Everything Matthew Perry Wrote About ‘Friends’ in His Memoir

Matthew Perry released his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing on November 1, 2022. It is a raw, honest look at his life, his career and his addiction.

Perry played Chandler Bing on 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 it has gained new generations of fans through syndication and streaming. The rest of the ensemble cast were 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 that, behind the scenes, his real life was not so funny. His memoir gives us a look inside what was really going on.

Matthew Perry almost wasn’t Chandler Bing

Matthew Perry appears on stage during an event.
Matthew Perry speaks at the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour I Frederick M. Brown / Stringer

Perry had just been cast in a series called L.A.X. 2194, a comedy about a group of baggage claim workers in the LAX Airport in the year 2194.

After he got the part, he read a script for a series that was originally called Friends Like Us, and immediately knew he was Chandler Bing. “One character in particular stood out to me: it wasn’t that I thought I could play Chandler. I was Chandler,” he said.

The problem was that he couldn’t audition because he was attached to L.A.X. 2194. Thankfully, the baggage claim sitcom did not do very well and he was able to audition for Chandler before anyone else was cast.

Matthew Perry had a crush on Jennifer Aniston while filming ‘Friends’

Perry told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that he met Aniston prior to Friends, and asked her out on a date. She turned him down but asked if they could be friends. The problem was, his crush was still there and he found himself constantly admiring his co-star on the set.

“‘I was like, ‘Is three seconds too long?’” he would think when he found himself gazing at his co-star.

Perry also crushed 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 made it kinda difficult to go to work, because I had to pretend I didn’t have these [crushes].”

Eventually, he got over his feelings and they all really were friends.

Matthew Perry had a secret while filming ‘Friends’

Perry began drinking when he was just 14 years old. He drank more as he got older, and by the time he became an actor, “drinking was slowly but surely winning the war against auditions”.

Once he was cast in Friends, he tried to cut back, “I had a life-changing job that I had to — hell, desperately wanted to — report to in the morning, so I drank far less than usual,” he said in his memoir.

Perry believed that fame would fix his problems, but it wasn’t working. “I loved everything about the show, but I was also struggling with my addictions, which only added to my sense of shame,” he wrote. “I had a secret, and no one could know.”

Things got worse while filming the movie 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 explained, “I swear to God I think if I’d never taken it, none of the next three decades would have gone the way they did.”

Perry quickly developed a Vicodin habit. A year and a half later he was taking 55 pills a day.

The cast of ‘Friends’ could smell alcohol on Matthew Perry

Perry thought he was keeping his addiction from his castmates. He said he was “never high” while filming the show, but Aniston came to him one day and said that everyone could smell alcohol on him.

“I know I’m drinking too much, but I don’t exactly know what to do about it,” he told her.

He went into rehab during season 7 of Friends. “I was driven in a big blue pickup truck 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’ll watch that scene over and over. That was good. I looked good, sober. Fun to watch”.

Matthew Perry dated Julia Roberts

NBC wanted superstar Julia Roberts as a guest on the Friends post-Super Bowl episode during season 2. Allegedly, Roberts would only do the show if she could be in Perry’s storyline, so he sent her three dozen roses with a note, “The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have an excuse to send you flowers.”

This led to some flirting via fax (yes fax — it was the 90s). They were a happy couple by the time she filmed her Friends episode. “I had the most beautiful, famous woman in America as my girlfriend,” he wrote.

When ‘Friends’ ended

Aniston was the first who said she was ready to leave the show but Perry said, “the truth was, we were all ready for Friends to be done.”

After the last scene of the last episode, the whole cast was crying, except Perry. “I couldn’t tell if that was because of the opioid buprenorphine I was taking, or if I was just generally dead inside,” he wrote. “What will become of me now that I no longer have this insanely fun, creative job to go to every day?”

At the time of his interview with Diane Sawyer in October 2022, Perry was sober for 18 months.

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