Matthew Perry became a household name when he brought the character Chandler Bing to life in Friends. Unfortunately, he passed away on Saturday, October 28th, 2023, at the age of 54. His sudden death sent shockwaves through the internet, prompting an overwhelming outpouring of celebrity tributes and expressions of love on social media and online platforms.
Throughout his years in the spotlight, Perry not only showcased his acting chops but also shared personal narratives of his ongoing battle with addiction – a struggle that predated his rise to fame.
What Addictions Did Matthew Perry Have?
Perry first encountered the effects of alcohol at age 14, finding that it seemed to enhance his charm and quell negative thoughts – it wasn’t until he reached the pinnacle of success that he realized fame had no impact on alleviating his personal struggles.
So, after drinking as a teenager, he later became fully addicted to opioids following a jet ski accident during the filming of his 1997 movie, Fools Rush In. Describing his first experience with opioids, he revealed, “I hadn’t had a pill before that. That first high from it was euphoria. And then I didn’t need to drink, which made you sweat and made you smell of alcohol.” At the peak of his addiction, Perry was consuming 55 Vicodin pills daily and saw his weight drop to 128 pounds.
In an October 2022 interview with The New York Times, Perry said that, “I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober.” (In his book, published after the interview, he suggests a figure closer to $7 million.) He stated during this interview that he had been clean for 18 months.
Despite enduring pain and hardship, Perry expressed that his journey to recovery instilled in him a deep sense of responsibility to assist others navigating similar paths.Embed from Getty Images
Matthew Perry: Drug Addiction and Helping Others
Driven by a desire to help others, Perry candidly shared his experiences with multiple rehab stays, detailing his struggles with addictive substances throughout his public life. Using his life’s narrative as a source of inspiration, he emerged as a motivational figure, dedicated to supporting those grappling with addiction.
As part of his commitment to helping individuals on the path to recovery, Perry transformed his Malibu residence into Perry House, a sober living facility that remained operational until 2015.
Matthew Perry conveyed his stories with a blend of hope and humor, reminiscent of his character on Friends. Prior to one of his rehab stints, he humorously acknowledged the attention surrounding his announcement, stating, “Please enjoy making fun of me on the world wide web,” playing into the recurring nature of such declarations.
Perry’s courageous and down-to-earth approach as a Hollywood A-lister highlighted the arduous nature of overcoming addiction in the public eye. Acknowledging the challenges inherent in the journey to recovery, he demonstrated an attitude of acceptance and a commitment to maintaining sobriety.
Perry, who published his memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing last year, consistently shared his battles with addiction in the hope of aiding others. Despite enduring 15 rehab stays, he claims to have been largely sober since 2001, acknowledging “60 or 70 little mishaps over the years” in a September 2022 interview with People.
A fervent supporter of prioritizing treatment over incarceration for drug offenders, Perry testified before a House subcommittee to advocate for funding. Reports suggest that he was actively working on establishing a foundation to provide additional support to individuals struggling with substance abuse.
Reflecting on his impact, Perry stated, “I’ve helped 100,000 people in a weekend, but I’ve also helped one guy. And it’s the same amount of juice that I get from it.” He stressed the profound satisfaction derived from witnessing the transformation in someone who had battled addiction for a decade. This commitment became a driving force in his life, as he expressed on the Q with Tom Power podcast in November 2022, “When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want helping others to be the first. And I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.“
So, while Matthew Perry undeniably captured the hearts of millions worldwide with his iconic show that defined an era, his memory will endure beyond Friends reruns.
The Matthew Perry Foundation
In the wake of Matthew Perry’s passing, a foundation bearing the actor’s name has been established. The Matthew Perry Foundation is open to receiving donations with the aim of helping anyone battling addiction.
The organization emphasizes Perry’s expressed desire to be remembered primarily as someone who aided those contending with addiction.
Get Treatment for Drug & Alcohol Addiction at Gratitude Lodge
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