‘Friends’ Star Matthew Perry Had No Memory of Filming 3 Seasons of Show after Substance Abuse

Actor Matthew Perry has made everyone laugh with his sarcastic character as Chandler Bing on the hit series “Friends.” However, behind the scenes, he struggled with addiction, which impaired his memory.  

Matthew Perry has charmed many fans with his portrayal of Chandler Bing in the 1994 sitcom “Friends.” Even after the iconic show ended in 2004, his popularity remained high.

In the series, he starred with Courteney Cox, Andrew Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Anniston, and Matt LeBlanc. Perry delighted fans again when he had a special reunion with his former co-stars in May 2021.

PERRY’S DRIVE FOR SUCCESS

Perry has successfully cemented his rightful place in Hollywood. He shared about his drive to become a successful actor in a 2002 interview with The New York Times, saying:

“There was steam coming out of my ears, I wanted to be famous so badly.”

During the interview, Perry shared he coveted attention and wanted the best seats in the house. He said he knew he wanted to be an actor from a young age and began auditioning for work at 15.

After having minor roles on television, Perry got his big break after joining “Friends” in 1994. For the actor, joining the hit series was an opportunity of a lifetime.

The “17 Again” actor earned a million dollars in every episode of the iconic series, something he had not done before. While gaining massive fame and money, the 52-year-old actor still felt lonely. 

Feeling extreme sadness, Perry turned to alcohol and later used drugs. According to reports, he went to a rehabilitation center in 1997 after becoming addicted to Vicodin, a pain medication.

DEALING WITH ADDICTION AND FAME

Despite Perry’s best efforts to hide his addiction from pain medications, the situation did not turn out as planned. Eventually, his co-stars learned about his addiction.

He felt horrible while acting funny on set while suffering from a hangover.

According to Kudrow, who portrayed Phoebe Buffay in the classic series, she and her co-stars knew that Perry was in serious trouble at the time. They tried to help him, but he was in denial about his problems.

Kudrow said she and her co-stars felt hopeless on the sidelines. During run-throughs on the “Friends” soundstage, Perry recalled sweating, shaking on occasion, or sometimes detoxing. 

Perry said he had an odd rule that he would never drink on set, but he would often arrive at the studio with extreme bouts of hangovers. He said he felt horrible while acting funny while suffering from a hangover.

In 2000, the “Serving Sara” actor was hospitalized after suffering from pancreatitis, a rare inflammation caused by drugs and alcohol. Although he recovered, Perry remained a heavy drinker the following year.

Perry’s substance abuse seemed to have affected his memory. He previously admitted he had no recollection of shooting several seasons of “Friends.” When BBC Radio 2 asked about his least favorite episode, he replied:

“I think the answer is, I don’t remember three years of it…”

In the radio interview, he sounded unsure and even tried to recall his least favorite episode. He initially estimated it to be in between the third and sixth season before saying he was “a little out of it.”

SOBRIETY AND FINDING HAPPINESS

Perry finally became sober after years of struggling with drugs and alcohol. He stated that something “clicked” on him that he decided to leave his drugs and addiction problem behind. 

Now the TV star is dedicated to helping other addicts embark on a journey to sobriety. He also turned his Malibu beach house became a sober living facility for men called Perry House.

He is now an advocate for drug courts, through which substance abusers receive treatment instead of incarceration. He said he found “true happiness” after becoming sober and helping others.

Friend’s executive producer, Marta Kauffman, said Perry’s recovery was a relief. She added watching him succumb to his addictions in the past was “heartbreaking and terrifying.”

Along with changing his life for the better, Perry seemed to have changed his appearance. The actor’s recent looks drastically departed from his early portrayal of Chandler Bing on TV. 

The “Odd Couple” star was recently spotted smoking a cigarette while running errands in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. He was unrecognizable with his gray hair, dark blue flannel shirt, and baggy sweatpants.

LANDING A SEVEN-FIGURE DEAL

Perry’s recent sighting comes a day after landing a seven-figure deal with Flatiron Books. Under the publishing company, he will release his memoir that chronicles his time filming the sitcom that shot him to stardom.

The acclaimed actor’s book, set to release in 2022, will lead fans about his private struggles with addiction. Flatiron Books publisher Megan Lynch noted Perry’s memoir as “extraordinary.”

Perry is the first one from the cast to publish a memoir. The upcoming book will also shed light on important issues for individuals who are facing difficulties in life.

He scored the promising deal with Flatiron Books, all while dealing with months of heartbreak. The “Fools Rush In” actor recently called quits from his ex-fiance Molly Hurwitz. 

CALLING OFF THEIR ENGAGEMENT

Perry and Hurwitz, who work as a literary manager, began dating in 2018 and were engaged in November 2020. They ended their engagement a few months ago, where Perry said their relationship did not work out.

Hurwitz reportedly put their wedding on hold and took a breather. Fans speculated that Perry’s alleged flirting with a younger woman triggered the couple’s recent breakup.

The young woman exposed the actor for flirting with her after they matched on Raya, a social media dating app. She was 19 while he was 50. Perry previously dated actress Lizzy Kaplan before Hurwitz.

Perry previously caused quite a stir among fans following the couple’s split. Many fans noticed that he had trouble expressing himself during the “Friends” special reunion. 

Fans pointed out that Perry’s slurred speech may be due to his past drug addiction. However, it was clarified later that his slurred speech was because of emergency dental work.

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