Matthew Perry has published his memoirs Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing on November 1, 2022. It’s a raw, honest look at his life, career, and addiction.
Perry continued playing Chandler Bing friends from 1994 – 2004. It is one of the most popular series of all time. The sitcom was a huge hit for NBC during its original run and has garnered new generations of fans through syndication and streaming. The rest of the cast consisted of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer.
Perry’s Chandler was the funny one. He always had a sarcastic comment or a funny joke. It turns out his real life behind the scenes wasn’t that fun. His memoir gives us a glimpse of what was really going on.
Perry had just been cast in a series with the title LAX 2194, a comedy about a group of baggage claim workers at LAX airport in 2194.
After getting the role, he read a script for a series, which was originally called friends like us, and knew immediately that he was Chandler Bing. “One character in particular caught my eye: I didn’t think I could play Chandler. I was Chandler,” he said.
The problem was that he couldn’t audition because he was hooked LAX2194. Thankfully, the baggage claim sitcom didn’t do very well and he was able to audition for Chandler before anyone else was cast.
Perry told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that he had previously met Aniston friends, and asked her out. She declined but asked if they could be friends. The problem was that his crush was still there and he constantly admired his co-star on set.
“‘I was like, ‘Is three seconds too long?'” he thought as he stared at his co-star.
Perry also had crushes on his other female co-stars. “How can you not have a crush on Jenny and Courtney and Lisa?” he said to Sawyer. “So it was quite difficult to go to work because I had to pretend I didn’t have them [crushes].”
Eventually he got over his feelings and they really were all friends.
Perry started drinking when he was just 14 years old. He drank more as he got older, and by the time he became an actor, “drinking slowly but surely won the war on auditioning.”
Once it was thrown in friendshe tried to pare down: “I had a life-changing job that required me to — hell, desperately wanted to — report in the morning, so I drank a lot less than usual,” he said in his memoir.
Perry believed fame would solve his problems, but it didn’t work. “I loved everything about the show, but I was also struggling with my addiction, which only added to my shame,” he wrote. “I had a secret and nobody could know it.”
It got even worse during filming Fools rush in. Perry was thrown from a jet ski and injured his neck. The doctor gave him Vicodin for the pain. “I couldn’t believe how good I felt; I was in complete and pure euphoria.”
He also stated, “I swear to God, I think if I had never taken it, none of the next three decades would have turned out the way they did.”
Perry quickly developed a Vicodin habit. A year and a half later he was taking 55 pills a day.
Perry thought he was hiding his addiction from his castmates. He said he was “never high” while filming the show, but Aniston came up to him one day and said that anyone could smell alcohol on him.
“I know I drink too much, but I don’t know exactly what to do about it,” he told her.
He went into rehab in season 7 of Friends. “I got driven in a big blue pickup to marry Monica from a treatment center,” he shared with Sawyer.
When he was shown Chandler and Monica’s wedding scene during the interview, he smiled and said, “That was pretty good. I will watch this scene again and again. That was good. I looked fine sober. Funny to watch”.