'Friends' reunion: Matthew Perry, his decades-long addiction & comeback

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: May 27, 2021, 06:23 PM IST


Story highlights

The long anticipated Friends reunion will debut May 27 on HBO Max

With the big ‘Friends’ reunion up ahead, we look back at Chandler Bing aka Matthew Perry’s life has been all these years as fans noticed a bit of a slur in the recently released sneak peek interview teaser with the iconic cast. 

Fans were quick to notice that while the other Friends’ stars looked fabulous and spirited, Matthew Perry was a bit slow and had a speech slur -- with many starting a dialogue on the internet about his decades-long alcohol addiction and rehab. 

Albeit quiet for the most part of the interview, Matthew Perry, 51, was heard saying in the Friends interview sneak peek: “I stole the cookie jar that had the clock on it,” he said, pronouncing “stole” with a “sh” sound. “I gave it to Lisa Kudrow.” In the ‘Friends’ reunion trailer, he became emotional, stating, “I’m going to cry now” before leaning into Jennifer Aniston for comfort.

Soon after the trailer premiered, many asked if Matthew Perry aka Chandler Bing, the smart humorous moneyed guy in the famous sitcom was okay while some pointed out that it “hurt to see him” that way. 

Reportedly, there’s official word that Matthew Perry had undergone “emergency dental work” because of which he had slurred speech. Addressing addiction concerns, sources have clarified, “Matthew has told those around him that he is sober, and there is no need to worry.”

Tryst with pain killers 

Three years into filming the famous sitcom, Matthew Perry met with a jet ski accident in 1997 which led him to depend upon Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen). He continued using it even after he didn’t need it. Post his healing process, he had said, “It wasn’t my intention to have a problem with it. But from the start I liked how it made me feel, and I wanted to get more.”

He lost a lot of weight which fans noticed. 

“I was out of control and very unhealthy. I returned to my original birth weight,” he added jokingly when asked about his body weight at the time. 

That year, Perry admitted himself to rehab. According to People magazine, he spent 28 days in Hazelden rehab center in Minnesota, but the sobriety didn’t last long post his return home. “I was able to stay sober for a brief period. But I didn’t really get it,” he said. 

Alcohol addiction

In 2000, Matthew Perry was hospitalised for alcohol-induced pancreatitis. It didn’t stop him from drinking though as just a year later, the actor was drinking a quart of vodka daily in between filming ‘Friends’ and ‘Serving Sara’. 

At the time, Friends producer Marta Kauffman was quoted saying, “it was terrifying, watching someone you care about in so much pain."”

Something struck Matthew and he knew not all was well so he called his parents for help. The substance abuse was getting the better of him as he was in the fear of losing his life. “There’s a moment of clarity where you have to prioritize your life. I listened to it,” he had said.

Matthew was checked into rehab. While filming for Friends, he was placed at an undisclosed rehab center where he spent two and a half months in treatment. From then his journey to sobriety started. In 2011, he checked himself into rehab to “focus” on his sobriety. 

Two years later, he set out to help others recover.

He even went ahead with helping others and turned his Malibu, California home into The Perry House, a sober-living center for men. “When I die, I’d like Friends to be listed behind helping people,” he said at the time.

By 2015, he closed the house for financial reasons with plans to reopen in a different location. It didn’t materialise for some reason. 

Looking back at lost time

Matthew Perry admits he doesn’t remember at least three seasons of his famed show ‘Friends’. He had said in 2016, “I don’t remember three years of it. So none of those … Somewhere between Season 3 and 6 … I was a little out of it.”

While sober, Matthew’s health deteriorated when in 2018 he had to undergo a gastrointestinal surgery. The operation was to repair a gastrointestinal perforation, which is the loss of continuity in a bowel wall caused by inflammation. Fun and fantasy fuel staying power of 'Friends'

But he’s better and thriving and we can’t BE more excited to see him in the soon-to-premiere ‘Friends’ reunion special. 

The long anticipated Friends reunion will debut May 27 on HBO Max. It will feature all original cast members David Schwimmer (Ross), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), and Matt Le Blanc (Joey). 'Friends' cast reveals why they never dated each other in real life