Nearly two decades ago Mathew Perry’s smiling face could be seen on every television screen and in the pages of newspapers across the world on a weekly basis. Back in 2004, he was one of the standout stars of the hit sitcom Friends. Since then, he’s barely been in the public sight at all. It makes you wonder whatever happened to him? Why was he so prominent one minute just to vanish the next? The reason for his departure from the spotlight is actually quite heartbreaking
It may be hard to reconcile with how such a prominent celebrity could so quickly fall the wayside. Friends was one of the most popular shows in TV history and it accumulated a staggering 62 Emmy nominations during its decade-long run.
To top it off, Perry’s co-stars went on to experience thriving careers in show biz. Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, and David Schwimmer still retain a place in the public forum to varying degrees. So what happened to Matthew? We’re about to get to the bottom of that.
Also, you’re going to want to stick around to see what Perry says he would go back and do differently if he had a time machine.
Perry’s Life Took A Different Path Than His Co-Stars
It’s not that Perry quit acting since Friends wrapped up, but he has found sparse success compared to his counterparts. The work he has gotten since then has been much more niche than say Anistons. As such, the paparazzi and journalists are far less inclined to keep him on the cover of any tabloid newspaper. But that’s not the only reason that he has ghosted.
When Matthew was a child, didn’t exactly grow up with the dream of being a world-renowned actor. His mother was a journalist and his father was an actor, but he was much more interested in the world of sports. He became a highly ranked lawn tennis player when he was in his younger years.
It was when he reached his teenage years though that he departed his childhood home in Ottawa, Ontario, and ventured to LA where he would start taking improv comedy classes while living with his mother.
Landing His First Major Role
In the mid-eighties, he scored his first big part in a sitcom. The show was initially called Second Chance and he played Chazz Russell. Shortly into the shows run, it changed names to Boys Will Be Boys, and Perry became the shows lead – foreshadowing things to come for the young actor’s career.
Boy Will Be Boys wasn’t any kind of major success story, however, and the show would be canceled shortly after Perry became the focus of the series, but it did prove to be an important foot-in-the-door for the adolecent who was struggling to find his place in Hollywood.
After he graduated from high school in 87, he made his big-screen debut in the film A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon. It was around this time that he had a guest-starring part on the popular situational comedy Growing Pains. Things were certainly looking up for Matthew.
More Guest-Spots And Increasing Popularity
After the Growing Pains spot, Perry went on to land a whole slew of small parts in sitcoms. In 1990, he would play the little brother of Valerie Bertinelli in the short-lived series Sydney. Then he would take a starring role in Home Free in 1993 as well as in the pilot episode of LAX2194 in 94.
It was probably a bit disheartening to keep landing roles that essentially went nowhere. But something vibrant and new was just over the horizon waiting for Perry to fall into.
It was while he was filming LAX2194 that a new show was being formulated. The sitcom was called Six to One and at first, it looked like Perry wasn’t going to get a chance to audition for it because of his ongoing commitments.
In a twist of fate though he managed to get in front of the agents who were putting together the show’s
cast and he landed the part. Six To One would later be renamed, Friends.
Finding His Way On Friends
Matthew Perry played Chandler Bing – the sarcastic and oft times self-deprecating character known for being needy, emotionally immature, ceaselessly sarcastic and using his quick witted humor as a defense mechanism.
It was revealed much later that his own personality was a huge inspiration for how David Crane and Marta Kauffman – the show’s creators – would develop his character.
One Day, the creative force behind Friends took each cast member out to lunch separately and asked them to describe themselves. Perry’s response would end up being defining of who Chandler would later become.
He described himself as being terrible with women despite the fact that he wasn’t unattractive. He also elaborated by saying that he couldn’t stand uncomfortable moments of silence. He always had to break it in some way with a joke or some kind of witty quip. He wrapped up the short interview by saying ‘ What better character for a sitcom is that? It’s a built-in excuse for him to be funny.”
There’s no arguing with the fact that Perry’s delivery with Chandler helped propel Friends into being the smash hit that it became. It was more than just a hit TV show, it also became a major cultural touchstone.
Interestingly, according to psychologists, the way that Chandler talked, especially his sarcastic statements and relentless jokes influenced society to follow suit.
If Only He Had A Time Machine
in 2013, Perry did an interview with CNN where he discussed how much fun it was while they working on the show. He described how he often found himself daydreaming and reminiscing about the days on the set and how if he had some kind of time machine, he would go back to 2004 and stop the show from coming to an end.
