Why Matthew Perry Once Said He'd Never Share His Fortune With His Biological Father

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The following article includes references to drug and alcohol addiction.

Matthew Perry was a widely successful actor, from his prosperous time on "Friends" to his starring roles in well-known films like "Fools Rush In" and "The Whole Nine Yards." He was bringing home the big bucks from these roles, but he once threatened to never share his fortune with his father, John Bennett Perry.

Matthew and John have had a complex relationship. The "17 Again" actor's parents split before he even turned one, and after the divorce, Matthew lived full-time with his mother in Canada. The actor rarely saw his father as John had moved to Los Angeles following the breakup in pursuit of a career in acting. Distance between the father-son duo strained their relationship a bit, but John would call Matthew to fill him in on what he was doing. "I didn't get much of a chance to see him as a kid. He'd call up and say, 'I'm getting killed on Mannix this Thursday. Look for me,'" Matthew explained to People.

When Matthew turned 15, he left Canada and moved in with his father in Los Angeles to follow his footsteps in acting. As we all know, the actor catapulted into success thanks to the sitcom "Friends." However, as Matthew became a successful actor, he started to struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. At one point, the actor found himself living back with his father as a grown adult and threatening to cut him off from his riches.

Matthew Perry considered cutting off his father, John Bennett Perry

Matthew Perry struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for years. It all started after he was injured in a jet ski accident in 1997 and was prescribed Vicodin for the pain, but eventually, Matthew used it to get high, per The New York Post. Over the next decade, Matthew would have moments of sobriety but would eventually relapse. Many of the actor's closest friends and family knew about his struggles with addiction, including his famous father, John Bennett Perry.

In his memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," the actor recalled a moment in his life when he had decided to live with his father during a time when he was sober. However, this living situation would lead Matthew to consider cutting off John from his fortune completely. "It was like I was fifteen again, living with my dad in California," Matthew wrote. "A car would come to pick me up every day to take me to film 'Friends.'" 

Although he was sober when he entered the house, he wasn't when he left. While living with John, Matthew relapsed and would sneak drugs and alcohol into his father's home. The actor's addiction got so bad and irked not only John but his wife, and they eventually asked him to leave. Matthew recalled being heated by how his father had kicked him out. "'Oh, I'll leave, but neither of you will ever see a dime of my money, ever,' I thought, but I did not say," he recalled in his memoir.

Matthew Perry's parents may end up with his fortune

Matthew Perry and John Bennett Perry's relationship eventually got back on track. In mid-October 2023, the "Friends" star shared a sweet photo of him and his dad spending time together. "Here is me, and my father John, both holding a beverage," he wrote.

Unfortunately, just weeks after this post, Matthew tragically passed away. In late October 2023, the actor suddenly died at 54 due to an apparent drowning. Days after his death, his family broke their silence. "We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother," they told People. "Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend. You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love."

As more news unfolded about his passing in the following days, many wondered what would actually happen to Matthew's fortune and assets. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the "Fools Rush In" actor was worth approximately $120 million at the time of his death. 

It's unknown whether the actor had a will prepared, but he was never married nor did he have any kids, per Hello Magazine. Many seem to think that if he did have a will in place, his fortune would most likely end up in the hands of those closest to him, including his father John, his mother Suzanne Perry, and his stepfather Keith Morrison. However, nothing has been confirmed yet as of early November 2023.

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).