Friends, destructive addictions and women. Why Matthew Perry didn`t become happy?

06 Nov 2023

On October 29, 2023, tragic news shook the world: at the age of 54, the star of Friends, Matthew Perry, passed away. According to The Times, he was found lifeless in the jacuzzi at his home in Los Angeles. Perry's death was a shock to millions of people worldwide who found solace in his jokes. But in real life, the actor found himself caught in a painful cycle of addictions and battles with inner demons rooted in an unhappy childhood.

1. Matthew's memoir

After the actor's death, fans began clearing bookstore shelves of books about Matthew Perry. His memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, released in October 2022, even became a top-selling hardcover on Amazon. In the book, the star shared details about his life, filming experiences, love stories, and his long struggle with addiction. At the end of the memoir, the actor wrote that despite everything, he believed he still had a lot ahead of him – love, family, and interesting roles. However, he had no idea how much he was mistaken.

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2. Childhood

Matthew Perry was born into the family of actor John Bennett Perry and Suzanne Marie Langford, who served as the press secretary for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. When Matthew was just one year old, his parents divorced: his father moved to Los Angeles, while the future actor grew up in Canada with his mother. According to BBC, Matthew felt abandoned and unhappy due to the absence of his father. 

2. Childhood.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry's Addiction Cost Him 3 Seasons of Friends/Facts Verse/

3. What was Matthew like with his mother?

In his memoir Matthew wrote that his mother worked hard, leaving him home alone frequently. Matthew often had to listen to her worries and comfort her. During this time, he learned to be funny to lift his mother's spirits. In 1981, she married Keith Morrison when Perry was 12 years old. Although he emphasizes that he had a great relationship with his stepfather, he revealed in an interview with Tom Power that his mother never paid him enough attention. Perhaps this became the primary cause of Matthew's early teenage issues.

3. What was Matthew like with his mother.jpg?format=webp@From childhood to 'Chandler,' Matthew Perry shares his struggles: Part 2/ABC News/

4. The first teenage problems

During his teenage years, Perry began smoking and drinking alcohol. As he revealed in an interview with Good Morning America in 2022, there was an instance when he drank a whole bottle of wine by himself, fell into the grass, and couldn't get up. Right then he sensed that issues with alcohol would be a problem for years to come. 

4. The first teenage problems.jpg?format=webp@From childhood to 'Chandler,' Matthew Perry shares his struggles: Part 2/ABC News/

5. Matthew Perry's "beat up" Justin Trudeau

During his fifth grade, Matthew, along with a friend, got into a fight with his classmate Justin Trudeau, who is now the Prime Minister of Canada. As he shared with Jimmy Kimmel in 2017, this happened due to jealousy of Justin's success and typical adolescent foolishness. Maybe it was also a way to get his mother's attention: by fighting her boss's son.

5. Matthew Perry's beat up Justin Trudeau.jpg?format=webp@F.R.I.E.N.D.S Star Matthew Perry Beat Up Trudeau In 5th Grade? Canadian PM Remembers Chandler Bing/TIMES NOW/

6. Tennis

Perry had a passion for tennis and came close to pursuing a career as a professional player. In Canada, he made it to the national junior rankings. However, when 15-year-old Matthew moved to Los Angeles to live with his father, he realized that the competition in California was much tougher. And he decided to explore a different profession instead. 

6. Tennis.jpg?format=webp@From childhood to 'Chandler,' Matthew Perry shares his struggles: Part 2/ABC News/

7. Matthew's personal hero

In an interview with BuzzFeed in 2015, Perry shared that he moved to California to build a relationship with his father from scratch and to feel that he indeed had a dad. Before, he saw his father more often on television and in magazines than in real life. His father remained a hero for him, someone he eventually wanted to emulate. 

7. Matthew's personal hero .jpg?format=webp@Who Is Matthew Perry's Famous Father?/runge/

8. Matthew Perry takes up acting

During his second year at the new school, Perry obtained the part of George Gibbs in Thornton Wilder's movie Our Town. When Matthew came home to share the good news, he saw the book Acting with Style on his bed. It was a gift from his father, who evidently sensed that Matthew would follow in his footsteps.

