There were a lot of talking points from Friends: The Reunion, which aired on Thursday last week and is still available to watch now on Sky and NOW in the UK & Ireland. There was the bombshell that Ross and Rachel actors Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer had feelings for one another while filming, the cameos from Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Cara Delevingne, and the concern from fans about Chandler Bing actor Matthew Perry's health.
Matthew Perry - who famously battled addiction issues throughout the show - appeared to have slurred speech in parts of the reunion show, which provoked comments from worried fans. As he reminisced along with his fellow cast members from the iconic show, Matthew also opened up about the intense anxiety he suffered during filming. "I felt like I was going to die if [the audience] didn’t laugh," he said at one point. "I would sweat and shake."
In response, viewers expressed their sadness and concern about what Matthew Perry went through, and how he is now. "Watching Friends Reunion and revealing Matthew Perry’s anxiety over his craft/comedy makes me sad. But also hopeful that he has overcome his demons," wrote one person. "One thing that made me sad watching the Friends Reunion was seeing how unhappy Matthew Perry looked. Chandler is my all time favourite TV show character and to see the man who played the character like that really breaks my heart. I hope he's okay," posted another.
But in an update from Friends executive producer Kevin Bright, it seems the 51-year-old actor is in a good place. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Kevin Bright said: "I talked to [Matthew]. It was great seeing him again." On concerns about Matthew Perry's wellbeing, the producer added: "What people say is what people say. I don’t have any to say about that, except it was great to see him. And I think he’s very funny on the show. But yes, I think he’s OK. He seems stronger and better since the last time I saw him, and excited about going forward."
That sounds like a pretty positive update, and might go some way to allay viewers' fears about how the actor is these days. Matthew Perry has previously spoken openly about the ups and downs in his battle with addiction, even admitting that he couldn't remember filming several seasons. "I don’t remember three years of it," he told BBC Radio 2 in 2016. "Somewhere between season 3 and 6 … I was a little out of it."
He has learned to seek help when he needs it over the years, however. Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in 2003, the actor said: "What saved me was finally getting a little bit of clarity in my life and realising that this was it. If I keep living my life this way, there isn't going to be any life. You realise you need help, so you finally ask for it."
As for comments about possible slurred speech (some fans felt it sounded, when Matthew Perry said, "I stole the cookie jar that had the clock on it," like the word "stole" had a "sh" sound to it) it seems there's a medical reason for that. Speaking to The Sun, a source explained: "Matthew turned up at the reunion and members of his team said he had an emergency tooth procedure that day. This was said to impact his wellbeing and also how he was feeling.
The dental surgery reportedly left the actor "in pain," which in turn caused the slurred speech. "Obviously no one wants to film after a procedure, but it happened. The feeling was one of huge sympathy for Matthew, especially in recent days, given how people reacted online," continued the insider. "Matthew has told those around him that he is sober, and there is no need to worry," they added.
All anyone hopes is that Matthew Perry is as happy and healthy as he can be, so let's hope that's the case.
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