SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Nearly a year ago, actor Matthew Perry appeared on the ‘Q with Tom Power’ podcast and made a singular point — he didn’t want to be remembered just for the hit television show ‘Friends,’ but rather, something he felt was much more important.
Perry spoke candidly: “Best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say yes, and follow up, and do it. That’s the best thing.” He continued, “And I’ve said this for a long time — when I die, I don’t want ‘Friends’ to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned and I’m going to live the rest of my life proving that.”
Perry’s struggle with addiction was no secret. In 2022, he released a book on his life and struggle with substance abuse, titled ‘Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir.’
The memoir recounts Perry’s journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery. He wrote about hospital visits, rehabilitation centers, and a life-threatening health scare. It went on to sell millions of copies.
Perry wrote at the beginning of his memoir, “Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”
While his memoir received critical acclaim, Perry spoke about his battle with addiction and alcoholism openly, and in public forum.
On the “Q with Tom Power” podcast, Perry touched on the severity of his addiction, saying, “I could not stop unless I was locked away somewhere. And at times, I would call drug dealers and have drugs brought in to the place I was locked up in.” He continued, “Alcoholism did not care that I was on ‘Friends.’ […] Alcoholism wants you alone and it wants you sick and then it wants to kill you.”
Perry mentioned on the podcast that he compares alcoholism to the comic book supervillain ‘The Joker,’ saying that The Joker just wants to see the whole world burn, and so does alcoholism.
“It took over decades of my life, and I pray to you, if you worry that you’re having this problem, or you know somebody that is — raise your hand, find somebody who’s smarter than you about this, and talk to them, and be honest about it, because the secrets are what kill us,” Perry said.
Perry was discovered unresponsive in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home on Saturday — no foul play is suspected, and no illegal drugs were found at the scene. His death brought forth an outpour of love from the public.
He was born Aug. 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His father, John, is an actor and his mother, Suzanne, served as press secretary of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Perry’s 10 seasons on “Friends” made him one of Hollywood’s most recognizable actors, starring alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, and David Schwimmer.
Perry’s family reportedly told TMZ, “We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother. 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.”
If you are struggling with addiction or mental health issues, you can find help here.