Matthew Perry Recalls How The Friends Cast Supported His Sobriety Journey

Any fan of NBC's hit sitcom "Friends" will recall actor Matthew Perry, who played the sardonic and wise-cracking Chandler Bing. As some fans may know, Perry went through some trying and highly publicized struggles with drug and alcohol addiction during his time on the show, including two bouts of rehab: once for a month in 1997, and again in February 2001. In the years since the show's end, Perry revealed that, due to his addiction issues, he doesn't even remember three of his 10 years on "Friends" — "somewhere between season three and six," he said. However, despite these tribulations, he did not let it affect his performance and he never missed an episode. Viewers who weren't any the wiser surely wouldn't have even known. 

And, as any viewer of HBO's popular  "Friends Reunion" will recall, the six cast members grew incredibly close during the show's run, and that bond has not faded in the nearly two decades since the show's end. In fact, the friendship between these "Friends" may be demonstrated no better than in their response to Perry's personal struggles, which the actor has said was key to helping him recover. 

Matthew Perry compares cast member support to penguins

In anticipation of the release of his upcoming memoir, "Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing," "Friends" star Matthew Perry spoke to People, revealing just how much his five cast mates were, as the iconic theme song would suggest, there for him. 

When it came to his drug and alcohol addiction, which occurred largely during his time on "Friends," Perry said the cast was "understanding" and "patient." He also used an unexpected analogy to describe the support they provided during that trying period: "It's like penguins," he explained. "In nature, when one is sick or very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up and walk around until that penguin can walk on its own. And that's kind of what the cast did for me."

In particular, Perry credits Jennifer Aniston above all. "She was the one that reached out the most," he said in an upcoming interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer. "I'm really grateful to her for that." He also hinted at a moment which he writes about in his memoir, in which Aniston approached him and told him, "We know you were drinking." "Imagine how scary a moment that was," Perry reflected. Luckily, she — and the other "Friends" — were indeed there for him, and Perry's now celebrating 18 straight months of sobriety. 

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).