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George Clooney Reveals Matthew Perry “Wasn’t Happy” While Filming Friends Despite Sitcom’s Success

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Dec 20, 2023

George Clooney recently made comments about his late friend Matthew Perry’s well-being during his time on the hit sitcom Friends. Though Friends was hugely successful and beloved by audiences, Clooney shared that Perry struggled with addiction and was not happy while working on the show.

Clooney Says Fame and Fortune Didn’t Bring Perry Joy

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, George Clooney reflected on Matthew Perry’s addiction issues over the years and said that starring on a successful show like Friends didn’t necessarily make Perry happy.

“He was a really fun funny guy, and he wasn’t having fun at the time,” Clooney said. “Remember that show was about them enjoying being famous in their 20s. But he wasn’t famous in his 20s. He was famous in his 30s. And he wasn’t enjoying any of it.”

Clooney and Perry both got their big breaks working on NBC shows in the 1990s—Clooney on ER and Perry on Friends, which aired from 1994-2004. Though Clooney said Perry seemed to have it all from the outside, he believes the fame and fortune wasn’t fulfilling for Perry.

“It doesn’t necessarily bring you peace and quiet and joy,” Clooney said about money and celebrity status. “It depends on if you can make sense of it somehow.”

Perry Struggled With Addiction Throughout His Career

In his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing released last year, Perry opened up about his decades-long battle with alcohol and opioid addiction which began when he was first cast on Friends.

Perry said he was taking 55 Vicodin pills a day while filming later seasons of the show and was down to 128 pounds. He went to rehab twice during Friends’ 10-year run. Perry said by age 34—when Friends was ending its successful streak as a pillar of NBC’s Must See TV lineup—he was ready to die.

“I guaranteed you that if I did not get sober at 34, that I never would have made it to 35,” Perry wrote in his book. “My sentence was to be dead. That’s as clear as it can be.”

Perry continued to struggle with health issues related to substance abuse after Friends ended. He has been to rehab 15 times over the years.

Clooney, who didn’t realize the severity of Perry’s addiction until years later, said Perry’s substance abuse struggles made an impression on him.

“I think everybody knew that he had some challenges,” Clooney told CBS News. “I didn’t really understand the level of it until after the show when I spent time with him and understood a little better how difficult it was for him.”

Friends Cast Responded With Support After Perry’s Revelation About His Health Struggles

After Perry opened up about the depth of his addiction issues over the years in interviews surrounding his memoir release, his Friends co-stars voiced messages of love and encouragement on social media.

Jennifer Aniston showed appreciation for Perry’s “bravery” in an Instagram post.

“Friends would not have been the same without you,” Aniston added.

Courteney Cox said she would be there for Perry “forever” and Lisa Kudrow said his revelation was an “important” step in Perry’s health journey.

David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc also expressed support and affection for their former co-star.

Clooney And Perry Bonded As Struggling Actors Earlier In Their Careers

Though they later became two of TV’s biggest stars while working just down the hall from each other at NBC Studios in Burbank, California in the ‘90s, George Clooney reflected on rough times trying to break into acting when he first met Matthew Perry.

Clooney slept on Perry’s couch in Los Angeles when both were still unknown working actors. But by the time ER became a huge hit, catapulting Clooney to stardom, Perry had also landed his career-making gig on the new series Friends.

“He picked me up for dinner and we drove to the Sunset Strip, and everywhere we stopped, it was as if the Red Sea was parting,” Clooney recalled with CBS News. “I was like, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ I didn’t understand what television superstardom was.”

Perry’s Death in October Was Devastating For Friends Cast

On October 25th, Matthew Perry’s publicist confirmed that the 53-year-old actor had passed away at his Los Angeles home following years of battling addiction and health problems.

The Friends cast once again took to social media to remember their co-star and mourn the loss of the man that had been such a major part of all of their lives.

“We’re sad about the passing of Matthew Perry who brought so much laughter to Friends viewers,” Netflix posted on the show’s official Twitter account. “Our hearts go out to his loved ones during this difficult time.”

Jennifer Aniston said Perry’s death had “shattered” her heart while Matt LeBlanc called it a “dark day” in an emotional Instagram post.

Courteney Cox said she would miss Perry “very much” and David Schwimmer noted that his “heart aches” for Perry’s family.

Many other celebrities and public figures posted tributes in the days following Perry’s untimely death at just 53 years old.

What Comes Next for Perry’s Legacy and How Addiction Struggles May Impact It

In an industry that often glorifies fame and success, Matthew Perry’s story underscores the need for more openness and support around addiction—something George Clooney touched on in his recent comments about the late actor.

As Perry’s memoir continues to gain public interest and attention in the aftermath of his death, there is increased focus on being more understanding about what stars like Perry may be facing internally even amidst immense professional success.

Perry’s willingness to be so candid about decades of substance abuse and health struggles also prompted many others to open up about their own experiences battling addiction. By shining a light on these issues that are often stigmatized and hidden, Perry has made an important impact.

The bittersweet tragedy of Matthew Perry—beloved by so many as Chandler Bing but suffering silently behind the scenes—will undoubtedly endure as part of his complicated legacy. Hopefully it leads to more people, both famous and otherwise, feeling empowered to get help when they need it.

If his death contributes to more awareness, compassion and resources around addiction, that could end up being Perry’s greatest role of all.

Timeline of Matthew Perry’s Addiction Battle Alongside Friends Success

Year Perry’s Addiction Battle Friends Show Events
1994 Perry lands role of Chandler Bing on Friends pilot Friends premieres on NBC and is an immediate hit
1997 Perry first goes to rehab for addiction to Vicodin Friends is the #1 show on NBC and earns Perry an Emmy nomination
2001 Friends cast negotiate $1 million per episode salaries for final seasons
2000s Perry enters and exits rehab numerous times struggling with ongoing addiction Friends ends in 2004 after 10 highly rated seasons
2016 Perry is honored alongside Friends cast with Friendship Award
2018 Gastrointestinal perforation leaves Perry hospitalized for 3 months
2022 Friends 25th anniversary reunion special streams on HBO Max
2022 Perry releases memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing detailing addiction battle
2023 Perry passes away at age 53 due to complications from years of substance abuse problems
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By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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