8. Matthew Perry takes up acting.jpg?format=webp

9. First acting steps

Matthew took his first steps in acting with cameo roles in 1980s sitcoms like Charles in Charge and Growing Pains He then landed leading roles in films like A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon in 1988 and Sydney in 1990. Additionally, he appeared in the youth-oriented series Beverly Hills 90210, playing the role of a rich kid named Roger Azarian. In the storyline, he was romantically involved with Kelly Taylor and befriended Brandon Walsh. After these roles, his acting career began gaining momentum, and he soon found himself on a project that would make him a global superstar.

9. First acting steps.jpg?format=webp@Brandon Realizes the School's Top Athlete is Troubled/Beverly Hills 90210/

10. The great beginning

When Matthew received the script for the TV series Friends, he immediately felt that he was meant to play a role in it. According to the BBC, Perry considered himself the prototype for his character, Chandler. He easily memorized all the lines and showed up for the audition the next day. As you might have guessed, he got the part. Interestingly, 24-year-old Perry was the youngest member of the cast at that time.

10. The great beginning.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry Wife, Kids, Siblings, Parents (Family Members)/The Skeleton/

11. Matthew’s bloopers often made the cut

Matthew Perry's humor and playful pranks were so renowned that the directors frequently incorporated his jokes into the show's final cut. Indeed, among the group of six main cast members, Perry was uniquely granted the privilege of working closely with the show's writers. He even produced a some of Friends episodes.

11. Matthew’s bloopers often made the cut.jpg?format=webp@Remembering Matthew Perry: His Final Days, Rare Moments From Friends and More/Entertainment Tonight/

12. Delicate Revenge on a Former Teacher

At the peak of his success, Matthew Perry appeared on the cover of People Weekly, September 1995. He sent the magazine to his former teacher, Dr. Web, who told that Perry wouldn't succeed in career because of his excessively playful manner. The actor felt like a winner, strengthening his self-confidence and giving him the strength to move forward. 

12. Delicate Revenge on a Former Teacher.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry Gets Candid On Battling Addiction While On ‘Friends’/TODAY/

13. Friends became friends

On the set of Friends Matthew Perry not only fulfilled his acting ambitions but also formed genuine friendships. During the filming, the main actors became close friends in real life. They celebrated together, went on trips, and supported each other in personal matters, showcasing their true friendship beyond the screen.

13. Friends became friends.jpg?format=webp@From childhood to 'Chandler,' Matthew Perry shares his struggles: Part 2/ABC News/

14. The million-dollar deal

In the initial stages, as reported by Market Place, Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer were allegedly earning $22,500 per episode. By the third season, the group's earnings had reportedly increased to $100,000 per episode. However, in the 8th season, the actors managed to increase their earnings to $1 million per episode. They informed the producers that if their salaries were not raised to the agreed amount, they would all refuse to continue shooting – and this tactic worked. Besides the camaraderie on the set, romantic relationships also sparked during the filming.

14. The million-dollar deal.jpg?format=webp@David Schwimmer & Jennifer Aniston Hug In ‘Friends’ Reunion Pic/Access Hollywood/

15. Unrequited love

Later, in his memoir, Perry confessed that he was head over heels in love with Jennifer Aniston. He openly displayed his affection for the actress, but she never reciprocated his feelings. Despite this, Perry didn't remain alone.

15. Unrequited love.jpg?format=webp@From childhood to 'Chandler,' Matthew Perry shares his struggles: Part 2/ABC News/

16. Relationships with Julia Roberts

In 1995, the actor started dating Julia Roberts. According to his memoir, their romance began through faxes, where they exchanged poems and tender messages. The actress even made an appearance in the Friends second season, all thanks to her beloved.

