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George Clooney Shares Heartbreaking Story About Late ‘Friends’ Star Matthew Perry

Key Points:

  • George Clooney reflects on Matthew Perry’s unhappiness despite his success on Friends.
  • Clooney recalls their early friendship and Perry’s battle with addiction.
  • Perry’s career highlights and his struggle with addiction are remembered.

George Clooney recently opened up about the tragic death of his friend, Matthew Perry. Despite achieving his dream role on the iconic sitcom Friends, Perry struggled with personal happiness and addiction. Clooney, who starred in ER and guest-starred on Friends, shared touching memories and reflections on Perry’s life and career during his promotion for his new movie, The Boys in the Boat.

How Did George Clooney and Matthew Perry’s Friendship Begin?

Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing - Friends
Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing – Friends

George Clooney revealed that he had known Matthew Perry since Perry was 16 years old. They often played paddle tennis together, and Perry, about 10 years younger than Clooney, expressed his desire to land a regular sitcom role. Clooney fondly remembered Perry’s humor and determination, noting that his dream came true when he was cast as Chandler Bing on Friends. However, Clooney observed that despite Perry’s professional success, it did not bring him the happiness he had hoped for. While talking to Deadline, Clooney said:

“I knew Matt when he was 16 years old.” He continued, “We used to play paddle tennis together. He’s about 10 years younger than me. And he was a great, funny, funny, funny kid. He was a kid and all he would say to us, I mean me, Richard Kind and Grant Heslov, was, ‘I just want to get on a sitcom, man. I just want to get on a regular sitcom and I would be the happiest man on earth.’ And he got on probably one of the best ever.”

Clooney reflected on their time working on NBC shows that premiered the same year, ER and Friends. Both shows aired on the same night, creating a shared experience for the actors. Clooney guest-starred in a Friends episode, “The One with Two Parts: Part 2,” and maintained a close relationship with the cast, particularly Perry. He recounted the difficulty of witnessing Perry’s struggles with addiction, which were not fully apparent to those around him at the time. Clooney expressed sadness over Perry’s hidden battle with substance abuse, which included consuming large amounts of Vicodin.

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What Was Matthew Perry’s Career and Struggles?

Chandler Bing - Friends
Chandler Bing – Friends

Matthew Perry’s breakout role as Chandler Bing in Friends made him a household name and brought him immense success. He played Chandler for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004, earning a Primetime Emmy nomination. Perry later reunited with his co-stars for Friends: The Reunion in 2021, where they reminisced about their time on the show. Despite his success, Perry’s life was marked by personal challenges, particularly his battle with addiction.

Beyond Friends, Perry appeared in several other TV shows, including Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine, The Good Wife, Go On, The Good Fight, and The Odd Couple. He received praise and Emmy nominations for his performances in The West Wing and The Ron Clark Story. Perry also enjoyed success in films such as Fools Rush In, The Whole Nine Yards, and 17 Again.

READ MORE: Kaley Cuoco’s Harley Quinn Nearly Had a Completely Different Accent

In his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, published last year, Perry candidly discussed his struggles with addiction and his efforts to help others achieve sobriety.  Matthew Perry passed away on October 28, 2023, at the age of 54. A toxicology report revealed high levels of ketamine in his blood at the time of his death, underscoring the ongoing struggle he faced with substance abuse.

Friends and Friends: The Reunion is available for streaming on Max.

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