Matthew Perry has already heard of a few of his friends co-stars on his bubbly new book, Friends, Lovers and the Great Terrible: A Memoir, which arrived in bookstores on Tuesday. In it he describes years of struggling with an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
“Well, the book has been out for a day,” Perry said dryly when asked about their reactions during a livestream from New York City City Hall on Wednesday. “So I’ve heard from some of them, which is really nice, and I’m sure I’ll hear from everyone. But that’s the amazing thing about what’s happening with this book. It touches everyone’s hearts.”
Perry later said that thousands of people have already come to him, convinced they can stop using substances because he has. He said he has been sober for 18 months now. During the live stream, he noted that he gets daily help.
He also answered a question about who would play him if the book is ever made into a movie.
The younger version of Perry would be played by none other than his opponent in the 2009 body swapping movie again 17.
“Well, Zac Efron did it once,” he said.
Perry said he would take over the role later.
“I’d play myself after the coma and after that horrible night, five months in the hospital, then I’d take the part, I guess,” he said, referring to one of the scarier stories that emerged from the book.
In 2018, Perry spent five months in the hospital recovering after his colon had ruptured from opioid abuse. He was in a coma for two weeks and was on a ventilator. He had 14 surgeries. He also had to use an ostomy pouch for nine months, leaving him “covered in my own pussy,” he estimated, 50 to 60 times.
“The doctors told my family I had a 2 percent chance of being alive,” Perry said People. “I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that’s called a Hail Mary. Nobody survives that.”
Still, he admitted to calling his drug dealer when he got home.
In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Perry also said that at one point he drank vodka by the quart and took 55 Vicodins a day. He’d get the latter by faking back injuries and migraine headaches — plus “there were eight doctors working at once” — or just going to open houses and rummaging through medicine cabinets.
“I think they were like, ‘Oh, there’s no way Chandler stole from us,'” Perry said.
In all, Perry has said he spent $9 million getting sober, including numerous stays in rehab and detox facilities. At one of them, a treatment center in Switzerland, where he was still taking pills, his heart stopped beating for five minutes.
Looking back on everything he’s been through, Perry told Sawyer that he’s grateful for his… friends co-stars, especially Jennifer Aniston. She is the one who “reached out the most” and even confronted him with his problem.
Perry has also spoken about his personal relationships over the years, including how he and Valerie Bertinelli once kissed next to her then-husband, Eddie Van Halen, when he passed out, and how he lost his virginity to Tricia Leigh Fisher, half-sister of the late Carrie Fisher. , after years of thinking he was impotent.
He also mourned the loss of River Phoenix, his opponent in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, who died in 1993. “It always seems to be the really talented guys that go down,” he wrote. “Why do the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?”
He apologized for the reference to Reeves since the clip surfaced, saying he “chose a random name.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Treatment Treatment Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).