Keanu Reeves thought Matthew Perry’s macabre comments ‘came out of left field’

Considering Generation Z’s obsession with Friends reruns, I actually thought it was smart for Matthew Perry to write a memoir and cash in on some of that ‘90s and early ‘00s nostalgia. What I didn’t predict is that Perry’s memoir would go over like a lead balloon. While Perry’s addiction struggles are newsworthy and important conversations, the rest of his sh-t has gone over poorly. He comes across like a creepy coworker to his female Friends costars especially. One of the worst parts of the book was his repeated attempts to “joke” about how Keanu Reeves should have died instead of River Phoenix or Chris Farley. It’s insane. Perry was called out on it and he gave a half-assed apology. Now Us Weekly’s sources have Keanu’s thoughts on the matter?

Keanu Reeves was not expecting Matthew Perry‘s digs toward him in his memoir, a source exclusively reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly.

“Keanu thought the comments came out of left field,” the insider says. “It’s kind of backfired on Matthew anyway, which is why he had to apologize.”

The Friends alum, 53, surprised readers with his shade at Reeves, 58, in Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. In multiple sections of the book, Perry referred to The Matrix star in a seemingly negative light.

“River [Phoenix] was a beautiful man inside and out — too beautiful for this world, it turned out. It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down. Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?” the Massachusetts native wrote while addressing the death of their mutual friend.

[From Us Weekly]

I hope Keanu didn’t pay any attention to Perry’s words at all. If Keanu did see it, I hope he also saw how many people stood up for him and had his back. Like, at this point, there are absolutely no bad stories about Keanu whatsoever. He keeps to himself, he’s had so much heartbreak and tragedy in his life, he’s a good friend and a good coworker to everyone. It says more about Perry than Keanu that Perry thought he could say something sh-tty about Keanu and get away with it.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red, Instar.

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71 Responses to “Keanu Reeves thought Matthew Perry’s macabre comments ‘came out of left field’”

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  1. Danbury says:

    I will love Keanu forever. That is all <3

  2. Jan90067 says:

    It was a stupid, juvenile thing to say, but that’s Perry in a nutshell: stupid and juvenile. He puts shit out thinking he’s sooooo witty, and then looks around to see if anyone reacts. Well, he got a reaction, just not the one he wanted.

    NO ONE messes with Keanu. He’s a good guy.

    • Ciotog says:

      I’ve been so unimpressed by the excerpts I’ve seen from Perry’s memoir. Of course, having a long term addiction does leave you stuck emotionally and mentally at the age you started using, which I think explains a lot about how childish Perry seems.

    • Queen Meghan’s Hand says:

      So juvenile.
      I watched his Diane Sawyer interview and he had the nerve to say that he wants to get married and start a family. This 53 year man only months sober, toothless, still physically beaten and recovering from his multiple hospitalizations and surgeries, not only declares he’s ready to be someone’s husband but also a father. I guess that’s why he was going on dates with 19 year-olds minutes after he got his colostomy bag removed.
      Like grow up. I’m not saying middle-aged addicts shouldn’t get married. But in the context of his journey, It felt so out-of-place, unrealistic, and very juvenile to say.

      • Jennifer says:

        I know it’s bad to say, but given the stuff he’s gone through over the years, I have concerns of him having children. Like, dude, you’ve had enough to deal with already and now you think you can handle the stress of kids for 20 years?

      • Msmlnp says:

        His brain is addled from years of chemical abuse. He may stay sober, but I’m guessing he will always be in this mental place of poor insight and destructive choices. Addicts are very selfish people. This is not to disparage people who do the hard work of sobriety- but if you have lived with/loved someone with an addiction you sadly know exactly what I mean.

      • Renee' says:

        Not too mention the fact that he stated he will only date wealthy women so they don’t want him for his money. What else would they want?

        I just finished reading his book the other night and he’s a jerk. He breaks up with literally every decent and good woman (his words) in his life. His reasoning is that he never felt good enough and was afraid they would reject him.

