“I didn’t understand the level of anxiety and self-torture [that] was put on Matthew Perry, if he didn’t get that laugh, and the devastation that he felt,” the Morning Show star, 52, said during the Thursday, June 24, episode of the Today show. “[But it] makes a lot of sense.”
During Friends: The Reunion, the Fools Rush In star, 51, said that he used to “go into convulsions” if the studio audience didn’t laugh at his jokes as Chandler while the show taped. “To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh,” he said in the HBO Max special, which debuted in May. “And it’s not healthy, for sure.”
His castmates replied that they didn’t know how much pressure he felt to deliver. “You didn’t tell us that then,” Lisa Kudrow told him.
The Go On alum famously struggled with addiction during his time on the show, which aired from 1994 to 2004. He became addicted to Vicodin in 1997 after an injury and checked into rehab later that year. In 2000, he was hospitalized for pancreatitis resulting from his alcohol abuse, and the following year, he went back to rehab.
“I didn’t get sober because I felt like it,” he told The New York Times in 2002. “I got sober because I was worried I was going to die the next day.”
He returned to rehab a third time in 2011, and two years later, he turned his Malibu home into a men’s sober living facility called Perry House.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life and a lot of wonderful accolades,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. “The best thing about me is that if an alcoholic comes up to me and says, ‘Will you help me stop drinking?’ I will say, ‘Yes. I know how to do that.’”
“He was great,” the producer, 39, said during a May episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s “TV Top 5” podcast. “People can sometimes just be unkind. I wish they weren’t. I loved working with him. He’s a brilliantly funny man and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show. I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this.”
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