Matthew Perry found unwavering support in his close friend, Jennifer Aniston

jennifer aniston

In the late actor's candid interview last year, he expressed deep gratitude for his Friends co-star, who remained a steadfast presence throughout his tumultuous battle with addiction and recovery.

"It was her constant outreach that meant the most to me. I am truly thankful to her for that," Perry shared during his conversation with Diane Sawyer in October 2022.

Perry also disclosed that it was Aniston who initially addressed his addiction issues during the filming of their popular sitcom, recognizing the need to confront the problem head-on alongside their fellow cast members.

"Jennifer, she says, 'We know you're drinking,'" Sawyer prompted him in the interview.

"Yeah, imagine how scary a moment that was," Perry responded.

"I should have been the toast of the town, but I was in a dark room meeting with nothing but drug dealers and completely alone," he later added of being gripped by his addiction amid the height of his TV career.

In a 2022 interview with PEOPLE, Perry recounted a dark time during his Friends reigned when he was taking as many as 55 Vicodin pills a day, and his weight had dwindled to just 128 pounds.

"I didn't know how to stop," he explained. "If the police came over to my house and said, 'If you drink tonight, we're going to take you to jail,' I'd start packing. I couldn't stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older."

While Perry said he tried to hide the signs of his spiralling addiction from Aniston and his other costars, they all knew he was struggling — and they tried their best to support him.

"[They] were understanding, and they were patient," he recalled. "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 told PEOPLE he thought he could lean on his trademark humour — and his coveted gig on the show — to keep him going.

He decided to share his deeply personal story in his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing to be the kind of lifeline for others that Aniston was to him.

"I think they'll be surprised at how bad it got at certain times and how close to dying I came," he said of the rawness of the experiences he wrote about.

"I say in the book that if I did die, it would shock people, but it wouldn't surprise anybody. And that's a very scary thing to be living with," he continued. "So my hope is that people will relate to it, and know that this disease attacks everybody. It doesn't matter if you're successful or not successful, the disease doesn't care."

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