        But now he wants to get married (to a woman of wealth) to what….take care of him? His behavior in the book was exhausting. It left me with a lot less respect for him than I had before.

  3. Cessily says:

    I never liked Mathew Perry I never got the appeal that said with his comments any pass I might have given him for his addiction struggles ended with that comment he made on Keanu. The world needs a lot more people like Keanu Reeves and a lot less Mathew Perry’s.

    • Erin says:

      I always felt like the oddball of my generation because I was one of the few who just didn’t like Friends. I watched a couple of episodes and I didn’t find it funny because I thought all of the actors were way OTT and too try hard, especially MP. I thought he was the worst and I never understood his appeal. Friends fans are rabid though and I was constantly bombarded with people begging me to try to watch it again, it was bizarre but also probably a sign of the times since we didn’t have so many choices back then and TV vs streaming is worlds different.

      • Ellie says:

        Erin, totally agree. I was a teen at the time, I remember hating it but only watching as there was nothing else on. It’s like a collective amnesia, people don’t remember how truly awful Friends was.

      • Strath23 says:

        I feel completely the same, watched several episodes and never understood the appeal.

  4. Janey says:

    I’m listening to the audio book at the moment. Once I got over the way he sounds (slurring and slow) and settled into it, he comes across as self-pitying and arrogant. I’ve heard the bit about Keanu and it seems to me like he meant it, not as a joke that just didn’t land, actually meant it. I’m carrying on with it for now (I’m at the part where he’s about to get Friends) and it is definitely interesting but he comes across as whining and childish.

    • Dannielle says:

      I noticed this recently – is this from his last hospitalization somehow? I’m missing something.

  5. Malificent says:

    I think Perry’s joke was based on the fact that Keanu’s acting skills will never set the world of fire (and certainly not earlier in his career). And that part is true — Ledger and Phoenix were much better at their job than Keanu. But Perry completely misread the room by missing the fact that Keanu is universally adored, not only for being easy on the eyes, but for being one helluva a nice guy.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah, I think it was definitely a dig at Keanu’s acting (he’s not the best actor, sorry Keanu stans, lol.) But even so, it was a gross thing to say because…..he deserves to die over someone else because they were more talented?

      he could have made the same point without naming a name, like this: ” It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down. Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but others with so much less talent still walk among us?”

      I mean its still the same idea, but he’s not dragging poor Keanu into it at least. It’s made me not want to read his memoir, and before this I was all set to buy it and read it.

      • Twin Falls says:

        I still think verbalizing a talented/less talented versus good person/bad person comparison is mind-blowingly callous. The people he’s mentioning weren’t just talented people. They were beloved as friends and family. Matthew Perry is not my cup of tea.

      • Jackson says:

        He should have inserted his own name in there, not KR.

      • Becks1 says:

        @twin Falls, I agree, I think the comparison in general is just in poor taste, but I think if he hadnt named names the excerpt wouldn’t have been getting such attention.

        @Jackson I also think that if he had inserted his own name it would have been received differently. Like I think that’s a more natural reaction – why are these people dead but I’m still alive, it should have been me. I mean its still a dark sentiment, but he was in a dark place for a long time.

        Pulling in Keanu just seemed……well, out of left field, like this article says. And unnecessary, like he couldn’t find a better way to articulate his grief than this?

    • Robert Phillips says:

      It seems strange to me that Perry sides with the two addicts. Who died from drugs. I know Perry was in a movie with River. But does he even know Keanu? And did Keanu maybe try and stop Perry from doing drugs and that’s why he’s upset with him. You know Pheonix and Farley probably partied with him. Maybe Keanu made him feel bad about doing the drugs and that’s why he’s against him.

