Matthew Perry’s biggest confessions: Near-death experiences, A-list romances detailed in his memoir
Matthew Perry died yesterday at his home, Fox News Digital confirmed. He was 54.
The actor, best known for starring as Chandler Bing in the beloved sitcom “Friends,” was found in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home, law enforcement sources confirmed. Though he appeared to have died from drowning, no official cause of death has been released.
On Nov. 1 2022, nearly a year to the day before his death, Perry released a memoir titled “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible thing,” detailing his rise to fame as well as his struggles with addiction. Fox News Digital takes a look at the top confessions from the book in the wake of his passing.
His heart stopped for five minutes before surgery
Perry nearly appeared in 2021’s “Don’t Look Up,” but his addiction ultimately made it impossible to complete his performance.
He revealed in the book that during this time, he was taking 1,800 milligrams of hydrocodone. He did go to a rehab in Switzerland, but told his doctors that he was in excruciating pain so he’d continue to get access to prescription painkillers.
“In fact, I was OK,” he admitted. “It still felt like I was constantly doing a sit-up – so it was very uncomfortable – but it wasn’t pain.”
Doctors at the facility then made the decision to “put some kind of weird medical device in my back” to further help with the pain. Before the surgery, he stayed up all night taking the pills, then when he was anesthetized the next morning for the procedure, his heart stopped.
“I was given the shot at 11:00 a.m.,” Perry wrote. “I woke up eleven hours later in a different hospital. Apparently, the propofol had stopped my heart. For five minutes. It wasn’t a heart attack — I didn’t flatline — but nothing had been beating… I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from ‘Friends’ dying on his table and did CPR on me for the full five minutes, beating and pounding my chest. If I hadn’t been on ‘Friends,’ would he have stopped at three minutes? Did ‘Friends’ save my life again?”
He added, “He may have saved my life, but he also broke eight of my ribs.”
Another near-death experience in 2018
Not too long before his heart stopped before surgery, Perry faced another major health scare.
In 2018, he underwent a seven-hour emergency surgery after his colon burst – a rare but potential outcome of opioid abuse. That day, doctors told his family that he only had a 2% chance of surviving through the night.
“Opiates cause constipation,” he explained. “It’s kind of poetic. I was so full of s— it almost killed me.”
Following the incident, he spent five months hospitalized. He was in a coma for two weeks following the surgery, and required a colostomy bag for nine months afterward.
Throughout his memoir, Perry reflected on past relationships, many with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
In 1995, he dated Julia Roberts after “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman requested that he reach out to her to ask her to appear in an episode. She agreed, he wrote, but she stipulated that she “would only do the show if she could be in my story line.”
In response, he sent her three dozen roses and a note that read, “The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have an excuse to send you flowers.”
Before they met, they had a “three-month-long courtship by daily faxes.” He recalled sending “hundreds” of faxes back and forth before they ever even spoke on the phone.
“Three or four times a day I would sit by my fax machine and watch the piece of paper slowly revealing her next missive,” he wrote. “It was like she was placed on this planet to make the world smile, and now, in particular, me.”
They were together only for a few months, and in describing their breakup, Perry explained, “Dating Julia Roberts had been too much for me. I had been constantly certain that she was going to break up with me. Why would she not? I was not enough; I could never be enough; I was broken, bent, unlovable. So instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts.”
Elsewhere in the book, he wrote about being “immediately taken by” Jennifer Aniston when they met three years before they were cast together in “Friends.” He asked her out, but she turned him down.
“But she said she’d love to be friends with me,” he wrote. “And I compounded the compound by blurting, ‘We can’t be friends!’”
When the show began, he was “still attracted” to her, and even “crushing badly,” but Aniston’s “deafening lack of interest” eventually killed the crush. Despite the lack of romantic feelings on her end, the two remained good friends throughout the rest of his life.
Another actress who caught his attention was Valerie Bertinelli – they met when he was 19 and she was 30 and married to Eddie Van Halen.
“I was completely captivated,” Perry wrote. “I mean, I was obsessed with her and harbored elaborate fantasies about her leaving Eddie Van Halen and living out the rest of her days with me.”
He claimed that they did have a “long, elaborate make-out session,” but nothing ever came of it. He claimed that he also made out with Gwyneth Paltrow around the same time.
Beginnings of addiction
Perry struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for most of his life – he recalled having his first drink at 14.
He recalled that after sharing sparkling wine with some friends, “I was lying back in the grass and the mud, looking at the moon, surrounded by fresh puke, and… nothing bothered me. The world made sense; it wasn’t bent and crazy. I was complete, at peace. I had never been happier than in that moment. This is the answer, I thought; this is what I’ve been missing. This must be how normal people feel all the time. I don’t have any problems. It is all gone. I don’t need attention. I am taken care of, I am fine.”
When he was 15, he moved from his mother’s home in Canada to live with his father, John Bennett Perry, in Los Angeles. His father, he alleged, was also an alcoholic, and while living with him he got to a point where he was drinking six vodka tonics every night, something he called “the best part of my day.”
It wasn’t until filming 1997’s “Fools Rush In” that he developed an addiction to painkillers. During the shoot – he was dating Roberts at the time – he had an accident on a jet ski and was given a Vicodin by a doctor. He took it while driving home, and of the feeling, he wrote, “I shook hands with God that morning.”
He explained: “As the pill kicked in, something clicked in me. And it’s been that click I’ve been chasing the rest of my life.… I couldn’t believe how good I felt; I was in complete and pure euphoria. The pill had replaced the blood in my body with warm honey. I was on top of the world. It was the greatest feeling I’d ever had. Nothing could ever go wrong.”
A year and a half later, he recalled, he was taking 55 pills a day and was down to 128 pounds.
Keanu Reeves controversy
One of the most controversial parts of Perry’s memoir was, surprisingly, an offhand remark he made about fellow actor Keanu Reeves.
While recalling his time with River Phoenix – they costarred in a movie called “A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon” – he spoke of how brilliant he was, and he wrote, “River 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?”
He mentioned the same idea later when writing about Chris Farley’s overdose, remembering, “I punched a hole through Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out. Keanu Reeves walks among us.”
While other parts of the book were heavily discussed, this is what actually brought on backlash – Perry later apologized for the remark, calling it “stupid,” and said that future editions of the book wouldn’t name Reeves in this context.
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