Matthew Perry fans are wondering why the Friends actor was having trouble pronouncing words correctly in the bizarre reunion promo. As Matthew sat beside Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer, the actor who played Chandler looked dazed and confused. He only spoke briefly throughout the interview, and he had very low energy. Now fans are wondering if his past addiction to prescription drugs is causing a problem again.
Matthew’s three-decade-long battle with addiction began a long time ago. In a 2002 interview with People, Matthew Perry explained that “all the superficial things about [fame] came true,” however he “was naïve enough to think it would fulfill all aspects of my life.”
When the character of Chandler Bing dropped into his lap and made him an overnight star, Matthew was caught off-guard. Then, three years into the show’s rapid success, Matthew was in a jet ski accident, sparking an addiction to painkillers.
“It wasn’t my intention to have a problem with it,” he explained in the interview. “But from the start, I liked how it made me feel, and I wanted to get more.” From there, the issue only got harder to handle. “I was out of control and very unhealthy,” Matthew admitted, recalling how he lost 20 pounds.
His transformation was obvious to co-stars and fans, who watched Matthew Perry return to his “original birth weight,” the star once joked. He went into a Minnesota rehab facility for 28 days. It didn’t take long for him to turn back to his bad habits.
In 2000, Matthew Perry ended up in the hospital for pancreatitis, caused by his alcohol abuse. However, “that still wasn’t enough to get me to quit drinking,” Matthew told People. A year later, he hit rock bottom.
While still working on Friends, Matthew Perry was drinking vodka by the quart. He would show up hung-over. It wasn’t until he called his parents from a Dallas hotel room that he realized it was time to seek help. “It was scary. I didn’t want to die,” Matthew admitted. “But I’m grateful for how bad it got. It only made me more adamant about trying to get better.”
The Friends star was in a treatment facility for two-and-a-half months. For almost a decade Matthew Perry was sober and living “a happy life.” The actor even played the believable older version of Zac Efron in 17 Again. Things, for the most part, were looking up.
In 2011, however, things took a turn. He checked himself back into a rehab center to ensure sobriety. “I’m making plans to go away for a month to focus on my sobriety and to continue my life in recovery,” he had said. “Please enjoy making fun of me on the World Wide Web.”
In 2013, Matthew converted his Malibu home into Perry House, a facility for men suffering from addiction. The sober-living retreat had meditation and a 12-step workshop.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life and a lot of wonderful accolades,” Matthew said in 2015 after receiving the Phoenix Rising Award. “But the best thing about me is that if an alcoholic comes up to me and says, ‘Will you help me stop drinking?’ I will say, ‘Yes. I know how to do that.’”
After a long time sober, Matthew Perry had surgery in 2018 to repair a gastrointestinal perforation, spending three months in the hospital as he recovered. Though substance abuse hadn’t been cited at the time, many fans feared the actor had turned to drugs or alcohol again. He stayed out of the spotlight for a couple of years, returning only a few times like in Jennifer Aniston’s Instagram post from 2019.
It wasn’t until Matthew Perry appeared on the Friends cast reunion trailer earlier this week that fans were reminded of his struggles. His strange speech and glazed looks during the interview raised questions all over again.
The HBO Max reunion special will air on May 27.