Matthew Perry shared on Monday how he tried desperately to keep his drug and alcohol addiction a secret from his Friends colleagues for years, but now hopes they will all read his new memoir about it.
Perry, 53, has often talked about his addiction in recent weeks in an effort to promote his new memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.
Monday morning he appeared live on Good Morning America to talk about his crippling alcoholism and drug addiction.
At its worst, his addiction caused him to drink a quarter bottle of vodka a day and take 55 Vicodin, methadone, and Xanax. He talked extensively about the addiction in an hour-long interview with Diane Sawyer that aired Friday.
The book won’t be out until tomorrow, but Perry says he’s already received messages of support from “some” of his Friends colleagues.
“I’ve already received very nice text messages from a few and the book isn’t even out yet,” he said Monday morning.
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Matthew Perry shared on Monday how he desperately tried to keep his drug and alcohol addiction a secret from his Friends colleagues for years, but now hopes they will all read his new memoir about it.
Perry with Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Anniston, David Schwimmer and Matt Le Blanc in 2004, before filming the final episode of Friends. He said he had tried to keep it a secret from them for years, but was discovered
He added that while writing the book was easy, reading it back became a painful process for him.
“It was a satisfying experience to write the book, it just flowed out of me. It was easy for me to write it, but then I had to read it for the audible part of it and that was really hard.
“Reading and it kind of degenerates… thinking, ‘God, what a horrible, hard life this man has had and I realize I’m talking about myself.
“I felt very sorry for that person because I know what’s going on in his head and it had to be kept secret. I was on a show that had a lot of people watching and I was trying not to let a lot of people know that,” he said.
He added that he had tried not to go after anyone in the book, despite previously sharing secret details of romances with Julia Roberts and Valerie Bertinelli.
“It’s very important to me that I didn’t go after anyone and not gossip,” he said.
He added that for years he did not know that he was an alcoholic.
“A lot of people have alcoholism and don’t know they have it. They wonder why they drink so much. I did not know. I had to keep it a secret because I didn’t understand what was going on.
Perry said he pulled out of a romance with Julia Roberts because it was “too much” for him to date one of the biggest stars in the world. He also claims to have “kissed” in the book with Valerie Bertinelli (together in 1990) when her husband Eddie Van Halen passed out
Perry, left, in 1987 and right, at the height of his Friends fame. He previously told Diane Sawyer how viewers could “track” his addiction with his weight: “If I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol. If I’m skinny, it’s pills.’
“Certain lines in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous made me aware.
“I thought I was alone in this and then I read a passage that said drinkers think they are trying to escape, but in reality they are trying to overcome a disease they don’t know they have. I went, “oh there are 30 million people who think like me.”
Perry is now a sponsor of other alcoholics, something he said he was happy about.
Perry’s memoirs go on sale tomorrow
“If you’ve been through something close to what I’ve been through, I can help you. It brings light to people’s eyes when they get it.’
He previously told Sawyer how he battled the lowest points in his addiction when he was at the peak of his career.
“I should have been the toast of the town, but I was in a dark room with nothing but drug dealers and all alone,” he told Diane Sawyer in an hour-long interview that aired Friday.
It started when he was 14, when he said he drank a whole bottle of wine. By age 18, he was drinking every day, he said.
“I lay in the grass and I was in heaven,” said Perry, who is promoting his new memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, which chronicles his struggle with addiction. “I thought to myself, ‘This is what normal people should always feel.'”
In the book, he reveals how Jennifer Anniston was one of the most supportive of his Friends co-stars, telling Sawyer, “She was the one who reached out the most. You know, I’m really grateful to her for that.’
He also reveals in the book that he broke up with Julia Roberts because dating one of the world’s biggest stars “was way too much for him.”
He pretended to ask Jennifer Anniston on a date before they starred in Friends (she said no) and also claimed to have kissed Valerie Bertinelli while her husband passed out.
She has not responded to the accusation.
Perry says he’s been in rehab 15 times and estimates that he spent $9 million to be clean and sober all his life. Now he says he craves a wife and kids.
In his interview with Sawyer, he said Friends viewers could “track” which drug he was taking or drinking by monitoring his weight.
“If I carry weight, it’s alcohol. If I’m skinny, it’s pills.’
He estimates he attended some 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and detoxed 54 times, many during his run on Friends.
He appeared on the show for its 10-year run, but made a rule never to drink or do drugs on set.
“I made a rule that I would never drink or take anything at work,” Matthew said.
“So I would never do that, but I would show up blindly with a hangover. Like shaking. I loved Chandler, I loved the show. And I knew, “Remember this, because it’s going to be the best time of your life.”
“And I knew I’d never forgive myself if I messed this up,” he said.