Matthew Perry opens up about his battle with addiction: ‘Being on ‘Friends’ probably saved my life’
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Matthew Perry opens up about his battle with addiction: ‘Being on ‘Friends’ probably saved my life’

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Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines of Oct. 20 Video

Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines of Oct. 20

Fox News Flash top entertainment and celebrity headlines are here.

Matthew Perry is speaking out on his battle with severe addiction during his years starring as Chandler Bing on “Friends.”

Perry was 24 when he landed the role and described himself as “just a guy desperate for fame, thinking that fame would fix everything.”

“I thought being funny all the time was how I would get through,” the 53-year-old actor told People magazine. “I thought [‘Friends’] was going to fix everything. It didn’t.”

Perry, who detailed his struggles with drugs and alcohol in his upcoming memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” told the outlet he initially thought he could manage his addiction.

"Friends" alum Matthew Perry said starring on the show "probably saved" his life while he was fighting an addiction to drugs and alcohol.

"Friends" alum Matthew Perry said starring on the show "probably saved" his life while he was fighting an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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“I thought I could handle it kind of,” he admitted. “But, by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble.”

The “Fools Rush In” star’s alcohol problem worsened over time and, in 1997, he developed an addiction to the painkiller Vicodin after being involved in a jet ski accident.

At one extremely low point, Perry said, he was taking 55 Vicodin pills a day and weighed 128 pounds. He revealed he did 15 stints in rehab and underwent 14 surgeries for addiction-related medical issues. 

Perry said his "Friends" castmates supported him during his struggles and helped him on his journey to recovery.?

Perry said his "Friends" castmates supported him during his struggles and helped him on his journey to recovery.?
(NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

“I didn’t know how to stop,” Perry explained. “Because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older.”

Perry told the outlet his “Friends” co-stars supported him during his struggles and helped him on his journey to recovery.  

“They were understanding, and they were patient,” he said.  

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“It’s like penguins. In nature, when one is sick or very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up and walk around until that penguin can walk on its own. And that’s kind of what the cast did for me.”

However, the Massachusetts native maintained that he would give up all of his fame and fortune to be free of addiction.

“The fact that I would trade it all to not have this disease is true. But I don’t belittle how fun the experience has been on ¡®Friends¡¯,” he said. “And the money was amazing.

In 2021, all the main cast members returned to the beloved sitcom's original soundstage for the HBO special "Friends: The Reunion."

In 2021, all the main cast members returned to the beloved sitcom’s original soundstage for the HBO special "Friends: The Reunion."
(Courtesy of HBO Max?)

“Just the creative experience of being on ¡®Friends¡¯ probably saved my life.”

He added that being one of highest-paid actors on TV made him rein in some of his worst urges.

“When you’re making a million dollars a week, you can’t drink the 37th drink. You have to go home and go to sleep. ¡­ That was the greatest job in the world.”

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In 2021, all the main cast members, including Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer returned to the beloved sitcom’s original soundstage for the HBO special, “Friends: The Reunion.”

Though it was the first time they had all appeared on screen together since the show wrapped up in 2004, Perry said their off-screen friendships have remained strong over the years. 

“It’s a group that really is close and tight-knit and loves each other,” he said. 

“Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing” will be released Oct. 28.

Ashley Hume is an entertainment writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to ashley.hume@fox.com and on Twitter: @ashleyhume

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