Matthew Perry has been a part of our lives since the hit TV show Friends first aired. We fell in love with his funny antics and sarcastic dialog, but there’s been a hidden part of his story that many didn’t know about until now. In his new memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry opens up about his fight with addiction while on set of the beloved show.
Succeeding While Sick
In his heartbreakingly emotional memoir, Perry details the highs and lows he faced while in the spotlight. As the sitcom, Friends, aired, Perry struggled on and off with his sobriety for years. He even mentions the physical signs of his illness on the TV for everyone to see. In some seasons, he looks like a perfect bill of health, but in later years, his body shows just how sick he was at the time.
In an interview with People, Matthew Perry said of his time on Friends,
“I could handle it, kind of. But by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble. But there were years that I was sober during that time. Season 9 was the year that I was sober the whole way through. And guess which season I got nominated for best actor? I was like, ‘That should tell me something.'”Matthew Perry, People Magazine
Years after the show’s finale, Perry finally feels comfortable enough to share this intimate part of his life with the public. While many perceived Perry to have a relatively peaceful life, his reality couldn’t be more different.
It Takes Time to Heal
Perry opens his memoir by revealing that he nearly lost his life to addiction. At 49 years old, his colon suddenly burst from opioid use, and he ended up in a severe coma for two weeks. After waking up, he spent another 5 months in the hospital. When he initially was admitted to the hospital, doctors told his family that he had a 2% chance of living. Thanks to the life-saving technology of ECMO machines, which sends oxygen to the lungs and heart of the patient, they were able to bring him back from the brink of death. Now, with a new sense of urgency and thankfulness for more time, Perry isn’t taking a second more of his life for granted.
His memoir isn’t meant to scare people or make them feel bad for him. It’s to inform others of the struggle he went through. Alcohol and opioid addictions are some of the hardest battles to fight, and they only make the person feel alone. Luckily, Perry had support wherever he turned to.
He Was Never Really Alone
His castmates on the show were there for him whenever he needed some extra support,
“It’s like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick, or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up. They walk around it until that penguin can walk on its own. That’s kind of what the cast did for me.”Matthew Perry, People Magazine
If you didn’t love the cast of Friends then, how can you not love them now? Luckily, Perry is in a much better place with his sobriety and expects to live his life to the fullest. What stands out to fans now is his determination and resilience in facing this disease. Even Perry has grown proud of himself for sticking with his sobriety,
“The way that I can bounce back from all of this torture and awfulness. Wanting to tell the story, even though it’s a little scary to tell all your secrets in a book, I didn’t leave anything out. Everything’s in there.”Matthew Perry, People Magazine
Even when Perry was at his lowest, he still found a way of getting back up again. After 15 rounds of rehab and more doctor’s appointments than he could count, he’s still here, living to tell this harrowing but promising tale of life. His memoir, while hard to get through at times, is a story of hope. He survived through so much and is still standing with us today.
His memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is set to hit bookstores around the country on November 1st.
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