Friends star Matthew Perry has admitted that due to his past drug abuse issues, he can’t remember filming a large chunk of the hugely popular sitcom that turned him into a household name.
The 46-year-old actor, who has been open about his journey towards sobriety, got candid about those dark years in a new interview with BBC Radio 2 on Friday.
Asked to choose his least favourite episode of the show, Matthew was forced to reveal he had lost many of his on-set memories.
“Oh my goodness,” he said.
“I think the answer is I don’t remember three years of it. So none of those … somewhere between season three and six.”
He went on to admit that “a little bit of the time, I was a little out of it, yeah.”
Matthew was just 24 when he landed the role of Chandler Bing on Friends, a gig that would skyrocket him to sudden fame alongside cast mates Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and Matt LeBlanc, and eventually see him earn $1 million an episode.
On screen, the actor hit every note perfectly as the quick-witted, sarcastic Chandler – but off screen, his life was spiralling out of control.
In 1997, three years after the pilot episode of Friends aired, Matthew was prescribed Vicodin after an accident with a Jet Ski. The actor was already battling a drinking problem at the time, and the added drug addiction sparked a years-long struggle to get clean.
“I couldn’t stop,” he told People in 2013.
“Eventually things got so bad that I couldn’t hide it, and then everybody knew.”
Audiences watched Matthew’s weight fluctuate dramatically over the years as he battled for control over his personal demons. At one point, the actor dropped 20 pounds after being diagnosed with pancreatitis – which he attributed to “hard living and drinking hard and eating poorly”.
The actor completed his first stint in rehab in 1997 for Vicodin addiction, and his second in February 2001 for addiction to opioids, amphetamines and alcohol.
Now, Matthew is a passionate advocate for others going through the same journey and often speaks candidly about his personal history with addiction. In 2013, he received a Champion of Recovery award from the White House for his work with Perry House, a sober-living facility he created out of his former Malibu mansion.
Matthew has since sold the property but told The Hollywood Reporter he plans to relocate the facility to a smaller place in Santa Monica or Studio City.
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