16. Relationships with Julia Roberts.jpg?format=webp@Girls Matthew Perry Dated!/Hollywood Inside/

17. Real-life love on screen

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the star of Friends dreamed of acting alongside his romantic partner. Julia said she would only agree if her storyline was connected with Matthew. The actor persuaded the producers, and they wrote a role for her. The episode was well-received by the audience, and it's no wonder, given the genuine chemistry between the actors. However, their relationship later turned cold.

17. Real-life love on screen.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry's Tragic True Life Story/Looper/

18. Goodbye, my love

In his memoir, Perry revealed that he began to feel indifference from his beloved. He was one hundred percent sure that Julia was planning to leave him, so he decided to preempt her. In 1996, the actor announced his breakup with Roberts on Jay Leno's show. Perry's heart was shattered, but he didn't lose faith in love.

18. Goodbye my love.jpg?format=webp@Girls Matthew Perry Dated!/Hollywood Inside/

19. Other relationships

Matthew Perry had numerous short-lived relationships, constantly searching for the right one. As per Insider, he dated Kerry Fisher, the stepsister of actress Joely Fisher, and actress Yasmine Bleeth. However, none of these relationships lasted. Later, Matthew admitted that he even started to fear falling in love again. He believed love would only bring him inner emptiness.

19. Other relationships .jpg?format=webp@Girls Matthew Perry Dated!/Hollywood Inside/

20. Fear of love

In October 2022, Matthew admitted to People Magazine that after failed relationships he was afraid to let people into his life. He dreamed of love but didn't believe in it. The constant fear of abandonment consumed him, convinced that revealing his true self will push people away. Later, Perry faced yet another dread in relationships. 

20. Fear of love.jpg?format=webp@Girls Matthew Perry Dated!/Hollywood Inside/

21. Women who wanted only money

In the same interview with People Magazine, the actor confessed to coming across women whom were solely interested in his money. Recognizing he was being used, Perry became more guarded and started drinking more frequently.

21. Women who wanted only money.jpg?format=webp@The Ugly Truth About Matthew Perry/Facts Verse/

22. Friends exposed Perry

During the filming of Friends, Matthew Perry spiraled into alcoholism and actively used drugs. As he disclosed in his memoir, it was a way to escape from myself. He thought he performed better and appeared funnier under the influence of alcohol and drugs. However, this was just an illusion. One day, Jennifer Aniston told him that everyone knew about his issues. And Friends castmates were ready to help him embark on the path to recovery.

22. Friends exposed Perry.jpg?format=webp@Rachel Takes Chandler's Cigarettes Away | Friends/Friends/

23. Destructive habit

As it became known from Perry’s memoir, drugs entered his life in 1997. It began after he had an accident on a jet ski and started taking painkillers. Over time, he became so accustomed to them that he couldn't live without these pills. The actor reached a point where he was taking 55 Vicodin a day. Thankfully, he came to realize that professional help was necessary.

23. Destructive habit.jpg?format=webp@From childhood to 'Chandler,' Matthew Perry shares his struggles: Part 2/ABC News/

24. First rehab

According to Fame10, Matthew Perry underwent his first rehabilitation in 1997 due to his dependence on Vicodin. He spent 28 days in the rehab center at that time. But this was just the first step in his battle against addiction, and many years of struggle lay ahead of him.

24. First rehab.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry Opens Up About His Addiction Journey: "I'm Grateful to Be Alive" | PEOPLE/People/

25. Problems with the weight

The actor joked that his addiction struggles can be traced through the Friends series. When he was on pills, he gained weight, and when he drank alcohol, he rapidly lost weight. After his first treatment, only a few years passed before Matthew found himself compelled to enter a rehabilitation center once again.

25. Problems with the weight.jpg?format=webp@From childhood to 'Chandler,' Matthew Perry shares his struggles: Part 2/ABC News/

26. More drugs

As BBC reporst, apart from alcohol and painkillers, Perry also used methadone, amphetamines and cocaine. In 2001 he returned to rehab once again. However, the treatment had a very short-lived effect. In 2002, he made his revealing confession about his addiction.

