Matthew Perry’s life off-screen was a stark contrast to the world he portrayed on the hit show Friends. While viewers enjoyed his comedic skills, the beloved actor was battling alcohol and prescription drug addiction.
Even though Perry admits to having problems with alcohol before the show, it was a jet ski accident in 1997 that brought his addictions to the surface. Perry was prescribed Vicodin for his pain, and the actor remembers feeling better than he had ever felt.
First trip to rehab
Later that year, Perry checked into the Hazeldon Foundation in Minnesota. He completed the 28-day program and returned to the world with a brand new outlook on life. Unfortunately, the victory against drug and alcohol abuse didn’t last long. Between the years of 1997 and 2000, his memories were a blur, barely recalling his work on Friends. Though he never consumed substances on set, Perry admits to being “painfully hungover.” His co-dependency had become obvious.
Before his second try at rehab, the actor was diagnosed with pancreatitis. In his case, the disease was caused by heavy alcohol abuse. Perry denies abusing prescription pills but does acknowledge that a poor diet also contributed to his condition. The actor was hospitalized for two weeks and lost about twenty pounds in the process.
Self-proclaimed the “Award-Winning Alcoholic”
Following his third and final trip to rehab, Perry became an advocate for alcohol and drug addiction recovery. He wholeheartedly believes that drug courts are essential to lifelong recovery and accepts every opportunity given to him to talk with lawmakers about this issue.
In 2013, Perry partnered up with an interventionist and addiction specialist, Earl Hightower, to open up a 12-step sobriety and meditation program for men named, “Perry’s House.” The residence was, in fact, Perry’s former four-bedroom Malibu house. Unfortunately, the business became too expensive to keep open, and Perry sold the home. Even though he has remained hopeful about opening another location, there has been no official announcement of an opening date.
His dedication to recovery and commitment to helping others has not gone unnoticed, however. In 2013, Perry was honored by the Obama Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy with the Champion of Recovery Award. Shortly thereafter, he was also given the Phoenix Rising award by the Phoenix House, a well-known rehabilitation center.
A reboot that didn’t last
And yet, while Perry was enjoying his personal accomplishments, his career was taking a heavy blow. In contrast to the overwhelming success of Friends, viewers were not tuning in to his new television show, The Odd Couple. According to an interview with Cinema Blend, his co-star confessed that the shows’ ratings were rather low. Also, in late 2016, TV Line reported that CBS had not ordered more episodes for the show’s third season. Perry was seemingly shocked at the news and took to social media to express his apparent dismay.
Deciding which challenges to accept
While on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Perry admitted to having beat-up Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau out of jealousy when they were in the fifth grade. At the time, Trudeau was outshining the Hollywood star in sports. Perry isn’t proud of his actions and attributes it to being a stupid kid at the time. Trudeau responded with challenging Perry to a rematch to which Perry wisely declined saying, “Dude-you have an army at your disposal. I’m not going to accept the challenge!”
The challenge Perry will gladly accept, however, is helping other alcoholics overcome their addiction. As he told the Hollywood Reporter, “Yes, I know how to do that.”