Matthew Perry will forever be associated with his role as Chandler Bing on the iconic sitcom Friends, alongside his five co-stars: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer.
And even though her ten seasons on the show ended in May 2004, Perry knew he had a lifelong friend in Aniston that he could count on, despite his well-documented problems with alcohol and drugs.
Just last year, the actor, who was found dead in his home hot tub on Saturday at the age of 54, revealed that they had remained in each other’s lives and remained in close contact.
“She was the one who tried the hardest,” said the Williamstown, Massachusetts, native ABC’s Diane Sawyer the actress who played Rachel Green during an interview in October 2022. “You know, I’m really grateful for that.”
Perry went on to reveal that it was Aniston who first confronted him about his addiction while filming their hit sitcom, when the symptoms were just too obvious to ignore if you were a true friend.
Real Life Friends: Matthew Perry praised Jennifer Aniston for being a constant and reliable friend through all of his ups and downs in life, including his struggles with drugs and alcohol; They can be seen during Friends: The Reunion in May 2021
Loving Hand: “She was the one who tried the hardest.” “You know, I’m really grateful to her for that,” Perry said of Aniston; They can be seen in 1995
“We know you drink,” Aniston, now 54, told Perry during a break from filming “Friends,” when the film was extremely popular with fans at the time.
“Yeah, imagine what a scary moment that was,” the actor said of his co-star during the conversation with Sawyer.
“I should have been the star of the town, but I was in a dark room, meeting nothing but drug dealers and completely alone,” he added, alluding to his addiction.
Opening up about his drug abuse and the toll it took on his body, The Whole Nine Yards star confessed that he took up to 55 Vicodin tablets a day, which contributed to his weight dropping to just 128 pounds dropped.
“I didn’t know how to stop,” Perry admitted in an interview with People last year, before sharing an analogy that explains the power drugs and alcohol had on him at the height of his television career.
“If the police came to my house and said, ‘If you drink tonight, we’re going to take you to jail,’ I would start packing. I couldn’t stop because the disease and addiction are progressive. So it gets worse as you get older,” he explained.
Perry believed he was doing a pretty good job of hiding his drug and alcohol use from his co-stars, but eventually everyone knew he was in trouble and did their best to support him.
‘[They] “We were understanding and patient,” he recalled of the Friends cast. “It’s like penguins.” Penguins in nature: When one is sick or seriously injured, the other penguins surround it and support it. They walk around it until the penguin can walk on its own. That’s exactly what the cast did for me.”
Friends for life: Perry thanks all of his Friends cast members for their efforts to support him when he struggled with drugs and alcohol: All six Friends stars will appear during the reunion show in May 2021
Lifeline: The actor revealed that part of his inspiration for writing his 2022 memoir – Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing – was the hope that his stories could serve as a kind of lifeline for others, like Aniston for him
Iconic: He became famous for his role as “Chandler Bing” in the hit 90s sitcom, which ran for ten seasons
For a time, Perry believed he could hide behind his infectious humor and move forward in life on the wings of Friends’ success.
“I thought if I was funny all the time I would get through,” he said. ‘I thought [Friends] wanted to fix everything. That was not the case.’
Ultimately, Perry would get clean and sober in 2001, but he estimated he relapsed “60 or 70 times” over the years, according to his 2022 memoir “Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing.” emerges.
Along the way, he completed many stays in rehab facilities and suffered a number of serious health problems, including a five-month hospitalization in 2018 after his colon ruptured due to excessive opioid use.
Perry admitted in his memoirs that he was given only a two percent chance of survival during his hospital stay, but in the end he would survive.
“I’m an extremely grateful guy. I’m grateful to be alive, that’s for sure. And that gives me the opportunity to do anything,” he shared with obvious emotion during the 2022 People interview.
Perry went on to reveal that part of his inspiration for writing an open and honest memoir, full of ups and downs, was the hope that his stories could serve as a lifeline for others, just as Aniston was for him.
Perry died “after drowning in a hot tub at home,” sources told DailyMail.com.
Perry died at age 54 “after drowning in his home hot tub,” sources told DailyMail.com; seen in 2022
In his latest post on Instagram, which he shared earlier this week, the star shared pictures of himself in his pool
According to law enforcement sources, the actor was found at a home in Los Angeles on Saturday after first responders were called to the scene about a cardiac arrest around 4 p.m. (PDT).
Sources said he was found in the home’s hot tub, but no drugs were found at the scene – and there was no evidence of crime.
Before his death, he reportedly played a two-hour game of pickleball and then sent his assistant off on an errand. When they returned, the deputy found Perry unresponsive and called 911.
A source told the outlet that there were no signs of foul play and that Robbery and Homicide detectives are investigating his death.