Matthew Perry is opening up about his struggle with addiction while playing sarcastic goofball Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom “Friends” and how he’s now working to assist men with similar battles.
Now that he’s sober, the actor has focused his energy on helping people who can commiserate. He teamed up with addiction specialist Earl Hightower to open Perry House, a revamped version of his former Malibu mansion that now serves as a sober living home for one-time addicts to transition from rehab back to real life.
The White House honored Perry and Hightower’s efforts by giving them the Champion of Recovery award in early May from the Obama administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
It was “a very surreal thing,” Perry said, jokingly adding, “We’re award-winning alcoholics.”
The actor, whose latest TV run on “Go On” was canceled by NBC, sat down for an interview with ABC News, where he discussed his very public battle with alcohol and drugs.
“Mostly it was drinking, you know, and opiates,” the 43-year-old told ABC News’ Cecilia Vega. “I think I was pretty good at hiding it but, you know, eventually people were aware.”
However, his yo-yoing weight on the show, which ended its 10-season run in 2004, began to signal his stints in and out of rehab.
“I honestly recoil,” the actor said when he looks at photos of himself from the time. “It’s scary to look at that. I was a sick guy.”
Notably, production was shut down for three months on his 2002 comedy “Serving Sara” because of one of a handful of stints in rehab. The mega-star’s struggles naturally played out in the media, which he now says helped him overcome his demons.
“I couldn’t just walk into a bar,” he said. “Everybody in the bar would go, ‘You, you can’t do that. I just read that you can’t do that. You can’t. You can’t.’”
As for the question that’s become older than the mysterious brown jar in Joey Tribbiani’s broken fridge: Will there be a “Friends” reunion movie?
Nah, Perry said. Echoing the sentiments of the show’s co-creator Marta Kauffman, who shut down rumors in April.
“I don’t think so,” he added. “It would be terrible to do something and have it not be good. If we did a movie and it sucked, then it would, you know, blemish it.”
In the wise words of Chandler Bing, “You know, you have to stop pushing the Q-Tip when there’s resistance.”
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