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Matthew Perry describes hiding his alcoholism from his ‘supportive’ Friends co-stars

Matthew Perry told on Monday how he tried desperately to keep his drug and alcohol addiction a secret from his Friends co-stars for years, but now hopes they will all read his new memoir about it. 

Perry, 53, has spoken frequently of his addiction in the last few weeks in an effort to promote his new memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. 

On Monday morning, he appeared live on Good Morning America to talk more about his crippling alcoholism and drug addiction.

At its worst, his addiction had him drinking a quarter bottle of vodka a day and taking 55 Vicodin, methadone and Xanax. He talked at length about the addiction in an hour-long interview with Diane Sawyer that aired on Friday. 

The book is not out until tomorrow but Perry says he has already received supportive messages from ‘some’ of his Friends co-stars. 

‘I’ve gotten some really nice texts from a few of them already and the book isn’t even out yet,’ he said on Monday morning. 

 

Matthew Perry told on Monday how he tried desperately to keep his drug and alcohol addiction a secret from his Friends co-stars for years, but now hopes they will all read his new memoir about it

Perry with Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Anniston, David Schwimmer and Matt Le Blanc in 2004, before they filmed the final episode of Friends. He said he had tried to keep it a secret from them for years but was found out

Perry with Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Anniston, David Schwimmer and Matt Le Blanc in 2004, before they filmed the final episode of Friends. He said he had tried to keep it a secret from them for years but was found out  

He added that while writing the book was easy, reading it back became a painful process for him. 

‘It was a gratifying experience to write the book, it all just poured out of me. It came easily to me to write it but then I had to read it for the Audible part of it and that was really hard. 

‘Reading and it sort of disassociating a bit… thinking “God, what a terrible, hard life this guy has had and realizing, I’m talking about myself.

‘I felt very sorry for that person because I know what was going on in his head and it all had to be a secret. I was on a show that a lot of people were watching and trying not to have a lot of people know that,’ he said. 

He added that he had tried to ‘not go after’ anyone in the book, despite sharing previously secret details of romances with Julia Roberts and Valerie Bertinelli. 

‘It’s very important to me that I didn’t go after anyone and I wasn’t gossipy,’ he said. 

He added that for years, he was unaware that he was an alcoholic. 

‘A lot of people have alcoholism and don’t know that they do. They’re wondering why they drink so much. I didn’t know. I had to keep it a secret because I didn’t understand what was going on. 

Perry said he backed out of a romance with Julia Roberts because it was 'too much' for him to date one of the biggest stars in the world

Valerie Bertinelli with Matthew Perry on the set of Sydney in 1990

Perry said he backed out of a romance with Julia Roberts because it was ‘too much’ for him to date one of the biggest stars in the world. The pair dated for several months between 1995 and 1996. He also claims in the book to have ‘made out’ with Valerie Bertinelli (right together in 1990) when her husband Eddie Van Halen was passed out 

Perry in 1987

Perry at the height of his Friends fame

Perry, left, in 1987 and right, at the height of his Friends fame. He previously told Diane Sawyer how viewers could ‘track’ his addiction with his weight: ‘When I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol. When I’m skinny, it’s pills.’

‘Certain lines in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous made me aware. 

‘I thought I was alone in this and then I read a passage that said drinkers think they are trying to escape but really what they’re trying to do is get over an illness that they don’t know they have. I went, “oh there’s 30million people that think like me.”

Perry is now a sponsor to other alcoholics, something he said he takes joy from. 

Perry's memoir goes on sale tomorrow

Perry’s memoir goes on sale tomorrow 

‘If you’ve gone through anything close to what I’ve gone through, I can help. There’s some light that comes on in people’s eyes when they get it.’ 

He previously told Sawyer how he battled the lowest points in his addiction when he was at the top of his career. 

‘I should have been the toast of the town, but I was in a dark room meeting with nothing but drug dealers and completely alone,’ he told Diane Sawyer in an hour-long interview that aired on Friday. 

It began when he was 14, when he said he drank an entire bottle of wine. By 18, he was drinking every day, he said. 

‘I lay in the grass and was in heaven,’ said Perry, who is promoting his new memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, which details his battle with addiction. ‘I thought to myself, “This must be the way normal people feel all the time.”‘ 

In the book, he reveals how Jennifer Anniston was among the most supportive of his Friends co-stars, telling Sawyer: ‘She was the one that reached out the most. You know, I’m really grateful to her for that.’ 

He also reveals in the book that he broke up with Julia Roberts because dating one of the world’s biggest stars was ‘way too much for him’. 

He dished on asking Jennifer Anniston out on a date before they co-starred on Friends (she said no) and also claimed to have made out with Valerie Bertinelli while her husband was passed out.

She has not responded to the allegation.  

Perry says he has been to rehab 15 times and estimates he has spent $9million on trying to be clean and sober throughout his life.  Now, he says he craves a wife and children. 

In his interview with Sawyer, he said viewers of Friends could ‘track’ which drug he was taking or if he was drinking by monitoring his weight. 

‘When I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol. When I’m skinny, it’s pills.’ 

He guesses he has attended some 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and had detoxed 54 times, many of which were during his run on Friends. 

He appeared on the show throughout its 10-year run but made a rule to never drink or take drugs on set. 

‘I made a rule that I would never drink or take anything at work,’ Matthew said.

‘So I would never do that, but I would show up blindly hungover. Like shaking. I loved Chandler, I loved the show. And I knew, “Remember this, because it’s going to be the best time of your life.”

‘And I knew I would never forgive myself if I messed this up,’ he said. 



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