Friends’ star Matthew Perry, known for his portrayal of Chandler Bing, candidly shared his life, career, and struggles with addiction in his 2022 memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.”
Before his tragic passing at the age of 54, Perry’s memoir offered a heartfelt glimpse into his life. He revealed the complexities of his family life, his long-standing battles with substance abuse, and his connections with celebrities like Julia Roberts and Valerie Bertinelli.
Beneath it all was a man expressing gratitude for his survival after enduring significant challenges and a desire to peel back the layers of the real person behind one of television’s most beloved sitcom characters. As Perry disclosed to The New York Times before the book’s release, some of his happiest moments on the set of Friends coincided with some of his darkest struggles in real life.
Perry confessed that after his character, Chandler Bing, married Monica Gellar in the show’s seventh-season finale, he found himself compelled to return to a treatment center, driven there in a pickup truck by a sober technician.
“In the height of my success on Friends, i wasn’t seeking a high or joy. I wasn’t a partygoer; I just wanted to sit on my couch, take five Vicodin, and watch a movie. That was my idea of heaven. But it isn’t anymore.” He reflected.
Here are some of the most significant revelations from Perry’s memoir:
• Perry’s book recounted several hospitalizations during his years of substance abuse, beginning with a life-threatening gastrointestinal perforation at age 49, which resulted from drug overuse. He spent two weeks in a coma, five months in the hospital, and required a colostomy bag for nine months, with doctors giving him a mere two percent chance of survival.
• Perry did not shy away from describing the extent of his drug and alcohol problems, detailing his excessive use of Vicodin, Xanax, OxyContin, Dilaudid, methadone, buprenorphine/suboxone, cocaine, and copious amounts of vodka. He revealed that he had spent around $9 million trying to overcome his addictions.
• While Perry claimed he never performed high on the set of Friends to avoid jeopardizing the show, he admitted that his drug and alcohol use did affect him in terms of being hungover during work.
• Perry described how he felt emotionally disconnected during the filming of Friends’ final episode, attributing this to the detox drug he was using at the time. He saw his castmates in tears while he felt nothing.
• He proposed to his girlfriend, Molly Hurwitz, while under the influence of drugs. Perry confessed that he barely remembered the proposal, but he did it out of fear of being alone during the pandemic.
• Perry was cast in a film but had to withdraw due to a medical emergency caused by a drug interaction. He woke up in a different hospital after an anesthesia-related incident, and though his life was saved, he broke eight ribs, ending his participation in the movie.
• Perry expressed a desire to find love and build a family. He acknowledged that his fear of love and relationships had often led him to end them prematurely. However, he shared his determination to work through this fear and find a genuine, supportive partner.
• He aspired to be a father and expressed confidence that he could achieve health, a fulfilling relationship, and parenthood in sobriety, emphasizing the importance of a sense of humor, inner beauty, and independence in a potential partner.
In the end, Perry’s memoir provided an intimate look into the life of a beloved actor, highlighting his resilience in the face of addiction and his hopes for a brighter future.
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