Matthew Perry’s return to shoot Chandler Bing and Monica Geller’s wedding on “Friends” wasn’t smooth sailing — to say the least. The actor revealed in detail what happened behind-the-scenes before filming the Season 7 finale.
The late star, who died at age 54 on Oct. 28, noted in his 2022 memoir that his dad, John Bennett Perry, saved his life “multiple times” — and even stepped in over a conversation the “Friends” actor had with the show co-creators.
“After about three weeks, I called Marta Kauffman and David Crane to tell them I was sober and could return to ‘Friends,’” Matthew recalled in “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.”
“‘When are you coming back?’ They said. ‘We need you to come back. It’s going to be very work intensive. We have to start in two weeks, or we won’t be able to do it.’”
“But I was still very sick,” Matthew explained. “My father had overheard the tenor of the conversation and called Marta and David back. ‘I will pull him off your television show,’ Dad said, ‘if you continue to act this way around him.’”
The “Fools Rush In” actor was “grateful” for his dad in that moment, but he also “didn’t want to be the problem” for his co-stars and the show. He noted that he couldn’t just “disappear” and understood that Kauffman and Crane were just doing their jobs.
After more time away to get better, Matthew finally returned to film Chandler and Monica’s big moment. But, first, he reunited with Jennifer Aniston on set.
“When I arrived, Jen Aniston said, ‘I’ve been mad at you.’”
“‘Honey,’ I said, ‘if you knew what I’d been through, you would not be mad at me,’” he replied. “With that we hugged, and I got the work done. I married Monica [Courteney Cox] and got driven back to the treatment center — at the height of my highest point in ‘Friends,’ the highest point in my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show — in a pickup truck helmed by a sober technician. Not all the lights were green on Sunset that night, let me tell ya.”
As he noted in his memoir, Aniston — alongside Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — supported him throughout his years-long battle with drug and alcohol abuse. And it was Aniston who confronted him at one point, noting they could all smell that he was drinking. Matthew, who had a crush on Aniston at the start of “Friends,” would go on to say he was “grateful” that she was the one who reached out the most amid his struggles.
Matthew’s death has particularly devastated Aniston, with her reportedly keeping to herself for the most part at his funeral on Nov. 8.
“Nobody shed more tears for Matthew during the darkest points of his struggles with addiction than Jennifer,” a source previously told Daily Mail, adding that she “genuinely thought his worst days were behind him. So his death just two years later comes as a bitter body blow for Jennifer.”
“It doesn’t matter whether he died as a result of a freak accident, or whether it was directly connected to his drug issues,” the source told the outlet. “This is a day that Jennifer has dreaded coming for 20 years. She always wanted to help Matthew in any way she could…that was a constant for her.”
In 2004, shortly before filming the “Friends” series finale, Aniston also broke down in tears discussing the “Whole Nine Yards” actor to Diane Sawyer.
At the time, she was asked what each castmate “didn’t know” about themselves.
“That he’s all right,” she said of what she hoped he knew about himself.
“He struggled,” Aniston shared. “We didn’t know. We weren’t equipped to deal with it. Nobody had ever dealt with that. And the idea of even losing him . . . he’s having a road. But he’s all right.”