      • Shai says:

        Keanu, Matthew, River, and Chris were all in the same friends group and did drugs (yes, even Keanu). This is how they all know each other and why KR is mentioned. Keanu apparently stopped before he became too addicted while we know the others didn’t. It’s assumed this is why Perry is so bothered by Keanu’s existence: He managed to get out unlike Chris Farley and River Phoenix. Obviously not excusing anything because Matthew Perry is a self-pitying arrogant man who didn’t need to drag in someone’s name.

    • Sue E Generis says:

      Nonetheless, thinking Keanu’s life is disposable because he’s a less talented actor? Seriously? There’s just no interpretation here that is acceptable.

      • Erin says:

        Totally agree and like @Jackson said above why didn’t he say himself instead? He thinks he’s more deserving than Keanu?

    • HelloDolly! says:

      Perry comes from an upper class, white household in New England and, like Keanu, has ties to Canada. Keanu hails from Canada has some mixed-race lineage. My gut reaction is that yes, Perry disparages Keanu based on perceived lacking talent, but Perry’s opinions also sound to me classist with a touch of racism.

      As a Californian who lived in New England, let me tell you…Boston racism and class culture is very real—the blue state is not immune from these politics. I had someone ask me there “what prep school I went to” (LOL, um public schools?), and my Sikh friend couldn’t step foot in Boston without sh*t happening to them. Bostonians more than once referenced west coast innovators/laborers as lazy, and my mentors made fun of my seemingly CA accent or persona. Living in New England was REALLY interesting for me to experience. I actually loved it there, but it was laborious trying to figure out/witness the race and class politics.

      • LightPurple says:

        Perry spent only the first year of his life in western MA on the New York state line before his Canadian mother moved him up to Ontario. They did not live in the Boston area.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      But the thing is, Perry isn’t any more talented than Keanu. He could easily have said instead, “yet why am *I* still here”? I think Perry is very jealous, probably THINKS he’s more talented than he is, and can’t understand why Keanu gets to be a movie star and not him. The answer is, Keanu found a niche where he can shine, and his movies make money, and he is better looking and more fit than Perry, and people probably enjoy working with him. And that’s why Keanu is a movie star and Perry is not.

      • Jay says:

        The thing is, saying his own name (why am I still here and those guys aren’t) would be not only completely understandable (survivor’s guilt is real) but also could have led to a much more interesting self- examination. Which, presumably, is the point of this kind of memoir. Instead, he’s wasting paper on a pointless and just plain mean Keanu insult. Obviously, Perry has a lot more work to do on himself.

  6. molly says:

    Keanu’s been in the business long enough to see Perry for what he is: a sad story of a once-famous actor who’s battling addiction and out of touch with current celebrity culture.

    Keanu knows what fame can do to people. I’m certain he pities Perry more than anything.

    • Jennifer says:

      “Left field” is about what I would have expected Keanu to say, and leave it at that. Politely.

  7. ChillinginDC says:

    Perry claimed he was too attractive to win an Emmy. He’s out of his mind is what I am saying.

    • Erin says:

      Did he really? That’s wild, wow. Wild.

      • ChillinginDC says:

        It was the funniest thing ever. That and also recall at the Friends reunion how all of the guys claimed they agreed to not date/sleep with the women so that they wouldn’t ruin their chemistry? Well in the memoir Perry asked out Aniston. At this point he’s a mess and I wouldn’t listen to him at all.

    • Seraphina says:

      That’s actually the funniest thing I have heard today. Wow, so he’s delusional as well as arrogant.

  8. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I watched his Diane Sawyer interview. He is a deeply insecure man with abandonment issues and high anxiety. The humor is a mask and a desperate attempt to be loved, but with that comes a paralyzing, debilitating fear that people won’t laugh. It doesn’t sound like he deals with those issues, just the addiction ones and the ones I mentioned are peripheral. They seem to be the root of all his troubles, but instead he’s turning his deep-seated pain and fear outward. No idea why the attack on Keanu, except, perhaps, an unexplored, unacknowledged jealousy.

    • Michael says:

      I remember on the show one of the “friends” was dating a psychiatrist and he analyzed both Matthew Perry and Chandler Bing in one sentence. Something about not wanting to be around when the laughter stops. Maybe that was the writers also commenting on MP.

