Matthew Perry Said He Attended 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings


  • Matthew Perry opened up about his journey with substance abuse in a new interview with Diane Sawyer.
  • He told Sawyer Friday that he spent half his life in treatment or sober living homes.
  • The actor said he “didn’t understand what was going on” when he was addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Matthew Perry opened up about overcoming his addiction to drugs and alcohol — a journey that included thousands of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and more than a dozen surgeries — in a new interview Friday.

The “Friends” star spoke with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer about his upcoming memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” which is set for release on November 1.

Sawyer detailed the actor’s recovery, noting that Perry has been to 6,000 AA meetings, went to rehab at least 15 times, detoxed 65 times, and spent half of his life in treatment or sober living homes. The actor also went to therapy for 30 years and underwent 14 surgeries.

Perry said he included the stunning details in his book to help others who may be facing similar circumstances.

“For some reason — it’s obviously because I was on ‘Friends’ — more people will listen to me,” he told Sawyer. “So I’ve got to take advantage of that. I’ve got to help as many people as I can.”

friends courteney cox and matthew perry monica and chandler

Courteney Cox as Monica Geller and Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing on the set of “Friends.”

NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

While he was working on the hit NBC sitcom in 2001, Perry was also filming the romantic comedy “Serving Sara” with Elizabeth Hurley. The actor told Sawyer that he consumed Xanax, methadone, and a quart of vodka each day, and revealed that he had to dub over his original dialogue in the movie because his speech was slurred.

“It was shot in Dallas and I was doing friends at the same time, so it doubled my workload. And I was flying on a private jet drinking vodka out of a water bottle,” he said.

Perry also became emotional while watching a clip of himself on “Friends” during the interview. He said he could see his addiction reflected in his weight fluctuation throughout the show. 

“I weighed 155 pounds, on my way to 128 pounds. I feel too sorry for that guy, he’s going through too much, and it’s me. And I remember that, and I didn’t understand what was going on,” he said. “But again, I’m sorry, and I’m so grateful to not be that anymore.”

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