Warning: This article discusses alcohol and drug addiction.
Prior to his death, Matthew had been very open about his struggles with substance and alcohol addiction, which surfaced around the time he was cast in Friends at age 24. He opened up in detail in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, and throughout several televised appearances around this time.
During one harrowing interview, Matthew revealed that his addiction left him unable to watch Friends later in life — because he could identify the exact substances he’d taken from season to season.
“I didn’t watch the show, and haven’t watched the show, because I could go, 'Drinking, opiates, drinking, cocaine.' I could tell season by season by how I looked. That’s why I don’t wanna watch it, because that’s what I see,” said Matthew, who ended up spending an estimated $9 million in his journey to sobriety.
By the time Matthew’s memoir was released, he’d been sober for 18 months. And over the years, he not only used his celebrity to raise awareness about addiction by openly discussing it, in a bid to eradicate the stigma, but he also dedicated his time and money to setting up resources for those struggling.
Now his former costar Jennifer is honoring Matthew’s memory by encouraging her fans to donate to a nonprofit organization in his name.
Jennifer — who shared a touching tribute to her “little brother” Matthew after the news of his death broke — posted an Instagram story this week asking her followers to donate to the Matthew Perry Foundation, which is a charity “guided by” Matthew’s “own words” and “driven by his passion” to help people struggling with addiction.
She wrote, “For #GivingTuesday please join me and Matty’s family in supporting his foundation – which is working to help those suffering with addiction.”
“He would have been grateful for the love,” she added while sharing a link to the foundation’s website.
“She was the one that reached out the most. You know, I'm really grateful to her for that,” he told Diane Sawyer.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and find more resources here.