The actor became a true friend to several generations of viewers, but not everyone knew that Matthew Perry’s destiny was very different from the fun and happy life of his character Chandler Bing.
On October 28, Matthew Perry, the star of the sitcom “Friends,” the dark comedy “The Whole Nine Yards,” the comedies “Fools Rush In,” “17 Again,” and other famous projects, passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 55. The actor drowned in a jacuzzi following a cardiac arrest.
One year before his death, on November 1, 2022, Matthew published his memoir “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” in which he openly discussed his long-standing addiction, alcoholism, and personal life failures.
Having tasted alcohol at the age of 14, he realized it made him relaxed and very funny, and by the age of 18, he was already consuming it daily.
Since his youth, the actor dreamed of fame, which would change his life definitively. Although the role of Chandler Bing brought him great fame and the series became legendary, Matthew was disappointed: it turns out that money and fans are not a guarantee of happiness, they do not cure the craving for forbidden things.
“I played in ‘Friends’ from 24 to 34, at the peak of my fame. The six of us were everywhere. From the outside, it might have seemed like the world was at my feet. But in reality, I was very lonely because I was suffering from alcoholism,” admitted Perry.
As for drug addiction, the actor’s book reveals that during his career, he spent 9 million dollars to combat this addiction and went through detoxification treatment 15 times.
“I was taking 55 Vicodin pills a day, I weighed 128 pounds (about 58 kg), 30 million people were watching me on Friends – and that’s why I can’t watch that show. I was terribly thin,” said Perry.
In his memoirs, the actor explains that by observing the changes in his weight from one season to another on Friends, one can trace the trajectory of his addiction: “When I gain weight, it’s alcohol; when I lose weight, it means I’m taking pills; when I grow a goatee, it means I’m taking a lot of pills.”
On the brink of death… twice.
During his treatment for alcohol and opioid addiction in a private clinic in Switzerland, Matthew Perry had a device sewn into his back to alleviate his condition. He had ingested a large quantity of painkillers the day before the surgery, and the anesthesiologist administered anesthesia the next morning. Unfortunately, the actor’s heart couldn’t handle the stress and stopped for five minutes.
At the age of 49, Matthew suffered a ruptured colon due to opioid abuse. Doctors predicted a 98% risk of death. Against all odds, the actor survived a two-week coma and spent an additional five months in the hospital. It took 14 surgical procedures to repair all the damage to his abdomen.
Since 2018, the actor had stopped using drugs. At the time of his death, there was no presence of drugs or alcohol in his bloodstream. Perry had undergone nearly two hours of exercise on the field before heading to the rooftop jacuzzi of his house, where his heart couldn’t withstand the pressure and ultimately stopped beating.
Matthew was never married or had children, and the reason goes beyond addiction; it also stems from terrible insecurity. He dated Julia Roberts, whom he had met on the set of “Friends,” but ended the relationship out of fear of not measuring up. The actor admitted that he constantly felt he wasn’t good enough for her.
“Rather than facing the inevitable pain of loss, I chose to break up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts,” the actor recounted in his memoir.
For several years, he led a solitary life, but at the age of 50, he met Molly Hurwitz, a literary manager with whom he had collaborated on his book and who is 22 years his junior.
They got engaged in 2020 but called off their engagement a year later.
“Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. That’s exactly what happened. I wish the best for Molly,” Matthew explained at the time.
In one of the interviews, Perry responded to the question of how he would like to be remembered: “A man who lived his life, who loved, who lived well, and who helped people.” That may be how millions of people will remember him.