Jane Sibbett (right) played Carol over 15 episodes of Friends / Picture Credit: NBC
Jane Sibbett (right) played Carol over 15 episodes of Friends / Picture Credit: NBC

If you're somebody who watches TV, then you'll know all about NBC comedy Friends and have more than likely watched a fair few episodes over and over again. It's one of the longest-standing television shows in terms of quality and rewatchability, and whilst some jokes now fall flat due to being a product of the past, the sheer majority of the series can be enjoyed still to this day.

Though she wasn't one of the core five members of the show's cast, Jane Sibbett was an incredibly important addition in her role of Carol Willick. As Ross Gellar's first ex-wife, she appeared in a total of 15 episodes, but still made a huge impact on the audience while doing so.

See, Carol was one of few LGBTQ+ characters on the small screen back when Friends was airing, so as an actor, Sibbett was a target for all sorts of homophobia at the time. That's something the star has now opened up a little more about.

Speaking in a new interview with Now To Love, she explained: "It became apparent soon after [beginning to play Carol] there was suddenly a responsibility about being able to stand up against all of the people that were saying this was wrong, including my own father who had a really hard time with that. I was going toe to toe with people on talk shows in America, who were saying, you know, this and this and this is the reason why you shouldn’t be doing this. I would have to break things down for them. And I felt like it was really important for me to be super clear; love is the most important, of all the things that we could possibly do love is the most important way forward from anybody. So, that was my biggest responsibility, to make sure that people knew that."

On a personal level, Sibbett went on to say how her father eventually came around to understanding why it was important to have somebody like Carol on the show, which is likely a reflection for many Americans and people around the globe who had negative opinions when she was first introduced.

Still, LGBTQ+ representation in TV still has a long way to go. We do see many groundbreaking relationships, characters and scenarios nowadays, but often screenwriters are accused of "gaybaiting" - luring in LGBTQ+ viewers only to treat their show's LGBTQ+ characters like rubbish - or even still using "gay panic" - where heterosexual characters act as if they're scared a gay character will 'pounce' on them - as a way to progress a storyline.

Despite all of this, there's a lot of hope for the future. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for progress and encouraging those in the spotlight to use their powerful positions for good.

RELATED: Richard E Grant wants LGBT actors to be given LGBT roles

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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