Matthew Perry Had A Complicated Relationship With His Friends Co-Stars Before His Death

The following article includes mentions of substance abuse and addiction.

In breaking news that shocked the world, actor Matthew Perry was found dead on October 28, 2023, at his Pacific Palisades home. Emergency services responded to an anonymous call at the "Friends" alum's home, with a bystander having discovered Perry unresponsive in his hot tub. The firefighters who pulled Perry out of the tub quickly determined that he was already deceased, although the cause of death wasn't immediately known.

Fans and fellow celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow mourned the veteran actor en masse. Paltrow posted a sweet remembrance about her and Perry's little-known-about 1993 fling on Instagram, calling Perry "so funny and so sweet and so much fun to be with." The tribute that hit many the hardest, however, came from Perry's "Friends" co-stars. On October 30, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer reacted in a joint statement to People to their late pal's demise. "We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew," the quintet began, continuing to reflect, "We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we're going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss. In time we will say more, as and when we are able."

With his cast mates rocked by his tragic death, Perry clearly shared a bond with his former "Friends" co-stars. However, as he once revealed, their post-"Friends" relationship wasn't as close as he would have liked it to be.

Matthew Perry didn't see co-stars much after Friends

Despite their ample supportiveness, Matthew Perry's addiction struggles created an inadvertent wedge with his "Friends" co-stars. At November 2022's GQ's Men of the Year Party, Perry mused wistfully to Access Hollywood, "We don't see each other as much. I wish the group would see each other more times." Of course, busy schedules were to blame, too — given the divergent careers he, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Courteney Cox went on to have. In his various attempts to recover from substance abuse, including during his "Friends" tenure, Perry's cast mates were, as he told People, "understanding, and they were patient." However, the individual actors weren't capable of helping their friend directly.

Kudrow, who penned the foreword to Perry's 2022 memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," wrote that she wondered if she did everything she could. "Over those years I didn't really try to intervene or confront him, because the little I knew about addiction was that his sobriety was out of my hands," Kudrow confessed in the foreword. "And yet, I would have periods of wondering if I was wrong for not doing more, doing something."

"Friends," to Perry, also served as a constant reminder of his worst periods of addiction. In a 2022 interview on "Q with Tom Power," the "17 Again" star explained, "I didn't watch the show and haven't watched the show because I could go, 'drinking, opiates, drinking, cocaine.' ... I could tell season by season how I looked." 

If you or anyone you know is struggling 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).

Despite their separate lives, Matthew Perry and his Friends co-stars were bonded for life

Although each went on to lead wildly different personal and professional lives, Matthew Perry and his "Friends" co-stars did forge a lifelong bond. "I can not see him for five years and then get in a room together and still have that shorthand with each other," Matt LeBlanc said of Perry on a 2016 TCA press tour, per Yahoo! Finance. As for David Schwimmer, Perry lauded in his 2022 memoir "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing" that it was Schwimmer's idea to negotiate their contracts as a group, thereby scoring each star a $1 million weekly check. "He could have gone it alone and profited more than all the rest," Perry noted.

As for his female co-stars, Perry's lasting friendship with Lisa Kudrow is well-documented, with her gushing in the foreword to Perry's book that he was "whip-smart ... charming, sweet, sensitive, very reasonable and rational." Singling out Jennifer Aniston for her enduring support, Perry recalled in his memoir that the "Morning Show" star was the first cast mate to confront him about his alcohol abuse during a "Friends" shoot. In his book's emotional acknowledgments, Perry thanked Aniston for "letting me look at that face an extra two seconds every single day." As for his onscreen wife Courteney Cox, Perry cheekily thanked her "for making America think that someone so beautiful would marry a guy like me."