Friends Alum Matthew Perry Recalls Jennifer Aniston Approaching Him About His Addiction Struggles

Matthew Perry appears on Friends: The Reunion.
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Fans of the iconic ‘90s sitcom Friends have been aware of star Matthew Perry’s addiction struggles for years now. However, with the upcoming release of his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, we’re just now learning about how dire the situation was for the actor, who consistently cracked us up as Chandler Bing for 10 years. The actor recently opened up about how bad things got while the show was still filming, and now Perry has recalled the time his co-star Jennifer Aniston confronted him about his addiction.

Matthew Perry spoke to Diane Sawyer for an interview that is set to air October 28 on ABC. In a promo for the special, they talk about how Perry learned that the other actors were aware of his problem: 

Diane Sawyer: Jennifer, she says, 'We know you're drinking.’
Matthew Perry: Yeah. Imagine how scary a moment that was.

The journalist listed the drugs and alcohol that Matthew Perry said he was partaking in at the time — methadone, Xanax, a quart of vodka every day and 55 Vicodin a day — so it’s not surprising that he likely attempted to hide all of that from his five scene partners. 

It must have been a hard time for all involved when things got to the point that the actress felt she needed to approach him. It also sounds like Jennifer Aniston talked to him about it on more than one occasion, which Perry said he appreciated:

She was the one that reached out the most. You know, I'm really grateful to her for that.

Jennifer Aniston played Rachel Green on Friends, and she and Matthew Perry joined the rest of their co-stars in 2021 for Friends: The Reunion (available with an HBO Max subscription), in which the Chandler actor dropped a bombshell regarding the pressure he put on himself to be funny on the sitcom. Despite delivering the cutest moments between Chandler and Monica (Courteney Cox), Perry said he would get so anxious that he’d “go into convulsions” if the audience didn’t laugh at one of his jokes.

Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay, said they hadn’t known he was in such turmoil, and Jennifer Aniston in a later interview echoed those sentiments, saying:

I didn't understand the level of anxiety and self-torture (that) was put on Matthew Perry if he didn't get that laugh, and the devastation that he felt. Which makes a lot of sense.

Matthew Perry’s appearance on the reunion special worried fans as well, as many noted his slurred speech. Executive producer Kevin Bright addressed the concern, noting that the actor looked “stronger and better” than he’d previously seen him. It was later reported that Perry had just come from an emergency dental procedure.

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing is sure to reveal a number of interesting stories from the actor’s years on Friends, as well as what came after. Matthew Perry has said he’s not going to sugarcoat what he’s been through, and he will discuss his addiction, his past relationships and his feelings about his co-stars — even their tougher times. The memoir is set to be released on Tuesday, November 1. 

In the meantime, tune in to Matthew Perry’s interview with Diane Sawyer, which will air at 8 p.m. ET Friday, October 28, on ABC, and you can relive all 10 seasons of the NBC hit, including the reunion special, on HBO Max.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.