      • AmyB says:

        Oh, that Friend’s episode where Phoebe dated Roger the psychiatrist was hilarious 🤣🤣
        He psychoanalyzed them all instantly and was spot on – go watch it again, it’s great.

  9. Kristina Mansfield says:

    I actually understand what Matthew parry was TRYING to say here: why doesn’t anyone talk about Keanu’s years long drug use, how has he been able to remain in so many drug-adjacent rooms and never seem to have any long term PUBLIC consequences for it, etc, ie KR is not who the public immediately associates with a druggie. But when you go through his friend groups over the years, the death of his girlfriend, RP, his business partners…they’re all major drug users. He just hasn’t had any messy drug related episodes made public because not all drug users are addicts and not all drug users are assholes. So no, his comments weren’t out of left field, he just meant to say like “why is KR still out here happy-go-lucky-no-consequences while all of these other guys are dead all we were all doing the same stuff, there’s just no rhyme or reason to it and it’s unfair and I miss my friends.”

    • ChillinginDC says:

      This is crap. People from the sets and his actual friends have nothing negative to say about him. Keanu did get into drugs back in the day, but Perry using that to go after the guy now is BS. He’s an angry freaking man that is mad that Keanu kicked drugs and is genuinely liked. I am sure he sits around seething because he’s getting no major movie roles, is barely on tv, and is a drug addict who still hasn’t come to terms with his addictions. Considering that Keanu is still scarred over River’s death and Perry to come out and say not once, but three times in his wretched book that Keanu should be DEAD instead of River, Chris Farley and Heath Ledger is freaking messed up. And Keanu had no interactions with the latter two which makes the whole thing even more bizarre.

      • souperkay says:

        Agree @ChillinginDC. More importantly, we don’t know how much Keanu carries from his previous drug use. Maybe Keanu wakes up & it’s a struggle every day. If it is a struggle for Keanu, it’s impressive how he manages it & continues to be someone who is pleasant to work with, unlike what we know of Matthew.

        For Matthew to sneer at someone he does not know well, someone in recovery, someone carrying trauma is extremely low.

      • ChillinginDC says:

        Exactly Souperkay. And as someone who has family members who are addicts in their lives, the sober self is often just a reflection of how pretty freaking awful he was when he was using. He’s an ass based on all commentary about him. And his “joke” wasn’t funny and everyone was rightfully grossed out about it.

    • Sue E Generis says:

      I really don’t think this take makes his comment any less offensive. Who cares what Keanu was doing? He wasn’t holding a gun to anyone’s head and forcing them to do drugs. It’s Perry’s memoir, he’s free to say whatever he wants about himself but why does he think it’s appropriate to discuss another person’s experience. If Keanu wanted people to know he took lots of drugs, he’d write his own book. There is an arrogance and lack of personal responsibility to point fingers at someone who isn’t even involved in what you’re doing.

    • Ben says:

      @Kristina. Are you a translator for death wishing a-holes? He didn’t TRY to say anything he was very explicit about. If Keanu was a drug user it would’ve been divulged by now giving that not even Keanu is exempt of jealousy. Even if there’s a possibility that he does it would be minimal enough that he’s always been praised for being a delight to work with both cast and crew.

    • Josephine says:

      None of those actors suffered public condemnation for their drug use, either. River, Heath and Chris were still working and receiving a lot of attention/accolades for their work. No one blinks when actors use drugs, especially in the past. But they became addicts and died from drug use. Keanu didn’t get away with anything. He either never became addicted to drugs or he did and kicked it. I suspect he never progressed to the harder stuff, but the point is irrelevant. So there is no great unfairness here, nothing for MP to talk about. I really don’t see your point at all and there is simply no trying to justify MP’s statements.

