Matthew Perry was on one of the biggest shows on television, but in his upcoming memoir, he reveals the addiction issues he was dealing with behind the scenes. The Friends actor, who played Chandler Bing on the NBC sitcom, told People that he waited to write Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir “until I was pretty safely sober — and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction — to write it all down. And the main thing was, I was pretty certain that it would help people.”
In the book, Perry writes, “If you gauge my weight from season to season — when I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol; when I am skinny, it’s pills. When I have a goatee, it’s lots of pills.” Things got so bad for Perry, 53, that he nearly died four years ago.
Publicly acknowledging at the time that he suffered from a gastrointestinal perforation, the actor had actually spent weeks fighting for his life after his colon burst from opioid overuse. He spent two weeks in a coma and five months in the hospital and had to use a colostomy bag for nine months.
Doctors told Perry’s family that he had “a two percent chance to live,” he recalled. “I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives that.” But Perry, who has been to rehab 15 times, did survive and he’s “pretty healthy now.” He then joked, “I’ve got to not go to the gym much more, because I don’t want to only be able to play superheroes.”
Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir comes out on November 1.