Matthew Perry Releases New Details about Addiction in Book and Interviews

Miranda Rider

Matthew Perry is an actor well known as Chandler Bing on the hit TV Sitcom “Friends,” which ran from 1994-2004 across ten seasons. In his newly released memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, which was released on Nov. 1, and in subsequent interviews, he has told startling details of his addiction and issues stemming from it that were unknown to many of his fans.

He starts his book off by telling the story of his near-death experience in 2019 after his colon had burst from opioid abuse. Perry underwent surgery for almost seven hours, with his doctors and surgeons telling his family that he had just a 2% chance of surviving. After that, the actor fell into a coma, which lasted for several weeks, and hospitalization for over five months. 

“I realized that my greatest fear had come true: which is that I did this to myself,” said Perry.

Since his colon burst in 2018, the actor was forced to undergo 15 stomach surgeries. 

Perhaps one of the most startling confessions Perry wrote is that he’s spent upwards of seven to nine million dollars trying to get sober and beat his addiction. He admits that he’s been to rehab close to 15 times in his 30-year-long struggle with addiction.

“I wasn’t doing it to feel high or to feel good,” said Perry. “I certainly wasn’t a partier… that was heaven for me. It no longer is.” 

The actor goes on to write that on the set of his 2002 film Serving Sara, his addiction had resulted in paying $650,000 dollars after shutting down film production and re-recording all of his lines because he had gone to rehab. 

“It was a small price to pay for saving my life,” Perry wrote. 

He says that he re-recorded the entire movie, and did as much press as possible for the film–  bending over backward to make things right.

When the show Friends ended after ten seasons of being on the air, Perry details how lost he had felt after no longer having the show. 

“With no ridiculously high paying, dream come true kind of a job to go to, and no special someone in my life, things slipped fast. It was like falling off of a cliff,” Perry wrote.

Since his near-death experience in 2019, the actor writes that he’s finally overcome the “big terrible thing,” his addiction. 

As a result of his near-death experience, Perry had to wear a colonoscopy bag for an extended amount of time. It was Perry’s therapist mentioning to him that he needed to associate drugs with wearing the colonoscopy bag for the rest of his life that steered him toward the road to recovery from his addictions.

“I have not been interested in taking drugs since,” he wrote. “I’m no longer mired in an impossible battle with drugs and addiction. I no longer feel the need to automatically light up a cigarette when I drink my morning coffee”

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