Why Matthew Perry couldn’t watch ‘Friends’ amid addiction

Former ‘Friends’ star Matthew Perry says he can’t stand watching himself in the hit comedy – and it has nothing to do with the show.

For Perry, 53, the Emmy-winning sitcom served as a reminder of his long battle with addiction and alcoholism, he said recently in a conversation with CBC’s Tom Power.

“I didn’t see the show and I didn’t see the show because I could go ‘drink, opiates, drink, cocaine,'” Perry said in the live interview. “As if I could tell what I look like from season to season.”

Perry’s interview with CBC came more than a month after the release of his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing in October. In his debut book, Perry reflected on playing Chandler Bing in Friends, his romance with Julia Roberts, and more.

The memoir also details his experiences with addiction and sobriety.

Perry told Power that “the alcoholism didn’t care that I was on ‘Friends.'” However, alcohol wasn’t Perry’s only vice during his stint on the comedy, which ran from 1994-2004.

“I was on 55 Vicodin a day, I was 128 pounds, I was on Friends and I’ve been seen by 30 million people and that’s why I can’t watch the show – because I was so brutally skinny and was crushed so badly by them illness,” he said.

To overcome his addiction and mental health issues, Perry attended a number of institutions. In 1997 he entered the Hazelden Betty Ford Treatment Center in Minnesota, where he received vital information on his road to recovery.

Perry told Power that a so-called “spiritual guy” at the facility reminded him that his addiction wasn’t his fault.

“It wasn’t my will that got screwed up. I have this disease and I need help,” the actor said.

Decades after his time at Hazelden, Perry said he’s made some progress. According to his memoir, the actor has been “largely sober” since 2001 — despite a handful of “mishaps” — and is excited to find out why he’s “still here” despite multiple near-death experiences.

He told CBC he’s even willing to revisit Friends with a new perspective.

“I’m going to start watching it because it really is [was] …an incredible ride, but it was incredible to see how it touched the hearts of different generations,” he said.

“I worried about it too much. I want to see ‘Friends’ too.”

In May 2021, Perry recently appeared alongside co-stars David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc for Friends: The Reunion on HBO Max.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-12-06/matthew-perry-watch-friends-memoir-addiction-alcoholism Why Matthew Perry couldn’t watch ‘Friends’ amid addiction

Sarah Ridley

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