ross, who initially shared her apartment with Phoebe before marrying Ross’s friend Chandler.

So, after a decade of playing a character 10 years younger than herself she was almost 40 when “The Last One”, the final episode of the most popular sitcom ever, aired to 52 million US viewers. It is famously a tricky age for women in the workplace – never mind a celebrity A-Lister.

It’s still harder for someone etched so deeply in our psyches as a particular character of a certain age. As with the surviving Beatles, Pele or Robert De Niro, we find it very difficult to accept our heroes ageing before our eyes because we see ourselves reflected back through their changing physical appearances.

It’s not just wrinkles. Every awful jig, thumbs-up and croaky “Hey Jude” of Sir Paul McCartney’s; every clichéd frown of de Niro’s in a lame comedy; every erectile dysfunction ad or other demeaning commercial endorsement of Pele’s diminishes them before our eyes.

Conversely, we are all familiar with the “live fast, die fast” young rocker, actor or even president: from JFK to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe; through Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin; to Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger and Amy Winehouse. Their images will be embalmed in youth.

Without meaning to be crass, it can be tougher to survive: McCartney or Mick Jagger, Roger Daltrey or Kirk Douglas, and worse still Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, or even Madonna. The subject reared its ugly head at this year’s Oscars when the appearance of one-time screen siren Kim Novak caused a cyber meltdown along “OMG she’s old” lines!

We had not seen much of Novak in decades. However, like McCartney and the other Friends, Cox has had a post-series career. She has succeeded better than Schwimmer, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, and Kudrow. Only Aniston has headlined more movies than Cox’s Scream series (with mixed success), and – love it or loathe it – at least Cougar Town isn’t merely an extended selfie like Le Blanc’s Episodes.

That was, of course, until her high-profile but relentlessly respectable divorce from her ex-husband David Arquette, and her recently becoming one half of a “cougar” couple with the much younger Snow Patrol singer Johnny McDaid. This is “i” not Heat, so I mention it merely as evidence of her further success in handling middle age in the public eye.

She isn’t being crucified for her relationship, nor her looks, not even her career choices. Although Cougar Town, which gave her a host of awards nominations now has an uncertain future, and her first attempt at directing, Just Before I Go has met with mixed reviews, Cox is still out there thriving and achieving.

It is more than can be said of some of her cast mates and nothing less than you would expect of the highly competitive Monica. When the world wants you to remain the twentysomething you actually never were, that’s no mean feat.

Stefano Hatfield is editor-in-chief of High50

Twitter.com: @stefanohat

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW London

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Payable Assistant - SW Londo...

Recruitment Genius: Bathroom Showroom Customer Service / Sales Assistant

£14560 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Even though their premises have...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Manager

£44000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Marketing company based in cent...

Recruitment Genius: IT Installation / Commissioning Engineer - North West

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Installation / Commission...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Mininster: I would legislate for abortion on demand and abolish VAT on sanitary products

Caroline Criado-Perez
 

Election catch-up: Just what the election needs – another superficially popular but foolish policy

John Rentoul
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence