Inside ‘Friends’ alum Matthew Perry’s habit memoir

“Hi, I’m Chandler. I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable.”

“Until I was 25, I thought that the only response to ‘I love you’ was ‘Oh, crap!’”

Whether or not you’re a Gen-Xer who grew up with the celebs of NBC’s Emmy-winning sequence “Friends” after its 1994 debut or a Zoomer who found the present within the streaming period, you may most likely guess on the supply of those darkish witticisms: May it BE anybody apart from Chandler Bing?

What you’ll discover out after studying actor Matthew Perry’s harrowing memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” is that such traces are additionally a case of artwork imitating life.

“I was Chandler,” Perry writes in his e book, out Nov. 1, explaining that each he and his most well-known character have used humor to compensate for his or her crippling fears, relationship anxieties and self-sabotaging habits.

The place actor and character diverge is that Chandler finds happiness, marrying Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) and having twins; Perry, in contrast, solely just lately emerged from a long time of intractable habit, which culminated three years in the past in a well being disaster he was very fortunate to outlive.

Perry, 53, writes that he deeply regrets how his drug and alcohol abuse have value him relationships. Now 18 months sober, he writes, he suffers from auditory hallucinations and can most likely must take Suboxone to deal with opioid dependence for the remainder of his life. This leaves him, he provides, in a constant state of anhedonia: a diminished means to really feel pleasure.

With traces like “my mind is out to kill me, and I know it,” Perry opens a window into the thoughts of an addict, a spot through which the battle to get sober is a civil conflict and lots of battles are misplaced to relapse.

It’s value him in each method. He writes that he spent greater than $7 million attempting to get sober. (Perry raised the estimate to $9 million in a latest interview.) His efforts included 15 stints in rehabilitation amenities and one in a psychological establishment; hypnosis periods; 6,000 visits to AA and remedy twice every week for 30 years. Whereas taking pictures an unused bit for Adam McKay’s 2021 movie “Don’t Look Up,” he flew to a Swiss rehab and again on a non-public jet — $175,000 a pop.

Right here’s what you’ll be taught from his candid new memoir.


Perry particulars a number of near-death experiences. On one event, his coronary heart stopped beating for 5 minutes. Later, he was popping capsules laced with fentanyl (and paying $3,000 for them a number of occasions every week).

“It is very odd to live in a world where if you died, it would shock people but surprise no one,” he writes.

However a 2019 incident was his closest name, he writes. He fell right into a coma for 14 days after his colon burst. Medical doctors instructed his relations he had a 2% probability of survival. ‘I was so full of s— it almost killed me,” he writes. It turned out to be a life-saving wake-up call. Today, the thought of needing a colostomy bag for life keeps him from using, coupled with the fact that alcohol and opiates “simply don’t work for me anymore”: Even on 1,800 milligrams of opiates a day, he may now not get excessive.


Perry writes that at age 19 he fell in love with Valerie Bertinelli on the set of “Sydney.” In accordance with him, they shared “an elaborate makeout session” whereas Bertinelli’s husband, rock star Eddie Van Halen, was handed out just a few toes away. He additionally writes that he made out with Gwyneth Paltrow inside a closet. Neither of those dalliances went very far.

One relationship nonetheless haunts him to this present day. He was along with Rachel Dunn, a lady he met upon crashing her twenty third birthday celebration, for six years and nearly requested her to marry him, however chickened out. “All my fears reared up like a snake,” he writes. “I often think if I’d asked, now we’d have two kids and a house. Instead, I’m some schmuck who’s alone in his house at fifty-three.”

He additionally shares an account of a misplaced love that “still hurts” — somebody he met on a movie set in 1999. He fell onerous however she in the end rejected him, making it clear that “my drinking was a problem.” Perry doesn’t identify the lady, although he did star alongside Neve Campbell in 1999’s “Three to Tango.”

Greater than 20 years later, Perry purchased a hoop and proposed to a lady whereas at a Switzerland rehab. However he was excessive on hydrocodone and later forgot the entire thing. It was months after his coma — nonetheless present process surgical procedures and nonetheless struggling to get clear. He was “desperate” and “didn’t want to be this injured and alone” through the peak of the COVID pandemic. Perry doesn’t identify her, however final yr Folks reported on a damaged engagement with literary supervisor Molly Hurwitz.


When Julia Roberts solely agreed to seem on “Friends” if she could possibly be in Chandler’s storyline, showrunner Marta Kauffman inspired Perry to ship the actress flowers. That kicked off a romance between the 2, based on Perry — starting with the (so very Nineteen Nineties) alternate of flirty messages over fax machines. They have been already a pair by the point they started filming.

