Why doesn't Matthew Perry remember filming much of 'Friends'? How pill and alcohol addiction affected his role

'A little bit of the time, I was a little out of it, yeah,' Matthew had said of his time on 'Friends'


                            Why doesn't Matthew Perry remember filming much of 'Friends'? How pill and alcohol addiction affected his role
Matthew Perry from 'Friends: The Reunion' (Getty Images)

"Can open, worms everywhere," Chandler Bing famously told off roommate and 'bracelet buddy' Joseph 'Joey' Tribbiani when he learned that they had been sharing a toothbrush. It didn't help when Joey nonchalantly revealed that he had used it to unclog the drain. 

Ahead of 'Friends: The Reunion' on May 27 on HBO Max, the fans of the hit sitcom are going through similar emotions about Matthew Perry (who played Chandler) as media outlets dig up information about the cast, the show, creators, and more.  

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Matthew Perry's Chandler was easily one of the most loved characters from the show. He fit right into the witty, one-liner churning, boy-next-door, who loved his WENUS (Weekly Estimated Net Usage Statistics) and Monica Geller equally, if not more. On-screen, Matthew's performance was seamless but behind-the-scenes the actor had been to hell and back.

David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry in a scene from 'Friends' Season 7 (NBC/ Newsmakers)

Substance abuse and pill addiction meant he lost chunks of his memories, especially those of him filming iconic 'Friends' episodes. In 2016, he told BBC Radio 2 candidly just how much he doesn't remember of his experiences. "Oh my goodness. I think the answer is I don't remember three years of it. So none of those... somewhere between season 3 and 6," he had said and added: "A little bit of the time, I was a little out of it, yeah." 

Matthew has been sober since 2001 and been spotted opting for soft drinks at bars. He converted his Malibu mansion into the Perry House, a facility meant to help those battling addiction. It gave his life purpose and made him happy, he was heard saying in multiple interviews. In the 10 years that he was on the show, he entered rehab twice. First in 1997 to battle his addiction to alcohol and prescription medication and four years later, to tackle "Vicodin, methadone, amphetamines, and alcohol addictions," The Sun reported.

How did it all start?

Matthew was 24 when he landed the gig. In no time, the cast was on every magazine cover and chat show. 'Friends' was an overnight success and continues to be one of the most-watched shows on Netflix. 

Actor Matthew Perry speaks onstage at the 'Go On' panel (Getty Images)

Talking to People in 2013, the actor revealed that during the show's successful run he "abused alcohol routinely" and had become addicted to pills after a Jet Ski incident. It was 1997, a doctor prescribed medicines, which he took and felt better about himself. "I did and I felt better than I ever felt in my entire life. I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop."

By his own admission, he was never high at work but "painfully hungover." Those watching and rooting for the actor would have thought he had it all but by then Matthew was in a dark place. "It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism."

And then... it got out of hand

Matthew has been candid about his struggles with addiction but ex-lover Kayti Edwards spilled details that sent shockwaves. Talking to In Touch Weekly in 2018, she had said how once the sitcom star had superglued his hands and legs. 

Actors Courteney Cox Arquette, Jennifer Aniston, and Matthew Perry are shown in a scene from the NBC series 'Friends' (Getty Images)

"During the time that he was using crack and cocaine, he had locked himself in his house for three months,” Kayti said. “And as his friend, it was very hard to see him spiral down like that," she recalled and added that by the time she drove down to his house he was screaming her name and asking for help.

He hadn't showered for days. Kayti was able to "unstick" his limbs but by the end of it he had lost layers of skin. However, at the end of it all, Matthew is well now, recovered, and sober. He is engaged to literary agent and girlfriend of two years Molly Hurwitz.

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