Even though it’s been a little over two weeks since the death of Matthew Perry, known for his role as Chandler Bing on Friends, his passing was so widely felt that every farewell still evokes an emotional response. This Tuesday, for the first time, one of the main actors of the cast of the series has spoken about it: Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, Chandler’s best friend and roommate, during the show’s 10 seasons. A couple of hours later, Courteney Cox — who played Monica Geller, first friend, then girlfriend and finally wife of Perry’s character in the series — also shared her condolences.
Through his Instagram profile, with 9.3 million followers, LeBlanc said goodbye to his friend, whom in some interviews he has come to call his “little brother.” He posted five photographs, four of them of stills from the series and another one of the protagonists hugging each other, accompanied by a short text. “It is with a heavy heart I say goodbye. The times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life. It was an honor to share the stage with you and to call you my friend. I will always smile when I think of you and I’ll never forget you. Never. Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free. Much love,” the post reads. At the end, LeBlanc added a little joke in reference to a plot line in the series: “And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.”
Matthew Perry died on October 28 in Los Angeles, California. He drowned in the hot tub at his home after spending the morning playing sports. He was found by his assistant after returning home from running some errands. For the moment, the causes of his death have not been made public, but it is known that there was no fentanyl or methamphetamines in his body. He was 54 years old and had struggled with alcohol and drug addictions. As he himself admitted on occasions, he had spent about $10 million in rehabilitation programs. He had also had serious health problems: in 2018 his colon burst and he spent two months in a coma (his doctors gave him little chance of surviving). After his death, in his home in Pacific Palisades (near the coast of Malibu) investigators found various asthma medications, among others, but no illegal substances.
Courteney Cox also posted a video on her Instagram profile, where she has 14.5 million followers. “I am so grateful for every moment I had with you Matty and I miss you every day. When you work with someone as closely as I did with Matthew, there are thousands of moments I wish I could share. For now here’s one of my favorites. To give a little backstory, Chandler and Monica were supposed to have a one night fling in London. But because of the audience’s reaction, it became the beginning of their love story. In this scene, before we started rolling, he whispered a funny line for me to say. He often did things like that. He was funny and he was kind,” she wrote.
The shock over Perry’s death profoundly impacted the actors with whom he spent a decade of his life, years that launched him to stardom, gave him an immense fortune and also put him in a very complicated position regarding his addictions. After his death, a couple of days passed before the five Friends stars spoke out, and they decided to do so with a joint statement they sent to People magazine: “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,” wrote David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc. “In time we will say more, as and when we are able,” the statement continues. “For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
Until today, none had made any further public statements, regarding Perry or anything else. Nor had they made any public appearances, either personally or for work. The five were seen at the private funeral for their friend, which took place on November 3 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills, a cemetery north of Los Angeles and across the street from Warner Studios, where the series was filmed during its 10-year run.
The relationship between the Friends cast was close. However, they did not see each other too often, as they themselves have said in some interviews. In 2016, in a conversation with People, LeBlanc affirmed about Perry: “I love that guy! I can not see him for five years and then get in a room together and still have that shorthand with each other. It’s amazing, really. Ten years in a building with no windows and the doors locked, we got to know each other pretty well.” The last time they were seen together was in May 2021, when the entire cast of the series met for a special program.
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