'"Friends" formed my life.' Matthew Perry's enduring relationships with his sitcom co-stars.

The world is grappling with the death of actor Matthew Perry, who has died aged 54.

Amid the news of his passing, fans across the globe are finding solace in the memory of the star, who made his mark on the legendary '90s sitcom Friends.

The show centred on the lives of six best friends, including Perry as Chandler Bing, Courtney Cox as Monica Geller, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green and Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani. 

Watch the final scene of Friends. Post continues after video. 

Video via NBC.

Perry moved to Los Angeles from Canada when he was 15 years old, landing TV gigs on Boys Will Be Boys, Growing Pains and Sydney before he landed Friends in 1994.

The sitcom quickly became an iconic series people tuned into weekly to follow the lives of the six friends, and Chandler – the sarcastic, crude, commitment-phobe – was a solid fan favourite. Friends went on for 10 seasons and earned 62 Primetime Emmy nominations.

By the time Friends ended in 2004, after 10 years and 234 episodes, the six stars were bonded for life.


"It changed my life in every way. I got the show when I was a 24-year-old man; the show ended when I was 34. It formed my life. And it was the time of my life," Perry told PEOPLE in May 2021 for HBO Max's Friends: The Reunion special.

Friends. Image: NBC.

Falling into fame while still so young had a major impact on the actor, who paid tribute to his loved ones for helping him find his way through.


"I was 24 when I got on the show," the actor said in the 2004 book Friends... Til the End

"I'll be 34 when it’s over, and those are really important years in somebody’s life. So to do it all in public... was difficult. At first, you have the wave of, 'I'm famous, and this is exactly what I’ve wanted my whole life.' But then you go through the whole recluse stage where you think, 'I wish everybody would stop staring at me.' And then you eventually, hopefully, get through all that. You find things in your life that are grounding, like your family and good friends."

The relationships that developed during the making of Friends became lifelong for the six actors, who were all young adults when the series began filming. By the time the sitcom had wrapped up, they were all millionaires in their 30s and some were going on to newer, bigger projects.

David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry at the 26th People's Choice Awards. Image: Getty.


But, bonded forever, it was easy for them all to stay in touch after the show finished.

"The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it. That was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long and that was it," he said during Friends: The Reunion. 

"You apologised to the people you were with, but they had to understand you had met somebody special to you and you were going to talk to that person for the rest of the night. And that's the way it worked."

Aniston, Cox, LeBlanc, Kudrow, Perry and Schwimmer, 1999. Image: Getty.


He added, "It’s certainly the way it worked with all of us. It’s just the way it is."

During his time on Friends, Perry suffered from alcohol and drug addiction – a struggle his co-stars "knew" about, he said in his memoir, Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing.

"Jennifer Aniston took me aside once and said 'We know you're drinking,'" Perry said. "And I said, 'How do you know?' And she said 'We can smell it.'"

Matthew Perry with Jennifer Aniston. Image: Getty.


The interaction didn't stop him from using drugs, but it did mean that Aniston would continue to check on him for the rest of his life — even decades after the show stopped filming.

"She was the one that reached out the most. You know, I'm really grateful to her for that," he said during an interview with Diane Sawyer in October 2022. 

In fact, the whole Friends cast "saved" him during his worst lapse in the addiction, he shared.

"[My castmates] were understanding, and they were patient. It could be said that [doing the show] saved me," the actor told PEOPLE.

The six friends remained close. Image: Getty.


Perry also said his co-stars weren't just good friends to him, they went out of their way to offer support.

"It's like penguins," Perry said. "In nature, when one is sick or very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up and walk around until that penguin can walk on its own.

"And that's kind of what the cast did for me."

Feature Image: HBO.

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