The Truth About Matthew Perry And Courteney Cox's Relationship

The following article includes mentions of substance abuse and addiction.

Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox will forever be recognized as two of the leads in NBC's hit comedy series "Friends." Of course, fans will remember that Chandler, played by Perry, and Monica, played by Cox, ended up as a surprise couple within the show at the end of Season 4. When it comes to real life, however, the two certainly were friends prior to Perry's untimely death in October 2023, but there has been no indication that their romantic relationship extended off-screen. 

Cox met and "fell in love" with actor David Arquette (who had appeared in an episode of "Friends") during production of the first "Scream" film in 1996, in which they both starred. They would go on to get married in 1999, and remain together for the rest of the time "Friends" was on (they would get divorced in 2013). 

Although he would never get married, Perry himself would go on to have a number of relationships with well-known women, including actors Julia Roberts and Lizzy Caplan, though never with Cox. So, does that mean that the relationship between Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox was purely platonic? Well, as it turns out, the truth is a bit more complicated. 

Matthew Perry was 'always in love' with Courteney Cox

Although the relationship between Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry never turned into anything more behind the scenes, it seems as though at least one of them would have liked it to. According to a 2019 Us Weekly report, Perry developed feelings for Cox during their time on "Friends," and the feelings did not end with the series finale in 2004.

"Matthew's always been in love with her," a source close to Perry told the outlet. They added that Perry has "never fully been able to get over her." Of course, he went through a number of relationships during and after his time on "Friends," including with Academy Award-winning actor Julia Roberts, from 1995 to 1996 (during which she made a guest appearance on the show, playing a character who dated Chandler); "Mean Girls" star Lizzy Caplan, from 2006 to 2012; and most recently literary manager Molly Hurwitz, to whom he became engaged in 2020 after two years of dating. 

However, his engagement with Hurwitz did not work out, and they broke up around June 2021. Perry was quite cryptic about the circumstances that led to their breakup. "Sometimes things just don't work out and this is one of them," he told People at the time. "I wish Molly the best."

Courteney Cox was optimistic about Matthew Perry's future

In the long-awaited "Friends: The Reunion" which aired in May 2021, cast mates David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston, who played on-again-off-again couple Ross and Rachel, famously revealed that, like their characters, they each had crushes on one another, though they never acted on it. However, when it came to Matthew Perry's feelings for Courteney Cox, the actor kept his mouth shut. 

Perry did, however, talk about how nervous he would be onstage, always paranoid that his performance would not come off as humorous. "I felt like I was going to die if [the audience] didn't laugh," Perry said. In a February 2022 The Times interview, Cox said in response, "... that's a lot to think how much he relied on that for his own self-worth." When it came to Perry's personal issues, however, Cox had an optimistic outlook. 

"I married Monica and got driven back to the treatment center," Perry told The New York Times, opening up about his experience with substance addiction.  

In her 2022 interview with The Times, Cox touched on Perry's disease but made it clear that she was hopeful for his future. "He's just struggled for a while," she said. "I think he's doing great now."

While Cox appeared to be there for Perry during his darkest days, he was always there for her, too. According to Perez Hilton, when she split from Johnny McDaid in 2015, Perry was the first to reach out and offer support (via Mirror).

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).

They loved working together

Despite Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox's relationship only ever being platonic, both actors were known to gush about each other, particularly when it came to their chemistry as co-stars. 

Perry's crush was evident in a comment he posted on X, formerly Twitter, after Cox guest starred on his NBC series "Go On" in 2013. "... She is fantastic, obviously. And my desire to show off in front of her is back in full swing!" he wrote. Cox reciprocated by raving about Perry after he guest-starred on her show "Cougar Town" a year later. "It's so great to work with him. He's so sweet," she told Conan O'Brien that year about their time acting together again (via YouTube).

While on the talk show, Cox credited Perry for making her look good on camera during their sitcom days. "When I worked with him on 'Friends,' he literally gave me my personality for 10 years," she said. Cox also shared her love for Perry's acting skills — and gave him props for teaching her a thing or two — in the "Friends 'til the End" series companion book written by David Wild. She hailed Perry as a "comic genius" and said he was second to none at "delivering lines." Cox said she'd "learned a lot from him" and shared that she viewed him as family.

They were each other's biggest cheerleaders

Courteney Cox may not have shared Matthew Perry's romantic feelings, but she was still there for him in every other way. "Guess who I had lunch with today....I KNOW!! Could I BE any happier? #realfriends," she captioned an adorable selfie of the two posing in November 2019. Cox took to social media again in 2022, this time to praise Perry over the runaway success of his memoir "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing." Per News Break, she posted a pic on her Instagram stories of herself perched on a sofa, reading his book. "So proud of my friend @mattyperry4 for writing this brave book and for making the New York Times Best Sellers list [four] weeks in a row!"

Then, in an email to BuzzFeed, Cox credited Perry's talent for "showing vulnerability" as the reason why "everyone loves him so much." But, no matter how hard she tried, Cox could never outdo Perry's level of adoration. He described her as "cripplingly beautiful" in his memoir.

Perry did save some love for his other co-stars, though. In his memoir, he admitted to sobbing more than any of them during the "Friends: The Reunion" taping. The actor said it was down to feeling emotional over how much he cared for his pals. Still, he couldn't resist adding a little more praise for Cox. He thanked her "for making America think that someone so beautiful would marry a guy like me."