Image Source: Getty / David M. Benett
Matthew Perry made his legacy clear in a resonant interview a year prior to his passing. Throughout his life in the public eye, the actor, who died on 28 Oct. at age 54, spoke candidly about his experience with addiction and recovery. The subject was also a focus of his memoir released last year, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing." Following his passing, many are recirculating Perry's own quotes on his legacy.
"The best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says, 'I can't stop drinking. Can you help me?' I can say 'yes' and follow up and do it. That's the best thing," he said on "Q With Tom Power" in November 2022. "I've said this for a long time: when I die, I don't want 'Friends' to be the first thing that's mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that's mentioned, and I'm going to live the rest of my life proving that." (The clip begins at 44:17 in the video below.)
Minutes later, Power ended the interview by asking Perry to summarise how he would like to be remembered. "I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker, and his paramount thing is that he wants to help people," he said. "That's what I want."
Perry was among the list of celebrities who've spoken openly about addiction, and that list has grown in recent years as the stigma erodes. In his memoir, Perry said his addiction to drugs and alcohol led to numerous rehab stays and health problems, including 14 stomach surgeries. The actor had been sober for a year when his memoir was released in November 2022, per an interview in The New York Times.
In the interview, which is now resurfacing, Perry spoke poignantly about feeling frustrated by his personal struggle. He also admitted to comparing himself to his "Friends" costars, who did not share the same experience. "The thing that always makes me cry is that it's not fair. It's not. It's not fair that I had to go through this disease while the other five didn't," he said. "They got everything that I got. But I had to fight this thing, and still have to fight this thing."
Perry added, "To end this on a good note, there are people that will help you. Get their help."
If you or someone you know is in need of substance-related treatment or counselling, you can reach Talk to Frank here or call the helpline on 0300 123 6600.