In a People Magazine interview published on Wednesday, October 19, American actor Matthew Perry discussed his problems with alcohol and painkiller addiction throughout his career. The 53-year-old actor confessed that he almost died a few years ago from a gastrointestinal perforation caused by drug misuse. He went on to say that physicians informed his family he had a “2% chance of survival.”
“I was placed on an ECMO machine, which handles all of the breathing for your heart and lungs. This is known as a Hail Mary. Nobody lives through it.”
Matthew Perry was unconscious for two weeks, was hospitalized for five months when his colon ruptured, and had to wear a colostomy bag for nine months. In addition, the actor had 14 stomach surgery.
During the filming of Friends, Matthew Perry’s weight decreased dramatically.
Matthew Perry said that during filming Friends, he was taking 55 Vicodin tablets per day, which dropped his weight to 128 pounds.
“I had no idea how to quit. If the cops showed up at my door and said, ‘If you drink tonight, we’ll take you to prison,’ I’d start packing. I couldn’t give up since the sickness and addiction are both progressing. As a result, it just becomes worse as you get older.”
At the age of 24, Matthew Perry was cast as Chandler Bing in Friends, and his alcoholism became apparent.
“I could kind of manage it. But by the age of 34, I’d gotten myself into a lot of trouble. But there were years when I was clean and sober. Season 9 was the first year I was completely sober. And do you know which season I was nominated for best actor? ‘That should tell me something,’ I thought.”
Matthew Perry is now committed to assisting others to overcome addiction after conquering his own challenges and being clean. When asked about his sobriety, he says that nothing has changed except “your sober date.”
“You remember all you knew before, and you learn a lot because you were able to battle your way back without dying.”
According to Us Magazine, Perry’s Vicodin addiction started in 1997, after a jet ski accident that also led to his alcohol addiction. He went to treatment the following year but only kept clean for a short time. He was hospitalized for two weeks in 2000 for alcohol-related pancreatitis and was detoxifying by the end of the year. However, when filming Serving Sara the next year, he entered into rehab. Matthew Perry revealed in 2011 that he would be taking a hiatus to work on his sobriety. Perry was in a coma for two weeks when his intestines ruptured seven years later. In 2021, he returned to film the Friends Reunion, where the special film’s director, Ben Winston, said it was a pleasure to work with him.