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Matthew Perry's Struggle with Addiction and Shame

Actor Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing on the hit TV show Friends, recently died at the age of 54. Perry was cast in Friends, the sitcom that shot him to fame, at age 24. He starred as Chandler for the sitcom's entire 10-season run, a sarcastic yet affable fellow.

According to an obituary on NPR,

[B]ehind the scenes, Perry struggled with addiction. He opened up about his decades-long excessive use of alcohol and pills in his memoir published in 2022, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. In the book, which he dedicated to fellow sufferers of addiction, he detailed his painful struggle with drug use and his related health problems: He said he'd spent half of his life in treatment, detoxed an estimated 65 times and underwent 14 surgeries.

Perry estimated that he had spent more than $7 million over 15 rehab stays treating his addictions to drugs and alcohol. While on set, Perry tried to hide his addiction problem, which he said went hand-in-hand with the pressure to get laughs. Perry wrote in his memoir:

I felt like I was gonna die if the live audience didn't laugh, and that's not healthy for sure. But I could sometimes say a line and the audience wouldn't laugh and I would sweat and sometimes go into convulsions. If I didn't get the laugh I was supposed to get I would freak out. I felt that every single night. This pressure left me in a bad place. I also knew of the six people making that show, only one of them was sick.

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