During a December 2022 appearance on “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” Matthew Perry recounted, in his own sardonic way, how a request he sent into the universe weeks before he was cast in “Friends” turned into its own complex cautionary tale. “God, you can do anything you want to me, just please make me famous,” Perry recalled, but it came with a caveat. “God didn’t forget the other part,” he said, referring to decades-long addiction issues which began during his adolescence.
It would take time for Perry to discover that fame was far from a cure-all. He was hospitalized repeatedly, and his substance use led to a near-death experience by way of a ruptured colon in 2018, as The Los Angeles Times noted. But something did eventually click: “That’s how I realized that the outside stuff doesn’t really matter, and being famous doesn’t really matter, and [it] isn’t going to change your life.”
Instead, as Perry described it, his fame acted as a conduit to his fans and enabled him to use his status to help others. One of his more recent efforts included raising money for COVID-19 relief with Chandler-inspired apparel in 2020, per Entertainment Weekly.
Though it will likely be weeks before there’s an official ruling for his cause of death, perhaps the final words about Matthew Perry shouldn’t come from the clinical gaze of a coroner’s report. Maybe this time we should let him have his own, thanks to his memoir: “The path of least resistance is boring, and scars are interesting — they tell an honest story, and they are proof that a battle was fought, and in my case, hard-won.”
If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).