Were Matt LeBlanc And Matthew Perry Friends In Real Life?

This article contains mention of substance abuse and addiction.

Back in their prime, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc were among the biggest television names in the business, starring as best buds Chandler Bing and Joey Tribbiani in NBC's hit sitcom, "Friends." While airing, the TV show became among the most popular — and highly acclaimed — comedy series of all time, largely because of the dynamic between the six main actors. In fact, the BBC wrote at the time of the series finale in 2004, "While critics commended the series for its consistently sharp writing, a key ingredient of its success was the chemistry among the six principal actors."

For fans of the series, there is no doubt of this, and it was no better demonstrated than between the emotionally profound yet comically inane friendship between Chandler and Joey. Critics agreed, with LeBlanc being nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes throughout his time on the show and Perry also receiving an Emmy nod near the end of its run.

But were Perry and LeBlanc friends in real life before Perry's sudden death in October 2023? Well, fans should be glad to know that the friendship between the two stood the test of time.

Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry stayed close even after Friends

Could Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry's friendship BE any better? It has been nearly 20 years since "Friends" wrapped, but nothing could come between the friendship that LeBlanc and Perry formed on the show. When "Friends" ended in 2004, the cast went their separate ways, but no matter where life took them, LeBlanc and Perry always had their special bond up until Perry died in 2023.

They offered support to one another, and in 2016, LeBlanc made sure to be there for his friend on his playwriting debut. LeBlanc posted a photo of the two and captioned it, "Went to see The End [of] Longing last night and ran into this dude. He and the cast were great. Way to go bro." Fans went wild over the reunion, but the two would often see one another, and no matter how much time passed when they hung out, it was always like they had just seen one another.

In 2016, a reporter asked where LeBlanc's friendship stood with Perry, and it was better than ever, per Suggest. He shared, "I saw him yesterday. I love that guy! I can not see him for five years and then get in a room together and still have that shorthand with each other." So, no matter what happened in life or how many years went by, Perry and LeBlanc's friendship was as strong as Joey Tribbiani's and Chandler Bing's.

Matt LeBlanc always looked out for Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry was always vocal about his struggles with addiction. The "Friends" actor dealt with alcohol and drug addiction for years, even during his time on the hit NBC show, according to People. His "Friends" co-stars even took notice of the changes that happened during his addiction, and his on-screen best friend, Matt LeBlanc, tried to reach out. In 2002, LeBlanc opened up with People about the moment he spoke to Perry about his addiction struggles. He shared, "I tried to talk to him. There wasn't a response. It's such a personal struggle; they need to bottom out on their own." Although Perry might not have wanted the help at the time, it didn't stop LeBlanc from always looking out for his co-star.

In 2022, Perry released his memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir," and reflected on a time on the "Friends" set when LeBlanc looked after his co-star amidst his addiction struggles. He wrote, "The addiction ravaged me — one time, in a scene in the coffeehouse when I'm dressed in a suit, I fell asleep right there on the couch. Disaster was averted only when Matt LeBlanc nudged me awake right before my line; no one noticed, but I knew how close I'd come." Although he eventually became sober, Perry's addiction issues had taken over for a period of his life, but no matter what, LeBlanc was always for him.

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).

The entire cast remained close

As it turns out, the entire cast of "Friends" were indeed real-life friends, even years later. As LeBlanc told People in 2015, he considered the whole crew to be his family. "Courteney [Cox] and Lisa [Kudrow] are like my big sisters, but [Jennifer Aniston is] like my little sister," he told the outlet. "Matthew's like my little brother, and David [Schwimmer]'s like my big brother." 

Indeed, as LeBlanc pointed out, how he views each of his former castmates is relative to their ages. Schwimmer, Cox, and Kudrow are all older than him by one, three, and four years, respectively, and Aniston is younger than him by about two years. Perry, who was the youngest of the cast, was also about two years younger than LeBlanc.

Perry echoed LeBlanc's sentiment during the "Friends" reunion special in 2021. "The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it," he recalled. "That was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long and that was it."

The whole Friends cast has 'leaned on each other' over the years

Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry were not the only real-life friends to have come out of the popular sitcom. In 2019, a source close to the cast told People that the on-screen chemistry between the six stars was no joke. "They were truly friends," they said. "There was no behind-the-scenes drama." 

In addition, since the show has ended, the source revealed that the six friends "really leaned on each other" throughout the years. For Perry, this support may have been paramount, considering the substance abuse issues he was open about dealing with (Perry is also the only "Friends" star who never married, meaning that the strength of his friendships may have been of the utmost importance when it came to getting through his struggles). "The fact that they have been there for each other in happy and in sad times says a lot," the source added. 

Following Perry's sudden death in 2023, his former castmates spoke out in a joint statement obtained by People. "We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family," their statement read. "There is so much to say, but right now we're going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss."