Matthew Perry covers People: I can help people because ‘I screwed up so often’

A scruffy, smirking Matthew Perry covers this week’s People Magazine with the tagline “My Life as an Addict.” Perry, 43, has been sober for years after publicly battling addiciton during the height of his fame in the late 90s and early aughts. We last heard him talk about his addiction issues during interviews he did a little over a month ago, when he was discussing his advocacy work. Perry was honored at the White House a few weeks ago for his work advocating for drug courts, which attempt to use rehabilitation for addicts instead of incarceration.

He’s really put his money where his mouth is, and donated his entire house in Malibu to be used as a men’s sober living facility called Perry House. So it’s kind of heart-warming to see Perry cover People this week, and to see him him get the recognition he deserves. He’s not even promoting anything so kudos to People. Here’s a preview of their upcoming story:

For a decade, Matthew Perry was living an actor’s dream: he had an iconic role as sardonic Chandler Bing on the beloved No. 1 sitcom Friends and a salary that reached $1 million an episode.

But behind the scenes, Perry was struggling. “I had a big problem with alcohol and pills and I couldn’t stop,” he tells PEOPLE in an exclusive new cover story. “Eventually things got so bad that I couldn’t hide it, and then everybody knew.”

After a harrowing, years-long battle with addictions to alcohol and Vicodin, Perry, 43, finally got sober. “Something clicked,” he says. “You have to want the help.” And he’s now dedicated to helping other addicts. He turned his former Malibu beach home into a men’s sober living facility called Perry House, and he’s becoming a passionate advocate for drug courts, through which non-violent substance abusers receive treatment instead of incarceration for their offenses.

Perry, who recently starred on the sitcom Go On and appears in recurring role on The Good Wife, says that sobriety and helping others have led him to finally find “true happiness” in his life. “The interesting reason that I can be so helpful to people now is that I screwed up so often,” he says. “It’s nice for people to see that somebody who once struggled in their life is not struggling any more.”

[From People]

Several of you commented on our last Matthew Perry story that he’s been with actress Lizzy Caplan since 2006. I didn’t know that! I really liked her in Hot Tub Time Machine and “True Blood.” The make a cute couple, but they’re not attention seeking in the least. I’ve never seen a photo of them together on a red carpet or anything. (There are photos of them at sporting events together, but I didn’t notice until now.)

Perry was so good in “Go On” and I’m bummed that the show was canceled. Decent sitcoms are rare, and he really has the comedic chops to carry his own show, he just needs the right vehicle. Maybe Perry could find a home on cable. He would be awesome in a raunchier comedy I think.

While I’m psyched that Perry is getting some love I can’t help but think that Melissa McCarthy over on the right sidebar there could have earned a full cover. The Heat is a big hit and she’s a bona fide movie star now. Maybe she didn’t grant People an exclusive interview though.

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42 Responses to “Matthew Perry covers People: I can help people because ‘I screwed up so often’”

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  1. Downton fan says:

    Love him

  2. neelyo says:

    I’ve disliked him for so long I can’t even remember why. There’s just somethng so smarmy and unlikeable about him.

  3. Jess says:

    Actually I’m pretty sure he and Lizzy ended things well over a year ago, but it’s hard to tell because he’s kept his personal life very, very private for the last decade or so.

    I love that he got the cover of People. Someone talking about recovery and advocacy makes a nice change from the usual trainwrecks and famewhores.

    • Holly says:

      Hmmm, now you have me wondering… When I saw her on Party Down and was finding out more about her roles, I happened upon the MP info and thought it was semi creepy just in the age difference and looks chasm. Now I don’t know what I think except that I appreciate/despise their privacy!

  4. Samigirl says:

    It’s nice to see someone DOING something about what they promote instead of just talking about it. Good on you, Matthew. You were always my favorite friend!

    • Holly says:

      Yes…! It’s an excellent departure from the usual role of star-does-PSA-asking-American-public-to-support _____. We all know any celeb with a long-running show or has ever been cast in a $20 mill. roll has more money to give than %90+ percent of the nation’s population. Good on him!

    • Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

      It seems he is doing the opposite of what Goopy does – he actually helps real people.

    • Isa says:

      He was my favorite friend too. I love him and his awkward jokes.

  5. tracking says:

    Sorry to hear about his sitcom (was not my cup of tea), but do hope they can figure out a way to keep him on the Good Wife. I find him much more interesting when he plays smarmy.

    • Holly says:

      Glad you brought up TGW, he’s been excellent on that. I get the feeling that show has tons of stars asking for guest roles (and many, many have been on). I don’t know if any guest stars haven’t been used really, really well on that show! ITA that smarmy works for him.

