George Clooney Reflects on Matthew Perry: Even the Stardom of ‘Friends’ Didn’t Bring Him Happiness

The world is still reeling from the sudden death of Matthew Perry. Once the handsome, charming star of televisions most popular sitcom, Friends, Perry was found unresponsive in his Hollywood home pool in October. Mourners hoped for a sense of closure from his autopsy report, but instead, the findings pulled back the curtain on a lifetime struggle with substances.

Interviews from his friends and co-stars paint a picture of a man who was deeply unhappy. George Clooney, who once played paddle tennis with Perry in their youth, confesses that Friends stardom didn’t bring Perry the joy he had hoped. While he longed to be on a successful TV show, the stresses of his new life paired with pre-existing addictions led Perry to live a life of turmoil and sadness.

Though Perry’s death was an enormous shock to the public, it was no secret that he was battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Clooney reveals that Perry began taking Vicodin heavily and regularly, rocketing to an alarming 12 tablets a day. And all that heartbreaking stuff, whatever it may be, was masked by Perry with a brave face and an award-winning smile. His close circle had little insight into the severity of his struggles.

When he joined the Friends cast, Perry was a fresh-faced, hopeful actor thrilled at the prospect of becoming a lead character on a sitcom. And indeed, he accomplished his dreams, stepping into the role of Chandler Bing, one of the most memorable TV characters of all time. Yet, stardom couldn’t ease his pain. Perry was haunted by his inner thoughts, far removed from the glitz and glamour he showcased on television.

Tragically, Perry and the late 90s heartthrob Clooney, who starred in ER, synthesized parallel lives. Both chased their dreams, but Perry was squelched by his inner monsters. Clooney is shaken by his friend’s untimely death and reflects on the unspoken agony and heartache Perry endured during their time together.

The wealth and success Friends generated were not enough to give Perry the happiness he craved, nor soothe his inner torments. Fame and fortune are never enough to salve someone’s wounded soul. You have to be happy with yourself and your life, Clooney correctly notes. To his friends, his struggles were a non sequitur- they hadn’t seen the depth of his sorrow.

At 54, Perry was riddled with drugs. Ketamine, usually a therapeutic treatment, had taken on a sinister role and was being abused by him. Despite buprenorphine’s role is aiding opioid dependency, Perry was unable to control his usage and wound up overindulging.

The entertainment industry is in mourning following Perry’s death, feeling an immense sense of loss for his tragically shortened life. The world has lost an incredible actor, whose untimely death leaves massive unanswered questions for his legions of fans.

Though his death may have been a wake-up call for others struggling with mental health issues and addiction, it has also cast a shadow on his achievements in his lifetime. Perry has been reduced to a dichotomous symbol: the evolution of his stardom and the great personal anguish he quietly nurtured.


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