- Matthew Perry starred in Friends for a decade, but his battle with drugs & alcohol nearly took his life.
- He has been battling his addiction for over 25 years.
- The Hollywood hunk was once told he had a 2% chance of survival due to his drug use.
- Matthew opened up about his struggles with opioids & alcohol in his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, in Nov. 2022.
Although many know Matthew Perry, 53, from his work on Friends, Fools Rush In, and more, the Hollywood heartthrob has not had a perfect life. Nearly two decades after his time playing Chandler on the hit sitcom came to an end, the Massachusetts-born actor wrote a tell-all memoir titled, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, about his ongoing struggles with abusing drugs and alcohol throughout his life.
Now that he went public with his addiction battle, Matthew admitted he went to rehab over a dozen times following multiple near-death experiences. Keep reading to learn more about his drug and alcohol abuse, his recovery journey, and how Matthew is doing today.
Matthew Perry Reveals Drug Addiction
Nearly three decades ago in 1997, Matthew suffered from jet ski accident and soon became addicted to Vicodin, a Narcotic drug known to treat pain. After the accident, his Vicodin addiction led to abusing alcohol, per US Weekly, and he checked himself into rehab in Minnesota that year. Despite his attempts to get sober, Matthew was only able to stay sober for a short period of time before he would relapse again.
Three years after he went to rehab for the first time, Matthew was hospitalized in 2000 for alcohol-related pancreatitis, according to the same outlet. After his two week hospitalization, Matthew later began “detoxing” on the set of Friends, with a notably different physical appearance in Season 6 and 7. The popular TV star would eventually break his sobriety multiple times and go to rehab over 15 times throughout his journey.
What Has He Said About His Recovery?
It was not until 2002, that he spoke to The New York Times about his struggle and admitted he needed help. “When [fame] happens, it’s kind of like Disneyland for a while. For me it lasted about eight months, this feeling of ‘I’ve made it, I’m thrilled, there’s no problem in the world.’ And then you realize that it doesn’t accomplish anything, it’s certainly not filling any holes in your life,” Matthew told the outlet, one year after getting sober again. “I didn’t get sober because I felt like it. I got sober because I was worried I was going to die the next day.”
Matthew would also battle alcohol abuse throughout his life and admitted that he would show up to work hungover many times. ”I had this odd rule that I would never drink on a set,” the 17 Again star said. “But I went to work in extreme cases of hangover. It’s so horrible to feel that way and have to work and be funny on top of that.” By 2011, Matthew would find himself back in rehab.
He issued a statement to PEOPLE at the time, declaring he would be taking time off work to focus on his health. “I’m making plans to go away for a month to focus on my sobriety and to continue my life in recovery,” his statement read. “Please enjoy making fun of me on the World Wide Web.” Two years after that, the successful entertainer opened up a sober living facility in Malibu called, Perry House, according to Page Six.
How Long Has Matthew Perry Been Sober?
The 53-year-old’s recovery has been an ongoing one. He most recently became sober in 2021, according to Entertainment Tonight, just months before he filmed the viral Friends Reunion HBO Max special. Just a few years prior to that, in 2018, Matthew was hospitalized for three months for a gastrointestinal perforation. He took to Twitter at the time to announce the difficult moment in a humorous way. “Three months in a hospital bed. Check,” he wrote at the time.
How Is Matthew Perry Doing Today?
Most recently, in 2022, Matthew published his tell-all memoir in which he wrote about his addiction, recovery, and moments on Friends. In Nov. 2022, he appeared on The View and told co-host Whoopi Goldberg that he is “doing really well” today. “I’m doing really well. Things are going great in my life,” he told the comedian at the time. “I wrote a book so that’s why I’m wearing glasses because I’m an author.” In the memoir, Matthew revealed he began drinking alcohol at 14 years old and soon began drinking “every day” by age 18, per ABC News.
Around the same time, Matthew appeared in a candid interview with Diane Sawyer and told her all about his struggles amid promoting the memoir. He detailed that he was once taking 55 Vicodin pills per day, in a coma for two weeks, and had over 14 surgeries. “One of the things I have to deal with is that my family rushed to the hospital and were told that I have a 2% chance to make it through the night,” he told the reporter at the time. “And, you know, my mom heard that, and my dad heard that.” Matthew added that he is now on the “winning side” mentality in his recovery journey. “I’ve surrendered, but to the winning side, not the losing,” he penned in the book, via ABC News. “I’m no longer mired in an impossible battle with drugs and alcohol.”