Friends star Matthew Perry given 'two per cent chance to live' after drug abuse left him in coma

20 October 2022, 10:29 | Updated: 20 October 2022, 10:33

Matthew Perry (l) and with cast of Friends (r)
Matthew Perry (l) and with cast of Friends (r). Picture: Social media/channel 4

By Stephen Rigley

Friends star Matthew Perry has said he was given just a 'two per cent chance to live' after years of drug and alcohol abuse burst his colon and left him in a coma.

The actor, 53, who played Chandler Bing in the US sitcom, opened up about his addictions and his health battle while filming the show in a new autobiography called Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

Matthew Perry's autobiography is out next month
Matthew Perry's autobiography is out next month. Picture: Instagram/@mattyperry4
Matthew Parry (2nd left) with rest of the friends cast
Matthew Parry (2nd left) with rest of the friends cast. Picture: Getty

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In an interview with People magazine, Perry said he waited until now to share the extreme depths of his addiction because he wanted to make sure he is "safe from going into the dark side of everything again".

Perry opens the book by revealing he almost died a few years ago aged 49, after his colon burst from opioid abuse. He spent two weeks in a coma and five months in hospital and had to use a colostomy bag for nine months.

He said: "The doctors told my family that I had a 2% chance to live. I was put on a thing called an Ecmo machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."

Perry said five people were put on Ecmo machines that night and only he survived.

He said his alcohol addiction began to surface when he was first cast on Friends aged 24 and by the end of the 10th series he was "entrenched in a lot of trouble".

At one point during his time on the show, Perry said he was taking 55 Vicodin painkillers a day and was down to just over nine stone in weight.

He said there were years when he was sober while filming and that his fellow cast members had been "understanding" and "patient" when he was going through difficult times.

"It's like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up,

Speaking about his addictions, Perry said: "I didn't know how to stop. If the police came over to my house and said, 'If you drink tonight, we're going to take you to jail', I'd start packing.

"I couldn't stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive, so it gets worse and worse as you grow older.

"After 15 times in rehab and therapy sessions, Perry says he is now "pretty healthy" and motivated to help others struggling with addiction.

"I'm an extremely grateful guy. I'm grateful to be alive, that's for sure. And that gives me the possibility to do anything."

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing will be available from November 1.