Matthew Perry on his addiction: ‘It was drinking and opiates. I was a sick guy’

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Do you remember back in the late-Friends era, when Matthew Perry kept gaining and losing weight and going to rehab? Perry battled a Vicodin and alcohol addiction that sent him to rehab in 1997 and again in 2001. Since getting sober, he’s become an advocate for addicts, and has even donated his home to be used as a sober living facility. In a new interview with ABC News, Perry is interviewed along with his friend, Earl Hightower, whom he credits for saving his life. Perry and Hightower were honored by the White House a few weeks ago for their work advocating for drug courts, which provide a treatment alternatives for addicts instead of incarceration. Here’s some of what Perry told ABC News, including jokingly dismissing ideas of a Friends reunion. Oh well.

On his addiction
“Mostly it was drinking, you know, and opiates. I think I was pretty good at hiding it but, you know, eventually people were aware.”

On seeing photos of himself from when he was an addiction
“I honestly recoil. It’s scary to look at that. I was a sick guy.”

On if there’s going to be a Friends reunion
“I don’t think so. It would be terrible to do something and have it not be good. If we did a movie and it sucked, then it would, you know, blemish it.”

On if he’s going to Jennifer Aniston’s wedding
“I don’t know. Yes, I’m sure. When is it?”

[Quotes from ABC via LA Times, Radar]

You get the sense that Perry is trying to help others and that he really doesn’t want to get into the details of what he went through. Some of it is probably a blur to him now anyway. This makes me wonder – does Perry sometimes live at Perry House with the addicts in recovery? He is listed among the staff there, and it used to be his house. What an incredible gift to give for a cause.

I’m bummed that “Go On” was canceled as I thought it was a decent show and I loved Perry in it. Did you see this video of a clueless hockey reporter congratulating Perry right after it was announced that his show got canceled? He handled it so well and with humor. I was hoping that show would be a comeback for him, but it wasn’t to be.

As for Jennifer Aniston’s wedding, the fact that Perry asks when it will be speaks to the fact that nothing is planned yet. She’s been engaged for about nine months now, it’s about time for her to set a date.

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41 Responses to “Matthew Perry on his addiction: ‘It was drinking and opiates. I was a sick guy’”

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  1. Sonia says:

    Oh I took his comment about JA wedding as his typical non answer – keeping a friends secret wedding plans a secret! I loved Go On too, I was bummed when it was cancelled.

  2. marie says:

    I love him, I really wish he’d get a lasting show. I watched Go On and liked it (it had John Cho, what’s not to like?)

    Good on him for putting in the work, getting better and helping others, much respect.

  3. ncboudicca says:

    I’m glad he’s stayed sober. Hope he finds a good comeback vehicle soon!

  4. Suze says:

    He plays it down, but it’s a daily commitment staying sober and living a good life. I give him a lot of credit. And he hasn’t ridden on it, making sobriety his career and the only thing people talk about with regard to him – again, much credit to hin.

    It’s a great thing that he donated his house to the cause: it says a lot about him.

  5. Joanna says:

    i think he’s a good looking guy.

  6. Carobell says:

    I loved Go On.

    I’m actually really sad it got cancelled. It was a suprisingly fun show about the difficult topic of grieving and the different ways we do. Matthew Perry was great and the ensemble had genuine chemistry.

    My dad has been gone for three years now, I miss him every day.

  7. launicaangelina says:

    Hi comment about being “award winning alcoholics” was funny. It was in response to him and Earl getting recognized by the White House. I always root for him.

  8. Jess says:

    Really, really great thing to do, and you can tell this is something he’s really involved in and passionate about. He’s been doing a lot of work trying to raise funding for Drug Courts lately (well for many years now really, but he’s been particularly busy over the last few months), and I really admire the way he goes about it. He’s a real advocate, he perfectly treads the line between getting people/press interested by referencing his past without ever making it all about him.

    I doubt he lives in the house now, he hadn’t lived there for at least a year or two before he donated it. But he does A LOT of work with addicts in LA, so whatever role he plays there I think he would genuinely be considered staff.

    Btw, the ‘clueless reporter’ is a long-time friend of Perry’s, they were just joking around. I’m sad to see Go On go as well. It wasn’t spectacular but it was easily my favourite of the new comedies and Perry and the support cast were great. I do think Perry can do better though, and maybe he’ll get a good run on The Good Wife now.

