Courteney Cox: Cool Cox

"Friends" star Courteney Cox Arquette explains why she's in couples therapy with her new husband, David Arquette, confesses to being a control freak, and declares that she wishes her Scream character, Gale, was "bitchy from top to bottom."

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When I arrive at Courteney Cox Arquette's Brentwood home, she gives me a warm greeting and tells me about the special hospitality that's in store: her new husband, David Arquette, has been assigned as our chef and waiter for the evening. When we've settled into chairs at a. table in the backyard, sure enough, David emerges from the kitchen with a plate of hummus, salad, crackers, cheeses, grapes and a bottle of 1996 Chateau Grand-Mayne. After he's arranged the impressive spread, the newlywed husband departs and his wife looks after him lovingly. Domestic happiness has been a long time coming to the new Mrs. Arquette. The parents to whom she was born 35 years ago in Birmingham, Alabama, divorced when she was 10 and remarried into larger families, so she wound up one of 13 siblings in two separate houses. She's had important relationships over the years, notably with Michael Keaton, but she never tied the knot until now.

After leaving home at 18 to pursue modeling in New York City, Courteney got her first break when she was lifted onstage by Bruce Springsteen at the end of his "Dancing in the Dark" music video. Small roles in soap operas kept her busy over the next few years until she landed a regular gig as Michael J. Fox's girlfriend on "Family Ties." She acted in films now and then-like Cocoon: The Return and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective--but her career didn't take off into high gear until 1994. That's when she got the call. Would she like to anchor a group of almost complete unknowns--Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc--on a new TV show called "Friends"? Seven years later, "Friends" is the most-watched sitcom on TV and Courtney's character, the sweetly neurotic Monica, is one of the most imitated and beloved personalities in America's living rooms.

All of the stars on "Friends" have now made major movies, but Courteney has been in the most successful ones--_Scream_ and Scream 2 This month she and her new husband will be starring in the third Scream installment and next year, she'll show up with David again in the slapstick romantic comedy they produced together, The Shrink Is In.

LAWRENCE GROBEL: You and David went from shooting The Shrink Is In to getting married and going on a honeymoon to shooting Scream 3. Ever get sick of him?

COURTENEY COX ARQUETTE: Are you kidding? I'm so lucky to have someone I can be with every single day. I can't believe it--it's amazing.

Q: Is the reporter Gale as bitchy in Scream 3 as she was in the first two _Scream_s?

A: You bet. I love the idea of playing a character that you love to hate. In Scream 2, I was booed by the audience, which made me happy. If it was up to me, Gale would be bitchy from top to bottom and never be sweet.

Q: You were very smart to get involved with the Scream franchise.

A: I knew it was a safe choice. To be honest, I didn't read anything else that made me feel, "Wow, I've got to sink my teeth into this." There's only been one thing offered to me that I knew I had to do, and that was The Shrink Is In.

Q: What was it about The Shrink Is In that grabbed your attention?

A: I'm not a big romantic-comedy person, but this one isn't sappy. It's about a girl who doesn't want to Fall in love because she has too many phobias.

Q: Do you think you and David have chemistry together onscreen?

A: We're really comfortable with each other, and I think we've had good chemistry in the past--I love our characters Dewey and Gale from the Scream films.

Q: Is it true that in real life you and David are in therapy together?

A: I was in separate therapy, but when David and I got engaged we started therapy together. I'd heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest, so we decided to work through all that stuff early.

Q: Any other couple you know that's done that?

A: Not that I know.

Q: Is it true that David once said therapy is the glue to your relationship?

A: I don't know. I know he thinks it's important and we love it. I learn so much from him when we're in therapy. A lot of the time we'll go in and he'll just talk about himself, about his childhood, his life in general. The next week maybe I'll talk about me. It isn't just our "issues."

Q: Couldn't the two of you do this together in your bedroom at night without a third party?

A: We don't do a lot of analyzing at home. That's when we have lighter times together.

Q: Where did you find the therapist?

A: I heard about him through Jennifer Aniston. He's great. He doesn't take sides, he's really honest. Last week he let me have it, then later he called me up to make sure I was OK. He's very nurturing.

Q: Why did he let you have it?

A: I hope I'm not going to regret saying this. He said, "Courteney, you're not very special to many people." It was like, "Whoa! What are you talking about? I'm special to my friends, my sisters." I was getting my feelings hurt really easily and he was trying to let me know it's OK for certain relationships to disappear, not to be special to these people. It's more important to give the time to the people who I am special to, and who are special to me. I don't have to spread myself thin.

Q: It must be challenging to have such a high-profile job and to want everyone to like you.

A: I remember when TV Guide did a poll four years ago that asked, "Who are your favorite characters on 'Friends'?" I opened it up and saw that Monica was the lowest-rated "Friend." This was when Monica had nothing going on, she wasn't dating Chandler. People weren't relating to her because she was just a clean freak and no one cared. But I couldn't make myself understand that they were rating Monica, not Courteney Cox. Man, it hurt me. I lived with that hurt. It was so bad.

Q: Did you discuss how you felt with the others on the show?

A: Oh yeah, I'm not one to pretend I'm OK. I'll tell anybody I'm hurt. I'm an open book.

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