In the 1990s and early 2000s, actor Matthew Perry was on top of the world. Best known for his role as the sarcastic Chandler Bing on the smash hit sitcom “Friends,” Perry hit the big screen in several movie roles following his initial success. Yet, behind that piercing blue gaze was the dark cloud of addiction. Now 53, the actor is ready to share his story.
Matthew Perry has detailed his highs and lows in dealing with addiction in his upcoming memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, available November 1.
Perry was just 24 when he was cast as one of the six titular characters on “Friends.” At this time, his struggle with alcohol was starting to rear its head. A decade later, Perry realized he had a severe problem.
However, there were periods of sobriety during these ten years. He was sober for the entire ninth season of the wildly popular TV show, earning him an Emmy nomination for the best lead actor in a comedy series.
While “Friends” aired from 1994-2004, Matthew Perry underwent several physical changes, each of which reflected whether he was sober. In addition to struggles with alcohol, Perry had a severe opioid addiction. The actor revealed that during his “Friends” era, he took 55 Vicodin a day, and his six-foot frame dropped to 128 pounds.
In 2018, when Perry was 49 years old, his substance abuse almost cost him his life. He underwent surgery for what he called, at the time, a gastrointestinal perforation. Now, he is telling the world what really happened.
Matthew Perry suffered a burst colon from opioid overuse. He was in a coma for two weeks and spent five months in the hospital. For nine months, he had to use a colostomy bag. Upon admission to the hospital, doctors told Perry’s family he had a 2% chance of surviving the horrific condition. To date, he has had more than 14 surgeries on his stomach.
The scars keep him sober today. Matthew Perry has always been candid about his relapses and openly admits that he has been in and out of rehab 15 times. He credits his therapist for stopping his drug use by pointing out, “The next time you think about taking Oxycontin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life.”
Today, Perry is “an extremely grateful guy” who is surprised by his own resilience. While he admits telling the world all of his secrets is “a little scary,” Matthew Perry also calls his story one “that’s filled with hope.” And that is something this world will always need.