  9. Andrea says:

    I give him so much credit. He has always been open about his addictions and his struggle to stay clean.

    Keep going Matthew!

    Such a talented, funny man. One of the funniest actors on TV ever.

  10. the original bellaluna says:

    REALLY like him. I remember when he was struggling with the drugs while he was on Friends. Even then, he knew it was a problem and went to rehab.

    Sad his show got cancelled. He’s funny, and his facial expressions are priceless!

  11. ds says:

    He was my favorite Friend and I thought he was sooo cute back then: he’d be my boyfriend type totally

  12. oliveo says:

    Love him. Love that he’s been with LIzzy Caplan for a looong time now. I want to have them over for Scrabble and fondue.

  13. lucy2 says:

    I didn’t know his show got canceled, but I knew it was in danger of it. Bummed, it had some great funny moments and it was very touching at times.

    It seems like he’s doing really well, and I hope he keeps it up. Tough thing to go through, and it’s great he’s using his experiences and success to help others.

    I’d bet money his wedding comment was just a typical MP comedic response. He’s a sharp and witty guy, and just messing with the reporter.

  14. serena says:

    I love him and it makes me feel sad that his show was cancelled. This guy is so talented and really need a big hit show.

  15. valleymiss says:

    I love Matthew Perry. Chandler was always my favorite character (followed by Ross, and Rachel). He was absolutely priceless on that show. I also really enjoyed “Go On” and thought it had a unique premise. But man, the name was stupid and forgettable.

    Hopefully he’ll land on his feet. Obvs he doesn’t have to work, but I want to see him on tv every week. Matthew’s just so talented and funny!

  16. Ai says:

    So happy for him and wish him all the best.

  17. RHONYC says:

    “I don’t know. Yes, I’m sure. When is it?”



    he’s always been such a stitch. :lol:

  18. Sam says:

    I’m so sad Go On was cancelled too. I really enjoyed it and have always had a soft spot for Matthew. I didn’t know he had donated his house. What a generous man.

  19. Really says:

    Middle picture looks like Mel Gibson.

  20. Lemony says:

    He was the best part of Friends!
    Much respect for working at his sobriety.
    We will miss Go On.

  21. Beatriz says:

    Yeah, Friends wasn’t that good, but Chandler always made me laugh.
    Bummer that his projects always get cancelled, even though they’re good (anyone remember Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip? I thought it was really good!).

  22. SE says:

    Loved him in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip – everyone in it, really. And I actually enjoyed Friends – yes, those guys being able to live that lifestyle in NYC was totally unrealistic, but I loved the chemistry between the actors. I think they played off of each other really well.

  23. Lucinda says:

    Classy guy. Sucks his show was cancelled. I really enjoyed it.

  24. Kat says:

    I LOVE him! I only vaguely knew about his addiction issues and didn’t realize what an advocate he is. I’ve struggled with addiction and the worst part, I think, is the stigma and how people don’t understand that it’s an illness. MP is awesome for his honesty and his generosity.

    Also, I of course love Chandler, but I LOVED this guy in Fools Rush In with Salma Hayek. And he’s looking sexy – aging well.

  25. Itsa Reallyme says:

    So, if we’re all in agreement that Go On was a good show, why did the network cancel it?
    I don’t understand their decision making sometimes.

  26. Sparkly says:

    I love Matthew Perry! He seems like such a great guy, and I just love both his humor and candor in talking about his addiction.

    Count me among those that are so sad to see Go On cancelled. It was one of those quiet hits. I don’t get it either. Everyone I know who’d seen it really loved it. Honestly, I credit that show with helping me during a lot of grief stuff that I had wrt losing my mom. I was kind of all alone with that grief (well, my husband too, but otherwise alone), and I so wished I had a fabulous group of friends like the group on that show. It was nice to see people’s freak-out mourning stuff is totally normal and that it’s also okay to smile or even laugh about it.

    Hm, maybe I should go write a fan letter or something. lol Good and far too underrated show.

  27. Sojourner says:

    I’m really sorry Go On got cancelled, too. It wasn’t amazing, but it grew on me. I loved Matthew Perry, and Fausta’s ongoing hot-for-women comments — I never knew if her character was supposed to be bisexual or if this was just reflecting the fact that even straight women can find other women attractive.