‘Friends’ Stars Remember Matthew Perry: “We Were More Than Just Castmates. We Are a Family”

Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer are remembering their Friends co-star Matthew Perry, who died Saturday at age 54.

The quintet released a joint statement Monday.

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“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew,” they said in their statement. “We were more than just castmates. 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.”

The message was signed by all five of Perry’s co-stars: Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc and Schwimmer.

Perry, who played the sweet and snarky Chandler Bing on the hit NBC sitcom, died in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home, law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times.

Amid his success from starring in Friends, Perry also battled alcohol and substance abuse for decades. He told Diane Sawyer, in an interview last year, that Aniston remained in close contact with him throughout his entire addiction struggle. “She was the one that reached out the most,” Perry said at the time. “You know, I’m really grateful to her for that.”

In Perry’s memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, which was released last year, Kudrow wrote the foreword.

Friends, created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane, follows the six friends living in New York City through their ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and relationships and heartbreaks. But no matter what they go through, they remain there for one another.

Kauffman, Crane and executive producer Kevin Bright shared a joint statement with THR, explaining that they were shocked and deeply saddened by Perry’s passing.

“It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives,” it read. “He was a brilliant talent. It’s a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew’s case, there are no truer words. From the day we first heard him embody the role of Chandler Bing, there was no one else for us. We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment — not just to his work, but in life as well. He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart. We send all of our love to his family and friends. This truly is The One Where Our Hearts Are Broken.”

Aisha Tyler, who had a recurring role in the final two seasons of the hit sitcom, paid tribute to Perry in an Instagram post late Saturday, writing, “He had a gentleness and generosity of spirit that was unparalleled. I learned how to tell a joke perfectly just by watching him work. And I will never forget the moment he leaned in, on my first night of taping Friends, to tell me warmly, ‘get ready for your life to change.’ Rest well, Matthew Perry. Thank you for the kindness and laughter.”

Maggie Wheeler, who is known for her iconic voice on Friends as Janice, Chandler’s on-and-off girlfriend, also paid tribute to Perry on Instagram, writing, “What a loss. The world will miss you Mathew Perry. The joy you brought to so many in your too short lifetime will live on. I feel so very blessed by every creative moment we shared.”

Hank Azaria had a recurring role on the sitcom as David, Phoebe’s boyfriend who moved to Minsk. The Simpsons star shared a video to his Instagram, noting how much he loved Perry. “A lot of us who were close to him felt like we lost him to drugs and alcohol a long time ago because — as he documented in his autobiography — there was so much suffering,” Azaria said. “I had to pick up and put down that biography, like, 11 times, it was so painful for me to read.”

He continued, “I’m a sober guy for 17 years, and I wanna say that, the night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in. The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together,” he added. “He was so caring and giving and wise. And he totally helped me get sober. And I really wish he could’ve, you know, found the — found it in himself to stay with the sober life more consistently.”

Brooke Shields appeared on one episode of Friends as Erika, a woman who stars stalking LeBlanc’s Joey after she becomes obsessed with his Days of Our Lives character, Dr. Drake Ramoray. In a post on Twitter, the actress wrote, “Really struggling to find the words. You were so loved, Matthew. I loved you dearly. Thank you for the belly laughs. You brought joy to so many. We already miss you … sending all of my love to your family & friends.”

Selma Blair, Yvette Nicole Brown and Warner Bros. Television Studios were among others in Hollywood remembering Perry.

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