In his final days, Matthew Perry’s greatest accomplishment was tied to his worst moments.

Matthew Perry achieved a level of fame, wealth, critical acclaim, and fan adoration that most actors will only ever dream of. 

However, he would have happily given it all away to be free of the all-consuming grip of addiction.

The 54-year-old actor, who was best known for portraying Chandler Bing on Friends from 1994 to 2004, was found dead at a Los Angeles-area home according to TMZ and the Los Angeles Times who confirmed his death with police. The outlet reported that Perry was found in a jacuzzi at the home, and no drugs were found at the scene.

While Perry had not currently been acting or doing press at the time of his death, he did regularly post content to his Instagram account. The last image Perry shared to his account was a nighttime photo of himself inside a hot tub on Monday, Oct. 23, writing in the caption: "Oh, so warm water swirling around makes you feel good? I'm Mattman."

"Mattman" is a name Perry had used in recent days while posting on social media, often including references and imagery related to Batman. It was also a moniker he had linked with mentions of mental health. 

The day before the hot tub photo, he wrote alongside a video of the moon, "Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you? - I'm Mattman." And on Tuesday he wrote: "Let's make stigmas a stigma. - I'm Mattman #mentalhealth."

Also in the days leading up to his death, Perry shared a rare photo of him with his father, 82-year-old actor John Bennett Perry, known for roles in films such as Independence Day and George of the Jungle, and who even appeared in Friends episode The One with Rachel's New Dress opposite his son. 


"Here is me, and my father John, both holding a beverage," Matthew appropriately captioned the pic.

The image was especially poignant due to the fact that in an interview with People just a year prior, Perry had expressed the wish to become a father himself. 

"I'm feeling more confident and I'm not afraid of love anymore, so the next girl I go out with better watch out," he told the outlet, explaining he was no longer afraid of romantic relationships. 

"I think I'd be great. I really do," he added of how he'd be as a father. "I grew up with a lot of little kids around me, and that's probably why, but I can't wait."

Read more: Matthew Perry starred in the biggest sitcom of all time. He was most proud of his impact off-screen.

After Friends finished its ten-year run in 2004, Perry continued to work in TV, appearing on The West Wing, Studio 60, and moving along to Mr. Sunshine, Go On and The Odd Couple, in addition to appearing in three episodes of The Good Fight in 2017. His most recent acting work was the 2017 mini-series The Kennedys After Camelot. In 2021 he appeared in the televised Friends reunion special alongside his five co-stars, to reminisce about the show's legacy. 

But in the final years of his life, Perry became more well-known for talking openly about addiction, substance abuse, and recovery. Most notably in his memoir which was published last year Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.


In his memoir, Perry wrote about his addiction to alcohol, sharing that he had his first drink when he was 14 years old and that even in his high school years, when he first started acting, he was battling alcoholism.

During the press tour for his book, Perry said he had spent more than $9 million trying to get sober and had been to rehabilitation centres more than 15 times in his adult life. 

In 2018 at age 49, Perry nearly died after his colon burst due to an overuse of opioids. He then spent two weeks in a coma and five months in the hospital and had to use a colostomy bag for nine months. Perry would later reveal that his doctors told his family there was only a 2% chance he would survive.

In his final years, Perry continued to draw a line from his success on Friends to his ongoing battle with addiction, highlighting the fact that addiction often lurks beneath the surface, and even those who appear successful and happy can be living a very different life behind the scenes.

He wrote that while filming Friends he even attempted to keep his addiction a secret from his cast mates until the day Jennifer Aniston came into his dressing room and told him everyone could smell alcohol on him.

Perry went on to say that during one of his most pivotal storylines in the award-winning comedy, when his character married Courtney Cox's character Monica in one of the show's most-watched episodes, he was living in a rehabilitation facility. 


“I married Monica and got driven back to the treatment centre — at the height of my highest point in Friends the highest point in my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show — in a pickup truck helmed by a sober technician,” he wrote.

"I couldn’t stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive," he would later say. "So it gets worse and worse as you grow older.”

“It’s important, but if you lose your sobriety, it doesn’t mean you lose all that time and education,” he said in the memoir. “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.”

Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry. Image: Getty.


In the last year in particular, Perry devoted his time to sharing his story of addiction and sobriety, with the express hope that his words would help other people going through a similar situation. All the while aware that hearing the experiences, triumphs, and setbacks from a beloved comedic actor, the centre of everyone's favourite comfort show, would cut through in a way that other examples couldn't.

"Obviously, because I was on Friends, more people will listen to me. So I've got to take advantage of that, and I've got to help as many people as I can," Perry told ABC News' Diane Sawyer in October of last year. 

"When someone calls you for help and says, 'I'm in trouble,' what do you want to say to them first?" Sawyer asked.

"I say, 'Come over. Let's talk,'" Perry said. "And follow up, and help the person, and I see the light come on in their eyes. I have the answer because of stumbling so much. I could help them."


"Saving each other," Sawyer said.

"Saving each other, because he eventually figures out that [they're] saving me too," Perry said.

Towards the end of his press tour for the memoir, Perry said “The kind of message that I guess I give out with this book is don’t give up. There’s help out there. I’ve been helped on a daily basis. If I didn’t get help, I wouldn’t be sitting here. It’s all about finding somebody that knows more than you about this stuff and just listening to them.”

To many, Matthew Perry's role on Friends will be seen as his greatest achievement, but in his final days, it appears the story behind his worst moments was the legacy he wanted to leave. 

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are free programs available across Australia. You can find further information on support groups near you via their websites. 

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

If this post brought up any issues for you, you can contact Drug Aware, Australia's 24hr alcohol and drug support line. You can reach them on (08) 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024.

Feature image: Getty