Nearly twenty years before Perry’s tragic and shocking death on 28 October, Aniston sat down with ABC’s Diane Sawyer to share something that each of her Friends co-stars “don’t know about themselves”.
When asked what Perry doesn’t know in the 2004 interview, Aniston responded simply: “That he’s all right.
“He’s struggled,” she said, referring to the actor’s battle with addiction.
Dabbing her eyes with a tissue, Aniston added: “We didn’t know, we weren’t equipped to deal with it. Nobody had ever dealt with that, and at the idea of even losing him... he’s having a road, but he’s all right.”
Perry, who was found dead in his Los Angeles jacuzzi, was open about his three-decade-long struggle with addiction, which resulted in him visiting rehab 15 times over his lifetime, and having a number of near-death experiences.
He wrote about his widely publicised drug addiction in his poignant 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. He said his addiction issues grew under the “white-hot flame of fame” after he shot to international stardom, aged 24, playing the affable and sarcastic Chandler Bing.
Perry wrote that fans of Friends will be able to tell whether he was drinking alcohol or taking drugs “from season to season” by “gauging” his weight and tracking his facial hair throughout the show.
“When I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol; when I’m skinny, it’s pills; when I have a goatee, it’s a lot of pills,” he said.
He described himself as “pretty healthy” by June 2022 and said he was motivated to help others struggling with addiction.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss,” they wrote in a joint statement to People.
“In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.
In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.