26. More drugs.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry's Addiction Cost Him 3 Seasons of Friends/Facts Verse/

27. Memory lapses

Perry revealed on BBC Radio 2 that due to his issues with alcohol and drugs, three years of filming the Friends fell out of his memory: between the third and sixth seasons of the show. And during the final episode he was the only one who didn't shed a tear, because drugs made him feel dead inside. However, he managed to pull himself out of that abyss and move forward.

27. Memory lapses.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry's SAD and BIZARRE Death ('Friend's' Star Mysteriously Dead at Home)/SLOAN/

28. Addiction gene

In 2000, Matthew Perry received a fantastic opportunity to work with Bruce Willis in the movie The Whole Nine Yards. In his memoir, Perry shared an intriguing insight into Willis' personality. He was fascinated by Willis's ability to party intensely and then suddenly switch to work and excel in the movie while sober.

28. Addiction gene.jpg?format=webp@Remembering Matthew Perry: His Final Days, Rare Moments From Friends and More/Entertainment Tonight/

29. Perry didn’t watch Friends

Matthew confessed on podcast Q With Tom Power in 2022 that he had never watched a single episode of Friends. The actor claimed he was in such an alcohol and drug addiction that he simply couldn't watch the sitcom. While Perry continued to act in Friends despite his struggles, another project he was involved in had to be temporarily closed.

29. Perry didn’t watch Friends.jpg?format=webp@Friends Final scene HD/Dreamer1422/

30. Serving Sara

In 2002, Matthew Perry started filming the comedy Serving Sara. This time was particularly challenging for him. Later in the comment for Yahoo Entertainment Perry's co-star Elizabeth Hurley described working with the actor as a real nightmare. Due to his relapse into addiction and hospitalization, the director had to suspend the production for two months. They eventually completed the comedy, and Perry tried to regain control of his life and move forward.

30. Serving Sara.jpg?format=webp@Serving Sara (7/10) Movie CLIP - An Impudent Bull (2002) HD/Movieclips/

31. Special film for Perry

In 2006, Matthew Perry began starring in the film Numb. He portrayed a character who suffered from depersonalization disorder. In his memoir, Matthew confessed he had a lot in common with his character. Specifically, he also struggled with prolonged depression and also visited therapist for years. The role was challenging, but Matthew managed to showcase his dramatic talent. It was during this period that Perry started his most enduring relationship.

31. Special film for Perry.jpg?format=webp@Numb - Trailer/Reel One Entertainment/

32. Relationships that almost ended in marriage

According to Insider, from 2006 to 2012, the actor was in a relationship with Lizzy Caplan. These were his longest-lasting relationships. the couple was happy together, but they never made it to marriage. In his memoir, Perry later admitted that he even planned to propose to his beloved, but got scared at some point. Later, he regretted that he missed the opportunity to build a family and have children. However, these relationships made Perry more confident in himself, and he even started helping others in their battle against addiction.

32. Relationships that almost ended in marriage.jpg?format=webp@Lizzy Caplan & Matthew Perry/tmborzasi1/

33. The new mission

In 2007, Matthew Perry met West Huddleston, the head of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Thanks to this acquaintance, the actor became involved with the organization, which advocated for alternative methods of punishment for drug addicts without incarceration. His assistance to people struggling with addiction did not stop there.

33. The new mission.jpg?format=webp@Mathew Perry Voices His Support for Drug Courts/Office of National Drug Control Policy/

34. Perry House

In 2013, Matthew transformed his Malibu residence into the Perry House, a sober living facility for men. This space served as a transitional environment, assisting individuals in their journey to reintegrate into their everyday routines after overcoming addiction. He also garnered support from the White House on this matter and began openly sharing his personal experience in post-treatment rehabilitation. The Perry House existed until 2015. According to Entertainment Tonight, Perry invested half a million dollars in his home rehab project. But he spent significantly more on his battle with drugs and alcohol.

