Matthew Perry Talks How Friends May Have Saved His Life During Recent Medical Emergency

matthew perry on friends
(Image credit: NBC)

It’s been common knowledge for many years that Friends star Matthew Perry has struggled with addiction for a long time. His health actually became an issue while he was still starring on the hit sitcom, and the actor even admitted back in 2016 that he doesn’t remember about three years of working on the series because of his drinking and drug usage. After announcing his memoir earlier this year, the book is set for release in November, and in it he opened up about how the NBC show may have saved his life during a recent medical emergency.

How Does Matthew Perry Think Friends May Have Saved His Life Recently?

While the memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing (opens in new tab), will go into a lot of details about his time on the series and his addiction troubles throughout his life, and Chandler Bing’s portrayer has already spoken about how bad things got while he was on the show, he has also written about a health crisis from just a few years ago that Friends may have helped him through.

According to his book (via Rolling Stone), Perry said that he’d been in the process of filming a part in the star-studded Netflix movie, Don’t Look Up (which came out in December 2021) when he had to go back to rehab. He’d been taking hydrocodone (an opioid that treats pain and is used as a cough suppressant), and when he got to the rehab center, he lied to the doctors about severe abdominal pain so that they’d prescribe the medication for him. The medical professionals there suggested surgery for that pain, which he agreed to, but because he took the drug the night before surgery, it reacted with the anesthesia, propofol. He added:

I was given the [anesthesia] shot at 11:00 a.m. 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’s also previously noted that his castmates did eventually realize he was having problems with addiction, and that they supported him as best they could, with Jennifer Aniston speaking about his addictions to him the most, which he’s said he was “really grateful” for. During Friends: The Reunion (which is available to those with an HBO Max subscription) he came clean for the first time about the insane pressure he put on himself to get laughs. The new author also gained notice from the special because of his slurred speech, which was actually due to a dental procedure.

It’s incredibly unfortunate that Perry still has to so actively battle his addictions, and while he was in too much pain after his medical emergency to keep filming the Netflix movie, at least he lived to tell the tale and continue to concentrate on his health, so that his story might help others.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.