However just like the overwhelming majority of Perry’s relationships, it ended when he felt he was letting his guard down, reigniting a lifelong worry of abandonment. Perry traces these points partially to his father leaving the household when Matthew was a child and his mom was 21.

“If I drop my game, my Chandler, and show you who I really am,” he writes, “you might notice me, but worse, you might notice me and leave me.”


Years earlier than they have been each solid in “Friends,” Perry requested Jennifer Aniston out. She declined, however he would proceed to “crush badly” for her.

Matt LeBlanc, wearing a black cowboy hat, and Matthew Perry film "Friends."

In early days of filming “Friends,” LeBlanc requested Perry for assist saying his traces. By Season 10, a frazzled Perry was asking for assist from LeBlanc, whom he considers “the most improved player.”

(Getty Pictures)


Perry writes that certainly one of his finest buddies, Hank Azaria of “The Simpsons” fame, auditioned to play Joey twice. When Matt LeBlanc scored the half, Perry was initially “a little jealous” of his “leading-man looks.”

One other shut pal, Craig Bierko, a former co-star on “Sydney,” was first supplied the a part of Chandler, based on Perry, however turned it down. After Perry was solid and the present turned an instantaneous hit, he says he and Bierko didn’t converse for 2 years.

Touchdown the a part of Chandler saved Perry’s life, he writes. In any other case, it wouldn’t have been “out of the realms of possibility” for him to have “ended up on the streets of Downtown L.A. shooting heroin.” He writes that heroin was a line he was terrified to cross. “It is because of that fear that I am still alive today.”


Perry factors out that you would be able to inform how and what he was utilizing all through the varied “Friends” seasons. First, he dropped 10 kilos of “alcohol fat” between the pilot and the primary episode. His weight fluctuated between 128 and 225 kilos whereas making the present. If he was carrying weight, it was alcohol abuse. If he was skinny, it was capsules. If he had a goatee it was “lots of pills.” By the tip of Season 3, he spent most of his time attempting to acquire Vicodin — 55 capsules a day. Generally he’d go to open homes simply to steal some from medication cupboards.

Though he asserts he was by no means excessive whereas filming “Friends,” he’d typically be sick or hungover. As soon as, Perry handed out on the Central Perk sofa and LeBlanc needed to nudge him awake to say his line. Later, Aniston referred to as him out for consuming once more, telling him, “We can smell it.” Season 9 was the one yr he was “completely sober.”


Even earlier than “Friends” wrapped in 2004, habit was already exacting a toll on Perry’s post-TV profession. Perry writes that round March 2001, whereas filming “Serving Sara” (2002), he was on methadone, Xanax and cocaine and consuming a full quart of vodka a day. He confirmed as much as movie a scene, solely to understand it had been shot just a few days earlier. He shut down the movie’s manufacturing (and postponed his “Friends” scenes) so he may go to a Marina del Rey detox middle. He was residing in a rehab facility in Malibu when Chandler and Monica tied the knot. As for “Serving Sara,” he says producers later billed him $650,000 for the breach and dragged him into postproduction to dub over his slurred traces.

Once more in rehab round November 2020, his coronary heart stopped after medical doctors administered propofol that interacted with the hydrocodone in his system. Paramedics saved his life with CPR however broke eight ribs within the course of, in the end costing him scenes with Meryl Streep in “Don’t Look Up.” (Simply earlier than the incident he was in a position to shoot a scene with Jonah Hill, however his scenes have been lower from the completed movie.)

Lately, Perry’s entrance enamel fell out whereas he was biting into a chunk of toast. He eliminated and changed all his pearly whites.

Matthew Perry

“There is a reason I’m still here,” Matthew Perry writes. “And figuring out why is the task that has been put in front of me.”

(Nigel Parry)


Perry beat up Justin Trudeau once they have been youngsters — effectively earlier than the latter turned Canada’s prime minister. Perry’s Canadian mom was the press secretary for Justin’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, and little Matthew resented the time she spent at work.

Years later, he was arrange on a date with Cameron Diaz after she stopped seeing Justin Timberlake. Diaz obtained instantly stoned and unintentionally punched Perry within the face, he writes.

Additionally, he unintentionally hit his personal idol, Chevy Chase, within the balls.


Perry has been “mostly sober” since 2001, “save for about sixty or seventy little mishaps.” He would quit his fame and wealth in a heartbeat to “not have a brain that wants [him] dead.” However he’s slowly “acquiring a taste for reality” and is decided to determine his goal.

“There is a reason I’m still here. And figuring out why is the task that has been put in front of me.”