‘Friends’ Cast Issues Statement on Matthew Perry’s Death: “We Are All So Utterly Devastated”

in Entertainment, Movies & TV

'Friends' cast sipping milkshakes: L-R: Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Ross Geller (David Schwimer), Monica Geller (Courtney Cox), and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc)

Credit: NBCUniversal

The main cast of NBC’s beloved sitcom Friends are breaking their silence on the sudden passing of their longtime co-star Matthew Perry, who was found dead at his Los Angeles-area home on Saturday at the age of just 54.

Chandler Bing in a blue shirt, smiling with his arms crossed on Friends
Credit: NBC

Related: ‘Friends’ Co-Stars Mourn the Loss of Matthew Perry

It’s been a heartbreaking week for fans of the hit TV series Friends, which aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004. Following the day-to-day happenings of a group of New York City friends, the sitcom remains one of the most enduring and popular sitcoms of all time, earning numerous accolades, including six Primetime Emmy Awards and 11 People’s Choice Awards.

Starring Jennifer Aniston as runaway bride-turned-fashion extraordinaire Rachel Green, Courteney Cox as quick-witted chef Monica Geller, David Schwimmer as awkward paleontology professor Ross Geller, Matt LeBlanc as TV soap opera actor Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as “Smelly Cat” singer Phoebe Buffay, and Matthew Perry as the ever-sarcastic Chandler Bing, Friends spoke to young adults around the world, tackling tough subjects like divorce, single parenthood, infertility, and above all else, the meaning of friendship — through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Joey, Chandler, Rachel, and Monica looking up in anticipation on Friends
Credit: NBC

Related: Matthew Perry’s Tragic Death Foreshadowed in Recent Social Media Posts

Friends was nothing short of visionary for its time and indisputably changed the TV landscape forever. While not without its issues, the show is fondly remembered today and is almost religiously rewatched by millions of viewers thanks to its streaming success on Max (formerly HBO Max) and countless re-runs.

From “We were on a break!” to countless hours spent sipping coffee at Central Perk, Friends is jam-packed with iconic moments that made an enormous impact on pop culture. But clever writing and humor aside, the performances of its main ensemble made the series what it is, with the unmistakable chemistry between Cox, Aniston, Schwimmer, LeBlanc, Kudrow, and Perry being at the heart of the show.

The cast of Friends huddled together, smiling at the camera
Credit: NBC

After Friends concluded in 2004, many series have tried to replicate its formula, which creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman flawlessly executed for ten seasons. However, few (if any) have come close to besting the bond shared between Ross, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, and Chandler.

The onscreen friendship between the leading Friends cast members didn’t end when the cameras stopped rolling, either; Aniston is the godmother of Coco, Courteney’s daughter, while LeBlanc traveled to support Perry for his written play, “The End of Longing,” among other instances.

In 2021, the Friends cast reunited for the unscripted special Friends: The Reunion, which premiered that May on HBO Max. At the time, Kudrow told PEOPLE, “I feel like we can pick up right where we left off, and no time’s passed. We’re connected no matter what.”

Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) wearing a button up shirt with a vest on friends. Smirking, probably saying something sarcastic.
Credit: NBC

Of course, it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows behind the scenes. Perry, who spoke openly about his addiction to opioids and alcohol in his memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, detailed how his castmates supported him amid his struggles with substance abuse while filming Friends, admitting that at one point, his diet consisted of 55 Vicodin pills and a quart of vodka.

Over his lifetime, the actor spent over $9 million on rehab treatments and surgeries, which likely contributed to his already worsening mental health. At the time of Perry’s 2022 interview with The New York Times, he was 18 months sober and is widely remembered for helping other Hollywood stars, including Friends alums Mira Sorvino and Hank Azaria, in the battle against their own addictions. He also founded the Perry House, a sober living home in Malibu, CA.

Matthew Perry and Paget Brewster looking shocked in Central Perk on Friends
Credit: NBC

Still, no drugs or alcohol were found at the scene of Perry’s death on Saturday, October 28, and the incident was ruled an accidental drowning, as the actor’s body was discovered in his jacuzzi tub. While the circumstances leading up to his death remain a mystery, a series of cryptic social media posts were worrying signs to some, his death currently remains under investigation.

Now, the main cast of Friends is finally speaking on the tragic death of one of their own in a joint statement, exclusively obtained by PEOPLE. In the message, Aniston, LeBlanc, Kudrow, Cox, and Schwimmer wrote that they still consider themselves “a family,” and are taking time to “grieve and process” the “unfathomable” loss of their co-star:

We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family. There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss. In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.

Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) frustrated with Janice on a couch at Central Perk on Friends
Credit: NBC

Tributes have already poured in from Friends veterans like Maggie Wheeler, who played Chandler’s infamous ex-girlfriend, Janice. She was among the first to remember Perry, writing “I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared” alongside a sweet photo of their characters on Instagram.

Morgan Fairchild, who played Chandler’s mother, Nora Tyler Bing, said of the actor on X (formerly Twitter), “I’m heartbroken about the untimely death of my ‘son,’ Matthew Perry. The loss of such a brilliant young actor is a shock:”

I’m heartbroken about the untimely death of my “son”, Matthew Perry. The loss of such a brilliant young actor is a shock. I’m sending love & condolences to his friends & family, especially his dad, John Bennett Perry, who I worked with on Flamingo Road & Falcon Crest. #RIPMatthew

Executive producer Kevin Bright joined co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane in issuing a joint statement on Sunday, writing, “We are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing,” they wrote. “It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives. He was a brilliant talent.”

As Hollywood stars continue to share their fond memories of Perry, it’s especially tear-jerking to see his beloved Friends castmates reflecting on their time together, given the close nature of their relationship, both on and off TV sets. Based on their remarks, it sounds like we can expect to hear more from Aniston, LeBlanc, Kudrow, Cox, and Schwimmer soon.

What’s your favorite Chandler Bing moment? Let us know in the comments down below.

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