Matthew Perry Candidly Opened Up About Feeling Emotionally Numb And “Dead Inside” While Shooting The “Friends” Finale And It’s Heartbreaking
“I couldn’t tell if that was because of the opioid buprenorphine I was taking, or if I was just generally dead inside... Jennifer Aniston was sobbing... Even Matt LeBlanc was crying. But I felt nothing.”
Matthew Perry has opened up about his troubling experience shooting the final episode of Friends in his recently released memoir, titled Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.
Matthew’s book, which hit shelves on Nov. 1, candidly details how his addiction to drugs and alcohol largely impacted his years spent on popular NBC sitcom Friends.
Matthew portrayed Chandler Bing on the hit show, which aired from 1994 to 2004. He starred alongside David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow, who played Ross, Joey, Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe, respectively.
And while Chandler became renowned for his witty and sarcastic persona, Matthew’s reality on set was a lot less lighthearted. The actor revealed that his addiction — which led to serious medical complications — surfaced around the time he was cast in the show when he was 24.
Reflecting on his experience shooting the final installment — which was as emotional for fans as it was for the cast and crew — Matthew details how his addiction impacted the way in which he processed the momentous date.
The episode sees the beloved group of friends parting ways once and for all, with Monica and Chandler moving out of the iconic Manhattan apartment and into the suburbs.
“It was January 23, 2004,” he recalls. “The keys on the counter, a guy who looked a lot like Chandler Bing said, ‘Where?’”
“‘Embryonic Journey’ by Jefferson Airplane played, the camera panned to the back of the apartment door, then Ben, our first AD, and very close friend, shouted for the last time, ‘That’s a wrap,’ and tears sprang from almost everyone’s eyes like so many geysers,” he writes.
But, in stark contrast to his castmates, Matthew was left feeling “nothing.”
“We had made 237 episodes, including this last one, called, appropriately enough, ‘The Last One.’ Jennifer Aniston was sobbing — after a while, I was amazed she had any water left in her entire body. Even Matt LeBlanc was crying,” he writes. “But I felt nothing.”
“I couldn’t tell if that was because of the opioid buprenorphine I was taking, or if I was just generally dead inside,” he continues.
Then, Matthew recalls choosing to go on a “slow walk” with his girlfriend at the time “instead of sobbing” with the rest of the cast and crew.
“So, instead of sobbing, I took a slow walk around the stage with my then-girlfriend — also appropriately called Rachel — stage 24 at Warner Bros. in Burbank (a stage that after the show ended would be renamed ‘The Friends Stage,’” he writes.
“We said our various goodbyes, agreeing to see each other soon in the way that people do when they know it’s not true, and then we headed out to my car,” he adds.
Elsewhere in his memoir, Matthew recalls being taken to a treatment facility after shooting one of the show’s most popular episodes — Chandler and Monica’s wedding — as a result of his alcohol and substance addiction.
The sweet double-bill special aired at the end of Season 7 and had fans across the globe overjoyed. However, as Matthew details in his book, he was hastily driven to a treatment center as soon as filming wrapped.
“I married Monica and got driven back to the treatment center — at the height of my highest point in Friends, the highest point in my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show — in a pickup truck helmed by a sober technician,” he writes.
What’s more, in a recent interview with the New York Times, Matthew revealed that after going to rehab 15 times over the years in a bid to get sober, he has spent an estimated $9 million on the journey.
“I’ve probably spent $9 million or something trying to get sober,” he said.