Can you imagine what it would be like if Friends was still going strong today? Unfortunately it seems as if Perry’s inner demons would have eventually put a stop to the show regardless of how things played out. Stick around to find out what we mean. And if you are enjoying this video so far, make sure to give us a like and subscribe to our channel. Tap the bell icon to turn on notifications so you can keep up with all of our latest content.
Anyways, while he was working on Friends, he had numerous film opportunities because of his fame. He starred alongside Salma Hayek in Fools Rush In in 1997 and The Whole Nine Yards with Bruce Willis in 2000. Friends had proved to be a springboard for his career.
Then you have his guest-starring role in The West Wing which even though he only appeared in three episodes, he was able to nab a set of Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in 2003 and 2004.
His Luck Took A Turn
After appearing on The West Wing, Perry starred on another Aaron Sorkin Show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip but the show was canceled after only one season. Then, Perry developed his own sitcom concept called Mr. Sunshine which had him going through a mid-life crisis – but that series too would meet the ax of cancellation after only 9 episodes.
Things weren’t looking good for Perry’s post-Friends TV career. His next show Go On, which put him in the role of a man ordered to undergo therapy after his wife’s death did slightly better than Mr. Sunshine in the sense that it got a full 22 episode long season, but it was canceled after season one too.
His next series, the 2015 remake of The Odd Couple fared much better for Perry as it managed to last for three seasons. The show would wrap up in 2017 as would a play that Perry wrote and acted in called The End of Longing.
For the next couple of years, no one would hear from Perry again. It was like he had dropped off the face of the earth, and the rumor mill was abuzz with theories.
Some Speculated that he had succumbed to an old vice. Back in 1997, he entered rehab for his addiction to the opiate painkiller Vicodin. Then 4 years later he was readmitted into rehab once again. This time not only was he struggling with his Vicodin addiction but he had also developed a problem with methadone, alcohol, and amphetamines. His appearance also began to go downhill, with him increasingly looking disheveled when out in public as well as his weight wildly fluctuating between his stints in rehabs. After his second round of rehab, fortunately, it looked like he had really cleaned up his act.
Getting Clean Saved His Life
In 2003, Perry went on Oprah and explained that he had a shocking revelation that if he wanted to keep living his life how he was, then at some point there wouldn’t be any life left to live. The only way that he could overcome his demons was by surrendering to recovery.
He told People in 2013, that a big reason why he kept falling into addiction was because of him struggling to deal with fame. From 24 to 34, he and his castmates were everywhere. Fame ended up leaving him with a sinking feeling of isolation and loneliness.
His Struggles Didn’t End There
Perry has supposedly been sober since his second stint in rehab in 2001. In 2018 however, he would face another hardship that would put him briefly back into the spotlight.
He suffered a ruptured bowel and ended up having to be admitted to the hospital for 3 months straight. Of course, when the media first discovered he was hospitalized, the rumors of his substance abuse issues came back to the forefront forcing his people to issue a statement confirming his medical issues.
In 2019, Perry created another stir when he tweeted the cryptic message “I got kicked out of therapy today”. His fans and the media alike were suddenly questioning his mental and physical wellness and for good reason. Once again, his sobriety was being called into question again.
Perry would eventually attempt to clarify things by informing his followers that he had been struggling with depression for years. He reassured his supporters that he had not relapsed but had merely been kicked out of one session of therapy but since had gone back and cleared things up.
RadarOnline, however, would question his claims of being fine. They reported that he had been staying in a New York hotel since 2018 and quoted a source that revealed that Perry had been drinking again. That source described him as being a mess and that for the most part, he would isolate himself in private areas of the hotel where only VIPs were capable of going. The only time he would leave his room was to smoke a cigarette or to go to a hospital appointment.
Now, claims made by anonymous sources are hard to verify, but the paparazzi have taken a few shots of Matthew in 2019 and 2020 that seem to line up with the narrative that he has let his physical and mental health go downhill. He repeatedly appears in public unkempt, he’s gained quite a bit of weight, he seems bloated and his hands look swollen.
Hopefully, Perry can pull himself together. The cast of Friends was supposed to do a reunion episode in 2020 but because of the pandemic, it’s been indefinitely postponed. Sources close to the project have reiterated that the reunion will eventually come to fruition when the global threat is minimized.
As far as Perry goes, we are rooting for you buddy! We sincerely hope you find the happiness and health that you deserve.
Would you watch a Friends reunion if it happens or would you rather see Friends stay a thing of the past? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
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