The 'Friends' actor, known for his role as Chandler Bing, died Saturday at the age of 54
Matthew Perry was long vocal about his struggle with addiction — and the things he’d give up to erase it.
In Perry's 2022 cover story, he told PEOPLE he'd let go of all of his fame and fortune to avoid addiction.
“The fact that I would trade it all to not have this disease is true,” he said.
But the late Friends alum was also quick to speak to the joys of filming the 10-season sitcom alongside actors — and IRL friends — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer. “But I don’t belittle how fun the experience has been on Friends,” he added. “And the money was amazing. Just the creative experience of being on the show probably saved my life.”
It could have been the viral camaraderie, sure, but Perry’s work routine made it necessary for him to rest — rather than indulge. “When you’re making a million dollars a week, you can’t drink the 37th drink,” he said. “You have to go home and go to sleep.… That was the greatest job in the world.”
On the series, Perry played the comedic Chandler Bing, who, in later seasons, wed Cox’s Monica Gellar. The cast reconnected in 2021 for HBO Max’s Friends: The Reunion, a look-back special that celebrated the show’s success and what Perry called the cast’s “unbreakable bond.”
Perry was found dead on Saturday at his Los Angeles home of an apparent drowning. He was 54. Law enforcement sources first told TMZ there were no drugs found at the scene, and there appeared to be no foul play.
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Representatives for Perry did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The actor released his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir, in 2022. In it, he recounted his years in the spotlight, struggles with substance use, and romantic relationships that went viral. The timing of his memoir release was strategic.
"I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again," he told PEOPLE exclusively in his cover story. "I had to wait until I was pretty safely sober — and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction — to write it all down. And the main thing was, I was pretty certain that it would help people."
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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