34. Perry House.jpg?format=webp@Remembering Matthew Perry: His Final Days, Rare Moments From Friends and More/Entertainment Tonight/

35. Millions spent on treatment

Matthew Perry revealed to The New York Times that he spent at least $9 million on treatment and rehabilitation throughout his struggle with addiction. He also mentioned undergoing 6,000 hours of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and 15 rehab courses. This was a high price he paid for deep-seated self-doubt, a struggle that even immense fame couldn't overcome.

35. Millions spent on treatment.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry Reveals He Spent $9 Million to Get Sober | E! News/E! News/

36. New chapter in life

The specific duration of Perry's sobriety is not definitively known. In his memoir, he joked that he had been mostly sober since 2001, except for about 60 or 70 failures. Despite this, the actor considers this period a significant achievement in his battle with addiction. He also made new achievements in his career during this time.

36. New chapter in life.jpg?format=webp@Remembering Matthew Perry: His Final Days, Rare Moments From Friends and More/Entertainment Tonight/

37. Coma

In 2018, according to the BBC, Matthew Perry received a grim diagnosis - gastrointestinal perforation caused by opioid use. He suffered a rupture in his intestines and fell into a coma for two weeks. Doctors managed to bring him back to life, but he spent another 5 months in the hospital. In his memoir, Perry wrote that he had almost taken his own life during that time. He realized he had wasted his life on drugs because he had believed for a long time that they made him happy. The actor promised himself that if he survived, he would start his life anew.

37. Coma.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry's Addiction Cost Him 3 Seasons of Friends/Facts Verse/

38. Almost married

The same 2018 Perry started a relationship with literary manager Molly Hurwitz. He dreamt of creating a family. In 2020, the Friends star revealed to People that he proposed to his beloved, and she said yes. However, the wedding did not take place as planned.

38. Almost married .jpg?format=webp@NEW DETAILS About Friends Actor Matthew Perry's Death at Age 54 That Changed Everything/Hollywood Zone/

39. The relationship came to an end

In 2021, Matthew appeared in public alone. A few days later, he informed journalists from People Magazine that he had called off the engagement. However, he did not disclose the reasons for the breakup. Instead, the actor emphasized that despite this, he still believes that he will meet the right person someday.

39. The relationship came to an end.jpg?format=webp@NEW DETAILS About Friends Actor Matthew Perry's Death at Age 54 That Changed Everything/Hollywood Zone/

40. Open to serious relationships

After his breakup, Perry gave an interview to Insider, where he mentioned that he had finally overcome all his fears, adopted a sober lifestyle, and was ready to build a family. He stated that he had matured to this point and wouldn't miss the opportunity next time. Perry expressed his desire to put an end to past mistakes and was prepared to openly talk about everything soon. But first things first.

40. Open to Serious Relationships.jpg?format=webp@Remembering Matthew Perry: His Final Days, Rare Moments From Friends and More/Entertainment Tonight/

41. The Reunion

In May 2021, Matthew Perry participated in the Friends special titled The Reunion. The actor gladly returned to the set of the show, where all the original decorations were recreated. It was an epic reunion and, unfortunately, the last Perry’s appearance on the big screen. Although he had plans to make one film that held personal importance for him. 

41. The Reunion.jpg?format=webp@Jennifer Aniston’s Pics From ‘Friends’ Reunion/Access Hollywood/

42. Biopic about his life

According to People Magazine, Perry had aspirations to create a film based on his life. He specifically wished for Zac Efron, his co-star in the 2009 comedy 17 Again, to portray him in the film. However, fate had other plans for these intentions.

42. Biopic about his life.jpg?format=webp@LightsCameraPodcast/

43. The last thing Matthew Perry posted in his instagram

Just five days prior to his passing, Perry shared an Instagram photo of himself in a hot tub. He signed himself Mattman. This post was the sixth in a series of Mattman shares he had been making. And there's an unusual conspiracy theory circulating that speculates the posts preceding his death may have been a subtle cry for help. But the source said People Magazine Matthew just loved Batman and was having fun. His positive state of mind was also confirmed by another person.