  10. K-law says:

    I’m 40 and I’ve never been a huge friends fan even as a teenager. Matthew Perry seems warped by the fame of it all and Any respect I had for him before is gone as a result of his shameless cashing in using these insults and his delusions of grandeur. It must have been hard for the cast to be around him during friends and ever since.

  11. Well Wisher says:

    It was unfortunate that Matthew did not keep that to himself.


    I love Keanu Reeves.

  12. souperkay says:

    My whole thing about Perry vs. Keanu is that I don’t feel that Perry was actually that close to the people he wants to horse trade for Keanu’s life, they are just fellow addicts & Perry isn’t healed yet.

    Addicts can get nasty when you reject their lifestyle & that he is identifying so closely to people that fatally overdosed, without receipts that he was close to them outside of shared drug use speaks to Perry still being heavily in an addict mentality. I mean, is there a single receipt that Perry developed relationships with Phoenix, Farley or Ledger outside drug use?

    We know Keanu & River had built a relationship outside drug use. Combine that with Keanu overcoming drug use to build a career where when he does not excel at whatever acting goal, he is still universally beloved as a hard-working & pleasant to be around, I feel like that is what eats at Perry. He’s still curled up with the pills & needle in his mind, not accepting that others do not have the same compulsion/obsession.

  13. Case says:

    The Keanu comments seemed like some kind of inside joke to Perry that just didn’t translate well to print. I feel like we all have our own “celebrity nemesis” we just irrationally dislike and maybe for him it’s Keanu. But he should’ve recognized how poorly it would come across, and if not Perry himself, his editor should’ve caught it.

    Everything I’ve heard about his memoir makes him sound awful. Seems like it would’ve been best kept to himself.

  14. bettyrose says:

    Why is Friends having a resurgence and how can we stop it? In the 90s tv market of sappy family sitcoms, it was fun as a college kid to have a show that was more for us, but it doesn’t hold up *at all*. It’s body shaming, racist, and the most white washed version of NYC imaginable. We’ve all heard stories about how much the writer’s room was a boys club of disgusting behavior. Can someone lock this show in a vault for a 100 years only to be opened by historians for research purposes?

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      All of this, plus misogyny, is “Sex in the City” as well. And yet, THAT got a reboot too, because there is a market for it.

      • bettyrose says:

        Sex in the City was the absolute worst, but the reboot was almost a parody of the original, with these sad anachronisms discovering that their magical playground of rich husbands and designer shoes is actually a real world they must learn to contend with. Hmm . . . maybe friends should do something similar.

      • Deering24 says:

        Friends ripped off the _much_-better-written Living Single, why is why I’ve always thought it wasn’t all that.

  15. Dee Kay says:

    It’s definitely true that Keanu isn’t a great actor, but he does have “it” — chemistry, presence, charm, ease, and the camera loves him. He doesn’t have really fine technique or anything but I think just about all his roles are memorable ones because of him, and he’s the face you look at in any scene he’s in. That, my friends, is a Hollywood movie star. The U.K. actor training system is much much superior to the U.S.’s (and that’s why so many Brits come over here for work), but what the U.S. produces way more than the U.K. is performers who are *stars* — magnetic, compelling, one-of-a-kind — rather than actors. Oh and plus like everyone is saying, Keanu is a wonderful human who uplifts people and doesn’t harm them and so makes the world a better place by being here. So Perry is wrong no matter how you slice his comments — if he came for Keanu b/c Keanu isn’t a very good actor, well, the thing is, Keanu has qualities that are even rarer (and more profitable) than strong acting skills. And if he came for Keanu b/c he thinks the world would be better without Keanu in it, he’s dead wrong.

    • bettyrose says:

      I feel bad now about how much I used to make fun of Keanu in the 90s. He never took himself seriously or pretended to be something he wasn’t. For me the Matrix was a turning point. It was a groundbreaking and really fun movie, and he was part of what made it so fun. That’s when I became a fan. I didn’t know anything about his life behind the scenes until I started following gossip in the mid-00s, and I wish I could take back jokes I made in the 90s (like, to friends, I didn’t publish a book).

