Canadian Friends star Matthew Perry battled addiction for several years, and it ended up having far-reaching repercussions on his life.
Perry, 46, revealed to BBC Radio 2 on Monday that he “can’t remember” three years of filming the hit sitcom because of his substance abuse. He’s currently in London preparing for the play The End of Longing and, as an result, won’t make the upcoming NBC Friends reunion.
Perry started abusing painkillers when he was prescribed them after a jet-ski accident in 1997; the actor was already imbibing in alcohol rather heavily in his personal life, but the pills added another layer.
Now sober, Perry’s weight fluctuated visibly on Friends, and it eventually became a major problem, leading to two rehab stints in his 20s.
“It was going on before Friends, but it’s a progressive disease,” said Perry to People. “I was never high at work, but I was painfully hungover.”
“Eventually things got so bad I couldn’t hide it and everybody knew,” he admitted. “I was a hopelessly narcissistic guy, and I only thought about myself, and then that just shifted, and when that happened, I got some true happiness and comfort in my life.”
Perry is now an advocate for non-violent drug offenders to be rehabilitated through treatment instead of going to jail.
NBC is broadcasting a two-hour special featuring the cast reunions of some of its biggest shows (including Friends) in honour of veteran sitcom director James Burrows. Burrows recently helmed his 1000th episode, and NBC is seeking to pay tribute to his work over the years.
Aside from Friends actors, TV Line is reporting that casts from Taxi, Cheers, Frasier and Will & Grace will also attend. The stars of current Burrows programs, including The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly, will also appear.
The special will air on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. ET.