43. The last thing Matthew Perry posted to his instagram.jpg?format=webp@awfuleverything/

44. Matthew Perry with a mystery woman

A day before Perry's death, TMZ published the photos of the Friends actor dining at the Hotel Bel-Air with a mystery brunette. Later, the woman has been identified: it was a model and entertainment reporter Athenna Crosby. She told TMZ, they were just friends. And also mentioned that the actor was in a positive mood during their conversation. He was enthusiastic about his weight loss journey and couldn't wait to hit the pickleball court on Saturday.

44. Matthew Perry with a mystery woman.jpg?format=webp@Mystery Woman Who Spent Last Lunch Date With Perry Speaks Out/Nicki Swift/

45. Pickleball kept Perry away from drugs

In the evening, before his death, Matthew returned home after a 2-hour round of pickleball. His affection for pickleball was widely known. His coach Matt Manasse told People Magazine, Perry used the sport as a means to stay away from drugs and lead a healthy life. Perry's enthusiasm for the game was so strong that he played it five times a week. However, it remains uncertain whether pickleball or any other form of physical activity was a factor in his passing.

45. Pickleball kept Perry away from drugs.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry’s Pickleball Coach Describes Their Friendship and Final Moments Together (Exclusive)/ Entertainment Tonight/

46. Cause of death

Currently, the causes of the death of the star of the TV show Friends are unknown. According to The Times, Perry had undergone an autopsy, but the investigation will take several months. The police said they did not find any prohibited substances in the actor's home. However, there were discovered prescription medications, including antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and COPD drugs, for individuals with emphysema or chronic bronchitis. It will be at least six weeks before the toxicology results are available. The investigation is ongoing.

46. Cause of death.jpg?format=webp@Fans Honor Matthew Perry Outside 'Friends' Apartment/Inside Edition/

47. Farewell Words

The death of Matthew Perry came as a true shock to his friends, colleagues, and fans. Many celebrities, including Maggie Wheeler, Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Trudeau, and others, posted farewell messages on their social media pages. However, the actors from the Friends reacted to their colleague's death only two days later. They explained that they hadn't written for so long because they needed time to recover after the shocking news of the loss.

47. Farewell Words.jpg?format=webp@‘Unfathomable loss’: Friends stars react to Matthew Perry’s death/Sky News Australia/

48. Lisa Kudrow is not adopting Perry’s dog

There were numerous reports suggesting that the actor's dog would find a new home with his Friends co-star Lisa Kudrow. But a source informed People Magazine that he did not have a dog at the time of his passing. Perry had previously been a dog owner to a doodle mix named Alfred, whom he co-parented with his ex, Molly Hurwitz. After their separation, Alfred remained with Hurwitz.

48. Lisa Kudrow is not adopting Perry’s dog.jpg?format=webp@Despite Reports, Lisa Kudrow Is Not Adopting Matthew Perry’s Dog Because He Didn’t Have One/Celebritysss/

49. Funeral

On November 3, TMZ published photos from Matthew Perry's funeral. The ceremony was relatively modest, with around 20 people in attendance. In addition to the actor's family, his Friends co-stars, including Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow, also bid him farewell. It seems that the actor's burial place, Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, was chosen intentionally: it is located just a stone's throw away from the Warner Bros. Studio lot where Friends was filmed.

49. Funeral.jpg?format=webp@Matthew Perry’s family and friends attend late actor's funeral | Jennifer Aniston is seen crying/Rest in Peace News /

50. What Matthew Perry wanted to be remembered for

Matthew Perry mentioned on the podcast Q With Tom Power that his dream is to help people. He expressed his desire to be remembered not just as the funny Chandler from Friends but also as someone who did a lot of good deeds. As per People Magazine, he had intentions to create a foundation to support people like himself, struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism. Today, in his memory, Perry's family and friends are determined to bring this foundation to life.

50. What Matthew Perry wanted to be remembered for.jpg?format=webp@NOW! Shocking Details of Matthew Perry's Death Revealed! | Detail in Photos of the body of Actor/Rest in Peace News /