Matthew Perry Reveals His True Story Full of Drama in a Memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing”
We know Matthew Perry from the famous sitcom, Friends, where he plays a funny, nice guy who’s always in a good mood. Real life, however, can be more dramatic and complicated, and in November, the actor shared his heartbreaking memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, which is a literal confession.
Matthew Perry turned 53 this year, and even after decades have passed, we still remember his portrayal of Chandler Bing. He was cast in the role at age 24, and at that time, life seemed normal and no one could predict that addiction would become a huge part of his life. Just a young and promising actor getting famous, he recalled, “I could handle it, kind of. But by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble.”
Perry says that his readers may be shocked to hear it, but he even almost died a few years ago at just 49 years old. The actor admitted that he suffered from a gastrointestinal perforation and doctors spent weeks fighting for his life. Then he slipped into a coma for 2 weeks and 5 months. He faced very tough times and had to use a colostomy bag for 9 months.
Here’s what he says about that period: “The doctors told my family that I had a 2% chance of surviving. I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives that.”
The disease didn’t attack him all at once. Season by season the addiction to alcohol was getting worse, and his body and mind disobeyed. Perry opened up about there being a point when he was taking 55 pills to fight the pain.
“I didn’t know how to stop. If the police came over to my house and said, ’If you drink tonight, we’re going to take you to jail,’ I’d start packing. I couldn’t stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older,” explained the actor. He was 128 pounds.
It was obvious that such pressure on his health couldn’t last long, and in 2000, he was hospitalized with pancreatitis. It was exactly between seasons 6 and 7 of Friends. Fans of the show noticed how much Perry’s appearance had changed during this time. He started looking much thinner.
The recovery had begun, but still, it was a long road with some months of success. “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.”
Going from the dark to the bright side was difficult, but it was worth it.
In total, he’s been to rehab 15 times and has had 14 surgeries on his stomach that remind him to stay clean. “I’ve got to not go to the gym much more because I don’t want to only be able to play superheroes. But no, I’m a pretty healthy guy right now,” Perry said.
It’s can be easy to assume that a celebrity’s life is full of joy and ease, but they are just like anyone else. “That disease attacks everybody. It doesn’t matter if you’re successful or not.” declared Perry. Everyone can have dark hours with emotional conflicts, feeling like there’s no way out. But there is a way, and it’s in your hands to change your life for the better.
What was your biggest life test? What helps you to stay strong?