Busy Philipps and Michelle Williams just have one of those friendships—the kind outsiders see and wish they could get in on. The pair, costars since Philipps joined the cast of Dawson’s Creek in 2001, always just seem like they’re having more fun than everybody else. And, sure, their lives are a touch more glamorous than the average mortal. Their best friend moments involve walking arm-in-arm on the Oscars red carpet in custom Louis Vuitton and Elizabeth Kennedy designs or transforming Williams’ pixie into the “perfectly millennial pink” after a night at Paris Fashion Week.But that’s not the only reason the pair are the subject of endless Internet listicles crowning them as BFF goals.After all, their 17-year friendship is built on more than hair dye and black tie events. They’ve endured moments together that not a single one of Philipps’ million-plus devoted Instagram followers would envy. The most glaring, of course, being the time Philipps rushed to Williams’ Brooklyn row home after her former partner Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment of an accidental overdose. She was there again 10 years later, flying to San Francisco (where Williams was filming the October thriller Venom) to literally be a shoulder to cry on.
But for Williams, 37, it’s all those other times in between that truly make the difference. Explaining to People how grateful she was to have the star in her life, she shared, “I said to her recently, ‘You have really saved me from ever being lonely because you are always right there.’ We are so close and can tell each other everything. I don’t know what I would be or who I would be without Busy.” You guys, being there for a pal is just Philipps’ thing. In real life the woman famous for playing the best friend (see: Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek, Cougar Town and her most recent turn as Amy Schumer’s top confidante in I Feel Pretty) is totally the type that comes through when you need her. It’s not just that she knows a large swath of the industry after some 20 years of work or that she’s so darn approachable—in her recent Health cover story, she joked about being “the mayor of Hollywood” after her interview with the writer was interrupted countless times by fans—she just likes to be the person those in her circle can count on.”Her passion is people,” William explained in The Cut’s profile of her pal, who, no doubt will mark her 39th birthday today with a stream of well wishes. “She has this amazing quality: People just fall in love with her. Like, you spend 10 minutes with her, and people are like, ‘She’s incredible.'”
Williams speaks from experience. To be fair, she was given the heads up about how cool Philipps was shortly after word got out the Freaks and Geeks alum would be joining the cast of her teen drama. “Someone had said, ‘When you two meet, there is going to be a chemical reaction,'” Williams recently recalled to People. “I had been really excited for this girl to land in Wilmington. We became inseparable and I fell in love with her.” (Philipps has described their instant connection as being akin to love at first sight.) Williams credits the Chicago native’s intriguing braids, overalls and confident exterior. “She was the coolest girl I had ever seen,” she explained to Entertainment Weekly. “I just thought, ‘I want to be this person when I grow up.'” But it was Philipps’ unwavering loyalty that likely sealed the deal.