    • EBS says:

      I remember watching Keanu in Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. His lack of acting skills did stand out, not just in comparison to the UK lot, but in comparison to Robert Sean Leonard and of course, Denzel Washington. We’re good at producing stars over here but they tend to be on the music side of things (Jagger, Bowie, even Harry Styles).

  16. Nicegirl says:


  17. Popessa says:

    Keanu is a beauty inside and out. He’s been funding cancer research nationally and internationally at various children’s hospitals since 2009 in honor of his sister. He is a gentleman and very generous star on set. He’s kind to those he works with “below the (production) line.” As much as the Internet wants him to be OUR boyfriend we can not begrudge him his personal happiness.

    Matthew Perry has revealed his d**chey side with his book. He has spend $9 million on his own sobriety. Some on other people’s through the sober houses, which may not still be around. He could have made a joke at his own expense instead of a bad joke that didn’t land about Keanu, but he did not. I am surprised his editors’ didn’t catch it.

  18. jferber says:

    Anyone who would wish death on Keano Reeves (or anyone for that matter) is officially an asshole and a loser.

  19. Emmi says:

    There are some things floating around here that tell me almost nobody has read the book which is a shame. It’s worth reading. The Keanu thing is weird and doesn’t fit the tone of the book so I really don’t know what he was trying to say. It should’ve been edited out. Matthew Perry seems like someone who has been in terrible pain most of his life. He has been an alcoholic and on various awful drugs for the vast majority of his life. I honestly wish him all the best. No amount of money or fame can even begin to make up for this.

    When Constance Wu said her thing, people jumped down her throat. Then she comes back and tells us what the backlash did to her and everyone agrees it was an overreaction. This is the same. He said a dumb thing, can we move on?

    • DiegoInSF says:

      He didn’t just say off hand, he wrote an incredibly disturbing thing (wishing death on someone) on his memoir on two separate parts of it. He meant it and shows him to be an incredible a hole. Hope his book tanks.

      • Emmi says:

        Didn’t read the book, did you?

      • C says:

        The book is creepy and so is Perry. His remarks about his female co-stars are very off-putting. His situation is not like Wu because he is a white male who has had every opportunity and seems incredibly petty, sexist and bitter. I’m with Diego.

    • Jenn says:

      As someone else said waaay upthread, Keanu was the butt of jokes throughout the ’90s about his “wooden” acting. But by the mid-2000s (at the LATEST) those jokes had ceased. It kind of feels like Matthew Perry slept through the entire Keanu renaissance and is just now joining “the rest of the class” — which implies, a little bit chillingly, that he missed out on like 15 years of pop culture.

    • Renee' says:

      I did read the book and couldn’t believe how unlikeable he seemed. He has been an addict nearly all of his life. I truly hope he gets it together and remains sober. I only wish him the best in that regard.
      However, he was still a jerk to so many in his life. His treatment of women alone tells us that. His disregard for his relationships makes it hard to relate to him.

  20. Peanut Butter says:

    That was such an needless, charmless thing to say. I wonder how it would sit with him if another actor (not Keanu, he’s too classy) said, “Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Matthew Perry still walks among us?”

  21. HeyKay says:

    I am a huge Keanu fan, have been since Bill & Ted.
    I have seen almost everything he’s been in. And yes, some of them were stinkeroo movies but Keanu! Take my money. lol

    As for Matthew Perry, the Daily Mail has lots of his book sections on their site.
    Reading those excerpts made me cancel my pre-order of his book.
    Matthew Perry still needs a lot of therapy/help, IMO.
    MP comes off so bitter and deeply unhappy. He has spent close to 20 years fighting addictions, the cost to his health has been extreme, etc.
    He’s damn lucky to be alive but, IMO, nothing in his book will be of help to others. Just one more book deal with a celeb attached.

  22. Katie Beanstalk says:

    Matthew Perry only has one facial expression – looking confused and smiling at the same time.