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George Clooney Says Landing Friends Role Didn’t Bring Matthew Perry ‘Joy or Happiness or Peace’


  • George Clooney reveals Matthew Perry’s struggle with happiness despite sitcom success. Substance abuse issues were hard to see.
  • Perry’s addiction struggles detailed in memoir, but his Friends castmates provided support and understanding.
  • Matthew Perry’s death ruled an accident caused by ketamine effects. A heartbreaking loss for his friends and fans.

George Clooney has shared a heartbreaking anecdote about his late friend Matthew Perry. In a recent conversation with Deadline about his new film The Boys in the Boat, Clooney opened up about his friendship with Perry, revealing that, despite being a rising young star in one of television’s most popular sitcoms, Perry wasn’t happy. Clooney met Perry when he was a teenager, and years later, the two would star in two NBS series that aired on the same night – Perry was cast as Chandler Bing on Friends, while Clooney starred in the first season of ER.

“I knew Matt when he was 16 years old. We used to play paddle tennis together. He’s about 10 years younger than me. And he was a great, funny, funny, funny kid. 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. And he got on probably one of the best ever. He wasn’t happy. It didn’t bring him joy or happiness or peace.”

Clooney adds that seeing Perry struggle with substance abuse issues was difficult to see:

“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. 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.”

Related: Lisa Kudrow Thanks Late ‘Friends’ Co-Star Matthew Perry for His Humor, Open Heart and Trust

Matthew Perry Said Friends Cast Supported Him Through Struggles


Perry’s breakout, and most recognizable role, was that of the sarcastic Chandler Bing on Friends. He famously portrayed the character for ten seasons, beginning in 1994 and earning an Emmy nod during the show’s ninth season. The show wrapped in 2004, but in 2021, Perry reunited with co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer for Max’s Friends: The Reunion.

Perry detailed his substance abuse struggles in the 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. While promoting the book, Perry spoke with PEOPLE about his addiction issues while starring in Friends. He said that when the show premiered (he was 24) he could “handle it, kind of,” but things worsened.

“But by the time I was 34, I was really entrenched in a lot of trouble. But there were years that I was sober during that time. Season 9 was the year that I was sober the whole way through. And guess which season I got nominated for best actor? I was like, ‘That should tell me something.'”

Perry also spoke fondly of his castmates’ support, calling them patient and understanding:

“It’s like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick, or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up. They walk around it until that penguin can walk on its own. That’s kind of what the cast did for me.”

Perry was found unresponsive in his hot tub on October 28; earlier this month, his death was ruled an accident caused by the acute effects of ketamine.



Release Date
September 22, 1994



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