Matthew Perry's Role In Star-Studded Netflix Film Was Derailed By A Serious Medical Emergency

Matthew Perry will soon release a memoir called "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," in which the actor details his ascent to fame, and his difficult road to sobriety. The "Friends" star will reportedly divulge a number of revelations in the book, including a serious health scare that caused him to drop out of what would've been his first movie appearance since 2009.

Speaking with People, Perry confessed that he was admitted to the hospital when he was 49 for gastrointestinal perforation brought about by an opioid use. His colon had burst at the time, with doctors telling his family that he only had a "2 percent" chance of survival. "I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs," he recalled. "And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."

His struggles with addiction apparently started early on in his career. Perry shared in his memoir that he also suffered from alcoholism during his years-long stint in "Friends," saying that it had gotten to the point where his co-stars called him out for it. "I know you're drinking," Jennifer Aniston had told him (via Entertainment Weekly). Perry went on to write that the confrontation had "hit me like a sledgehammer." Unfortunately, it took decades for Perry to recover, and as recently as 2020, he was still struggling. 

Matthew Perry dropped out of Don't Look Up

Matthew Perry was supposed to have his big screen comeback in 2021 following 2009's "17 Again." He was slated to have a role in Adam McKay's "Don't Look Up" opposite the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, and Jennifer Lawrence, but he had to pull out of the film following another serious health scare.

In his memoir "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," he revealed that while at a treatment center in Switzerland, his heart stopped for five minutes, with the doctors having no choice but to break his ribs in an attempt to resuscitate him, per Rolling Stone. He had no choice but to drop out of the film, which he said was the "biggest movie I'd gotten ever," to focus on recovery. Perry had initially been slated to play a Republican journalist in the movie, as evidenced in the photos taken of him on set.

Fortunately, Perry is finally out of that dark place. He wrote that he's now well into his journey to recovery, and that prompted him to write the memoir in hopes of helping people. "I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again," he told People. "I had to wait until I was pretty safely sober — and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction — to write it all down."

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).