Matthew Perry had a deep connection with the cast of Friends, which he cherished. The beloved actor, who tragically passed away at the age of 54 on Saturday, portrayed the character Chandler Bing on the hit sitcom for its entire 10-season run from 1994 to 2004. Alongside him were his talented costars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer.
In May 2021, the Friends stars were reunited for the highly anticipated HBO Max special, Friends: The Reunion. The occasion also featured an exclusive cover story in PEOPLE magazine. Reflecting on his experience, Perry stated, "It changed my life in every way. I got the show when I was a 24-year-old man; the show ended when I was 34. It formed my life. And it was the time of my life."
During the reunion special, emotions ran high as Perry discussed the enduring bond he shared with his Friends castmates. "The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it," he emotionally revealed. "That was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long and that was it." All the actors present, including Aniston and Cox, nodded in agreement and expressed their own emotions.
Ben Winston, the co-director of the reunion special, fondly spoke about collaborating with Perry. "He’s a brilliantly funny man and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show," Winston shared with The Hollywood Reporter. "I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this."
Perry's memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, which was published in November 2022, offered a candid exploration of his personal struggles with addiction during his time on Friends. In an October 2022 interview with PEOPLE, Perry revealed that his castmates provided unwavering support throughout their tenure on the show. "They were understanding, and they were patient," he expressed. Drawing parallels to nature, he likened their solidarity to penguins who rally around a sick or injured member of their group until they can stand on their own. For Perry, the Friends cast served as a vital source of strength and encouragement.