Matthew Perry revealed that Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston reached out to him at the height of his substance abuse, helping him realise he had a problem.
Perry, who was best-known for playing Chandler Bing in Friends, died at the age of 54 on Saturday. His body was found in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home at about 4pm local time. Celebrity site TMZ said his assistant returned home after running errands to find the star unresponsive in the water.
Perry — who starred in Friends with Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow — gained worldwide success for playing Bing and was nominated for an Emmy in 2002.
The Massachusetts-born star battled substance abuse for years- and detailed fighting drug and alcohol addiction while filming Friends in his 2022 book Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.
In a recently re-emerged interview, Perry detailed how it was Aniston who reached out to him while filming the sitcom, and confronted him about his drinking.
Last year, the actor recalled how the star, who played Rachel Green, approached him on set telling him: “We know you're drinking".
Perry told ABC News' Diane Sawyer: "At the time I should have been the toast of the town, I was in a dark room meeting nothing but drug dealers and completely alone. [Aniston] was the one that reached out the most.
He said her confrontation was a "scary moment", adding: "I'm really grateful to her for that."
The cause of Perry’s death is yet to be confirmed.
According to Deadline, an initial coroner’s report has been carried out but the exact cause of death was not determined. Further investigations have been requested, including a toxicology report, before a determination will be made.
No illegal drugs were found at Perry’s Pacific Palisades property, but the authorities did find antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, TMZ reported.
Following his death, fans left flowers outside the Friends apartment facade in West Village, Manhattan. The show was never filmed at the Bedford Street location, but it served as the exterior shot in the sitcom and has since become a popular tourist hotspot. Tributes, including flowers and handwritten cards, were also left at his Los Angeles home.
Perry’s family said they were “heartbroken” following the “tragic loss” of their son. In a statement, they said: “Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend. You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love.”
Friends co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, along with executive producer Kevin Bright, described their shock at Perry’s death. They said: “He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart.” The show’s main cast are yet to speak publicly about his death, and are said to be working on a joint statement.
Lindsay Posner, who directed the play The End of Longing, written by and starring Perry, said the actor “honed his craft” on Friends. He said: “He was always very, very warm and generous, and keen to keep everyone entertained the whole time.”
Hank Azaria — who appeared in several episodes of the sitcom, playing Phoebe Buffay’s love interest David —has paid tribute to the star, saying that Perry was like a “brother” to him.
Sarah, Duchess of York, who made a cameo in the show, said: “It is a tragedy to lose you so early in life, rest in peace dear Matthew… you have given so much joy and laughter to so many.”
Perry grew up in Canada where he attended school with the country’s now prime minister Justin Trudeau. His big break came playing Bing in Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004.
He battled substance abuse throughout his life, and has previously admitted to taking 55 Vicodin a day while filming the show. He was reported to have gone to rehab 15 times and claimed he did not remember filming three seasons of Friends due to his addictions.
Last year, in his memoir, he revealed that his colon ruptured as a result of his opioid addiction when he was 49. He was given a two per cent chance of survival and required 14 surgeries to repair the damage.