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Comedic actor Matthew Perry revealed that it was “Friends” costar Jennifer Aniston who reached out to him the most during his battle with substance abuse, telling ABC’s Diane Sawyer that he was really “grateful” for her friendship.
Perry sat down with Sawyer ahead of the November 1 release of his new book, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir,” and he told the veteran journalist about his long battle with addiction — a battle that was raging even as he starred in a top-rated television show.
matthew perry about jennifer aniston 🤍 pic.twitter.com/QBMw97t5wq
— s 🦋 (@elysianiston) October 21, 2022
“Jennifer,” Sawyer prompted, and Perry nodded slowly, saying, “Jenny, yeah.”
“She says, ‘We know you’re drinking,'” Sawyer continued.
“Yeah. Imagine how scary a moment that was,” Perry replied. “She was the one that reached out the most. You know, I’m really grateful to her for that.”
The 53-year-old actor told Sawyer that he wrote the book because he felt like it was time to give back, and that he hoped by sharing his own journey, he could maybe reach others who were struggling in their own lives, saying, “It was important to me to do something that would help people.”
“Secrets kill you. Secrets kill people like me,” Perry explained, noting that he should have been reveling in the success of “Friends” — along with a few movies like “The Whole Nine Yards,” in which he starred alongside Bruce Willis and Amanda Peet — but that instead, he was quietly miserable.
“At the time I should have been the toast of the town. I was in a dark room meeting nothing but drug dealers and completely alone,” he said, explaining that at one point he was taking up to 55 Vicodin in a single day — in addition to methadone, Xanax, and up to a full quart of vodka.
Perry says he nearly died when the years of opioid abuse caught up with him several years ago, causing a perforation in his colon. He spent a number of weeks in the hospital and had to use a colostomy bag for an additional nine months — which he said was “hellish” because the bags had a tendency to break.
“My therapist said, ‘The next time you think about taking OxyContin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life.’ And a little window opened, and I crawled through it, and I no longer want OxyContin,” Perry told People Magazine.