Matthew Perry, who struggled with several addictions while filming Friends, can no longer see himself on the show.
Among the few people on Earth who haven't watched Friends since it went off the air in 2004 is one of the friends himself. Matthew Perry, who opened up about his drug and alcohol addiction in his recently published memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, says he "can't look at the show in retrospect" because all he sees are the physical signs of his illness.
"I was on 55 Vicodin a day, I weighed 60 kilos, I was watched by 30 million people on Friends – and that's why I can't watch the show, because I was brutally thin," Perry said in a recent interview with CBC. "I didn't watch the show, and I never watched it, because I could say, 'Alcohol, opiates, alcohol, cocaine,' and I could tell from season to season what I looked like. That's why I don't want to watch it, because that's what I see."
"Chandler never changed, the writing never changed"
Matthew Perry maintained that although he was "never drunk while working", he would go to the set "extremely hungover" to the point of shaking. "But Chandler has never changed, the writing has never changed," he continued. "It was my ability to continue in this addiction that I didn't understand."
The actor, who said he's been in and out of rehab 15 times over the years, even saw the filming of his 2002 movie In the Service of Sara, starring Elizabeth Hurley, temporarily halted so he could undergo treatment. In his memoirs, Matthew Perry also wrote that viewers can tell which phase of addiction he is in by his physical appearance: "When I'm fat, it's the booze," he said, "When I'm skinny, it's the pills."
Driven to treatment for Chandler and Monica's wedding
In a recent interview with Diane Sawyer, Perry was shown clips from his NBC sitcom. In one of them, he appears visibly thin. "It's very hard to watch," Perry said in front of the stage. "Because in a strange way, I feel sorry for the guy." He was also shown the episode of Chandler and Monica's (Courteney Cox) wedding in season seven, an episode for which Perry said he was driven from a treatment centre. "I can watch that scene over and over again. I looked good. Sober."
In his interview with CBC, Matthew Perry was very emotional, vowing to watch Friends one more time. "It's not fair that I had to go through this illness when the other five didn't," he said. They got everything I got, but I had to fight this thing – and I still have to fight this thing. I think I'm going to start watching it, because it's really been an amazing thing to see it touch the hearts of different generations."
Written by Michael Zippo
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