Entertainment

Morgan Fairchild Commends ‘Terribly Brave’ Matthew Perry for Sharing Addiction Struggles as Friends Star Passes Away at 54

Morgan Fairchild, who played Matthew Perry‘s on-screen mom in the hit sitcom Friends, has praised the late actor for going public with his addiction battle as she paid a heartfelt tribute following his shock death, aged 54.

Perry was found unresponsive in a hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home on Saturday.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that his cause of death has been ‘deferred’ with the investigation considered ‘ongoing’ by authorities.

While the world has been remembering the Hollywood star, who played Chandler Bing in the comedy, Morgan appeared on CNN on Monday morning where she described her former co-star as ‘terribly brave’ for speaking publicly about his alcoholism and substance abuse in his memoir. 

‘I think one of the bravest things that he did in his career and his life was to go public, to write this book, to reach out to other people, to try to be of help to other people,’ Morgan, 73, told the program.

Friends star Matthew Perry died on Saturday, aged 54. He had been found unresponsive in a hot tub

Morgan Fairchild, who played Matthew Perry ‘s on-screen mom in the hit sitcom, praised the late actor for going public with his addiction battle

‘And that was one of the most endearing things about him, as they said in the intro, not only was he always the funniest guy in the room and the quickest wit and the most happy and up seemingly – but also one of the kindest.

‘Having had friends and family with addiction problems in my life, people that I cared about, I know how hard that is for the addict and also for the people who love them.’

Reinforcing her sentiment, Morgan continued: ‘I thought it was terribly brave of him to want that to be part of his legacy as a human being.’

Perry was a smoker and had also battled alcoholism as well as an opioid addiction, but claimed to have been clean shortly before he is believed to have drowned.

He spoken candidly about his problems, having first gone to rehab in 1997 for an addiction to pain medication following a jet skiing accident.

He then returned in 2001 and 2011. He told an interviewer in 2016 that he doesn’t remember filming three seasons of Friends.

Despite hiding his demons from public view for years, Perry detailed his struggles in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing.

In the opening, he wrote: ‘Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.’

Morgan branded the late Chandler Bing star ‘terribly brave’ for being so open about his battles with addiction

Speaking on CNN, she said Perry was ‘always the funniest guy in the room’ and ‘also one of the kindest’

Perry was famed for his role as Chandler Bing in Friends, which ran from 1994 to 2004

He added: ‘People would be surprised to know that I have mostly been sober since 2001. Save for about sixty or seventy little mishaps over the years.’

Morgan appeared as Perry’s on-screen mom in Friends for five episodes between 1995 and 2001.

Casting her mind to her first interactions with Perry, she recalled: ‘I just remember Matthew from the first day on the set.

‘The show was not a huge hit yet when I started working on it and he came bounding over to me and literally bounding like a big puppy and said, “Oh, you won’t remember me, but I used to visit you on the set of Flamingo Road and Falcon Crest with my dad”.’

Perry starred alongside Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow

Perry detailed his addiction struggles in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers And The Big Terrible Thing

She added: ‘There was that friendly and wonderful puppy dog kind of feel about Matthew. He was such a warm and wonderful and funny and creative young man.’

Turning her attention to Perry’s comedic timing, she said: ‘I’ve gotten to work with a few wonderful comics, Robin Williams being one of them, and he [Perry] had that magnificent quality of just being so quick, so smart, to quick, and that quick turn.

‘He could just pop up with something that you were not expecting out of the blue and made it work, especially when we were working together with this sort of weird mother/son relationship that Chandler and Nora had where he was always so embarrassed by her and part of his neurosis trying to deal with his parents, which I think a lot of kids could identify with.

‘He was just always so quick, just so quick. And in real life, too, very funny, very witty and it affected his acting, his acting showed that, that quick turn that caught you off guard, that made you laugh, because he was just a very endearing, fun, wonderful, wonderful guy.’

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