  6. Barrett says:

    I always liked him. Hope to see more of him!

  7. Katie says:

    I’ve loved him since FRIENDS premiered despite his addiction issues, and I try to watch everything he does.

    • Erinn says:

      He was the only character I genuinely always liked on Friends. And I actually really enjoyed Mr. Sunshine.

      • Pandy says:

        DH and I loved Mr Sunshine. Hope he does find a good vehicle for next comedy. Kudos to him for walking the walk. That’s rare. Good for him.

  8. Nev says:

    I saw him in real life in NYC in September. The camera really adds ten pounds! He is much narrow in the face and quite handsome in person.

  9. Dani says:


  10. lucy2 says:

    It’s really great that he’s putting in time, money, and effort to help others. I hope he continues to take good care of himself too.

    I always forget about him and Lizzy, they keep it so private.

    I’m bummed about Go On – it had some really funny and sweet moments (except I always noticed how strained his voice sounds now). I hope he finds another show if he wants to.

  11. jen says:

    He and Lizzy broke up a long time ago though.

  12. Stace says:

    Matthew Perry has been my favorite since I started watching Friends long ago. He seems like a genuine, down to earth guy. I’m glad that he has been able to keep clean and use his past to help people.

  13. Justaposter says:

    I loved every show he has done after Friends, and always sad to see them be canceled.

    I think Go On was my favorite. Loved him, loved the rest of the characters. Sadly I think that funny and well written and acted 30 minute sitcoms are a thing of the past.

    I also really like that he is ‘paying it forward’. It is a nice thing to see, in the land of Hollywood.

  14. Manders says:

    I’m active in the Los Angeles AA community, and Matthew Perry is known for being a huge presence here. One of my good sober friends tells a story about coming to his first AA meeting and as. Newcomer having to give the speaker a hug — that speaker was none other than MP. Blew his mind!

    • hunter says:

      Yes I have a friend who also did AA in LA and saw Perry a number of times as well as some other celebrities I will not name.

  15. Relli says:

    CB I LOVED GO ON! I was so bummed to see it canceled I loved the characters and was pretty invested in all their stories. I thought it was such a unique story, you know what happens when the life you thought you were going to have comes to a screeching halt. The interaction between him and Ann alone could have been an entire show in itself. Sigh.

    But that is really cool that he uses his money and fame to power the things he believes in, so much more interesting than say talking about this hair and over priced products.

  16. Bird says:

    I just love him, and Chandler was the BEST.

  17. Mayday says:


  18. Andrea says:

    I adore this man and I will never stop admiring him for the honest way he has handled his addictions and struggles. Stay strong, Matthew!

  19. d says:

    Liked him in Friends and all the post-Friends shows. I hate that they keep cancelling his shows, they were all good and funny. And as with everyone else, who knows what they’re really like in private, but at least in terms of his persona or the characters he creates and the causes he supports, he seems ok. I really do hope he’s good to his girlfriend…and if they’ve broken up, it was amicable.

  20. Jayna says:

    Wow, someone who really makes a difference in Hollywoodland and really puts their money and time where their mouth is when talking about volunteerism or charities. Most are paid spokespersons who come on a show like The View and state X Company is doing this compaign for women, cancer, whatever blah, blah, and I’m the spokesperson for the campaign to help bring awareness, but then have to throw in at the end quickly they are paid to be the spokesperson for their so-called charity work.

    Cher was on WWHL with Andy Cohen. My God, she was so funny. And Anderson Cooper popped on and talked about how Cher watches CNN, and after watching certain stories on CNN, she will quietly call him and say she wanted to give money/help directly to the subject of the news story and never ever gets it leaked for self-promotion purposes.

  21. Bijlee says:

    The two Matt’s were the best thing in friends.

  22. Rather than always thinking of a “vehicle,” maybe Perry should just get a compelling supporting role on a really awesome, edgy show. (I agree that something on a premium channel might be best.)

    I always think it’s better (and smarter) to be a part of something great than to be the star of something mediocre.

    It got cancelled, granted, but I could see him doing well on a show like Enlightened: quirky, funny, and dark.

  23. F5 says:

    Looking good, Ms. Chanandler Bong : )

  24. Erica says:

    I will forever love Ms. Chanandler Bong.

  25. serena says:

    I’m happy for Matthew, he’s really an incredible talented actor -handsome too-. I hope he’ll get the recognition that he deserves and a big hit show.

  26. MousieBrown says:

    “The fifth dentist caved and now they all recommend Trident?”