In news that will starkly divide your kid self from your adult self, Matthew Perry has just revealed that he was ‘painfully hungover’ for much of the filming of Friends. I mean I already knew that he was addicted to pain pills for a substantial period, but I guess I just decided that it didn’t affect Friends, because that was a thing that was important to me (as embarrassing as that is), and the Chandler Bing that I knew and loved would never be so cavalier with something like that. Although Matthew says he ‘was never high at work’, he acknowledges that he ‘was painfully, painfully hung over.’
Whomp whomp. It’s weird, because my adult self is like, “Yeah, I mean, that kind of stuff happens, I’m really glad he’s okay now,” but the little kid self who got her first twinges of a sense of humor from that show is like…pissed that Matthew didn’t care enough about the show to show up for it in a good state of mind. At least he never did anything on set, and apparently he was able to keep his addiction and his job separate for a while, but things did ultimately collapse:
“Eventually things got so bad I couldn’t hide it, and then everybody knew. I’ve had a life of extreme highs and extreme lows. I was in the white hot flame of fame. From an outsider’s perspective it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism.”
Matthew did eventually receive treatment for both alcoholism and pain pill addiction, checking into rehab programs in 1997 and then again in 2001 when he was unsuccessful in kicking the habit the first. He doesn’t blame his past, though, which is nice, and he says he’s ‘in a really good place’ now, where he’s able to use his experiences to help other addicts who are interested in moving toward recovery:
“The interesting reason that I can be so helpful now is because I screwed up so often. It’s nice for people to see that somebody who once struggled in their life is not struggling anymore.”
I’m really glad to hear that Matthew is so optimistic about his life and the success of his recovery, but I have to admit that I’ll be watching Friends a little differently if it comes on in the future. It still holds the same sentimental place in my heart, but I’ll definitely be studying Matthew’s face, trying to see if I can tell that he’s hurting.
(Image: Ivan Nikolov / WENN.com)