George Clooney has claimed Friends did not bring his longtime friend Matthew Perry “joy or happiness or peace”.
Perry, who rose to fame with his role as Chandler Bing on the popular NBC sitcom, was found dead in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home on 28 October. He was 54.
Speaking to Deadline in a new interview, Clooney, 62, remembered the late actor as “a great, funny, funny, funny kid”.
“I knew Matt when he was 16 years old. We used to play paddle tennis together. He’s about 10 years younger than me,” the Oceans Eleven star said.
“He was a kid and all he would say to us, I mean me, Richard Kind and Grant Heslov, was, I just want to get on a sitcom, man. I just want to get on a regular sitcom and I would be the happiest man on earth,” Clooney continued.
“And he got on probably one of the best ever. He wasn’t happy. It didn’t bring him joy or happiness or peace. And watching that go on on the lot – we were at Warner Brothers, we were there right next to each other – it was hard to watch because we didn’t know what was going through him.”
He added: “We just knew that he wasn’t happy and I had no idea he was doing what, 12 Vicodin a day and all the stuff he talked about, all that heartbreaking stuff. And it also just tells you that success and money and all those things, it doesn’t just automatically bring you happiness. You have to be happy with yourself and your life.”
When Perry joined Friends, Clooney had also landed his starring role on NBC’s long-running hospital drama, ER. In a mini ode to his character Doug, he and ER co-star Noah Whyole made guest appearances on Friends as a pair of doctors who double-date Monica (Courteney Cox) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on season one’s episode 17 “The One with Two Parts: Part 2”.
Perry, whose death shocked the world, had been vocal about his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction, writing candidly about his journey towards sobriety in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.
Nearly two months after his passing, Perry’s death was revealed to have been caused by the “acute effects of ketamine”. He had been on ketamine infusion therapy, the final toxicology report stated.
The autopsy also listed drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine effects as contributing factors related to his cause of death. His death was ruled an accident.
Originally, Perry’s cause of death had been deferred after an initial postmortem showed no signs of meth or fentanyl in his system.