'Propped up by castmates' and 15 trips to rehab: 6 things were learned from Matthew Perry’s memoir.

Matthew Perry is ready to talk about it all.

In the actor's new memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, due out next month, the Friends star, 53, details his highs and lows - opening up about his decades-long struggle with addiction at length.

In an interview published with People this week, the actor said: "I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again." 

"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," he added.


Here are five things we've learned from Matthew Perry's upcoming memoir.

1. He almost died.

In the memoir, Perry writes that a few years ago, aged 49, he nearly died. 

While the actor publicly acknowledged that he was suffering from a gastrointestinal perforation at the time, he was actually fighting for his life, after his colon burst from opioid overuse. 

Perry spent two weeks in a coma, five months in the hospital, and had to use a colostomy bag for the next nine months. 

He told People that when he was first admitted to the hospital, "The doctors told my family that I had a two per cent chance to live." 

"I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs," he said.

"And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."

2. His alcoholism started when he was cast on Friends.

Perry's alcohol addiction started when he landed the role of Chandler Bing on the American sitcom, Friends. He was 24 at the time.

"I could handle it, kind of," he told the publication. "But by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble."

Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc the year Friends first aired. Image: Getty. 


The actor shared how despite his constant battle with addiction, there were years where he was sober.

"Season nine was the year that I was sober the whole way through," he said. 

"And guess which season I got nominated for best actor? I was like, 'That should tell me something.'" 

But his addiction escalated soon after. At one point, he was down to 58kg and taking 55 painkillers a day.

"I didn't know how to stop," he shared.

"If the police came over to my house and said, 'If you drink tonight, we're going to take you to jail,' I'd start packing. I couldn't stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive," he continued.


"So it gets worse and worse as you grow older."

3. The cast "propped him up".

Speaking about his Friends castmates during the height of his addiction - they worked together on the show for a decade - Perry called them "understanding" and patient".

"It's like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick, or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up," the actor said.

"They walk around it until that penguin can walk on its own. That's kind of what the cast did for me."

The Friends cast in 1995. Image: Getty. 


4. He's been to rehab 15 times.

Perry also shared that he's been to rehab 15 times over the years and has had 14 surgeries on his stomach. But he's "pretty healthy now".

"I've got to not go to the gym much more, because I don't want to only be able to play superheroes," he jokingly said.

"But no, I'm a pretty healthy guy right now."

He added that he doesn't want to disclose exactly how long he's been sober, but he still counts every day. 

"It's important, but if you lose your sobriety, it doesn't mean you lose all that time and education," the 53-year-old said. 

"Your sober date changes, but that's all that changes. You know everything you knew before, as long as you were able to fight your way back without dying, you learn a lot."

And these days, he's just "an extremely grateful" guy.

"I'm grateful to be alive, that's for sure. And that gives me the possibility to do anything," he said.

5. Why he ended his engagement.

Perry has dated two actresses - Julia Roberts from 1995 to 1996 and Lizzy Caplan from 2006 to 2012. Most recently, he was engaged to literary manager Molly Hurwitz.

In his interview with People, the actor explained why none of his relationships have lasted.


"That was me afraid," he said, sharing he's been the one to end almost all relationships he's been in.

"That is what I manifest, something that's wrong with them. And then I break up with them," he said.

"But there can't be something wrong with everyone," he continued. "I'm the common denominator. I left first because I thought they were going to annihilate me."

The actor admitted he "had a tremendous amount of fear" about love, but through a lot of work, he's gotten over it.

And he still hopes to be a husband and a father.

"I think I'd be great. I really do," he added about becoming a dad. 

"I grew up with a lot of little kids around me, and that's probably why, but I can't wait."

6. "It wouldn't surprise anybody" if he died.

Although he's only shared one of his near-death experiences so far, Perry said readers will "be surprised at how bad it got at certain times" and how close he came to dying.

"I say in the book that if I did die, it would shock people, but it wouldn't surprise anybody. And that's a very scary thing to be living with," he told People.

"So my hope is that people will relate to it, and know that this disease attacks everybody. It doesn't matter if you're successful or not, the disease doesn't care."

Feature Image: Getty.

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