Matthew Perry, or Chandler Bing as he has been known since the premiere of the massively successful sitcom, Friends, in 1994, opens up and talks about his past struggles with alcohol and drug addiction and how he dealt with it.
Perry sat down with People magazine and reveals that not only was he abusing alcohol during the Friends run, but he also became addicted to pain medication after a jet ski accident:
Perry reveals the doctor told him “Here, take this.” Perry continues: “I did and I felt better than I ever felt in my entire life. I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn’t stop.”
Perry says he had a rough time dealing with concealing his addiction on the set of Friends:
“I was never high at work. I was painfully hung over. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn’t hide it and everybody knew.” Not only did Perry struggle to conceal his addiction, he also had to deal with the spotlight and the fame that he obtained from the successful show:
“I was on Friends from age 24 to 34. I was in the white-hot flame of fame. The six of us were just everywhere all the time. From an outsider’s perspective, it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism. It was going on before Friends, but it’s a progressive disease.”
While Perry struggled with his addiction, he also realized that he had the power to not only help himself, but others as well:
“I was a hopelessly narcissistic guy, and I only thought about myself, and then that just shifted, and when that happened, I got some true happiness and comfort in my life,” he states, later adding that helping people struggling with alcoholism and addiction is the “thing I like the most about me.”
It is eye-opening to hear about the struggles that Perry went through. We, as viewers, sometimes get lost in the fantasy of television and film and we forget that we are viewing real people. Perry still had the drive and focus to make millions of people laugh every week amidst his struggles. It is great to hear that he is now clean and sober.