In Friends the new memoir of star Matthew Perry, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, he reveals how substance abuse and drug addiction have endangered his life and damaged his career. Those issues continued throughout 2020 when he was set to appear in the “greatest movie I ever had,” Adam McKay’s star-studded comedy. Don’t look up. Unfortunately, Perry never got the chance to shoot his scenes because his heart stopped for five minutes.
The actor was set to play a Republican reporter for three scenes in McKay’s comedy, which would have Perry opposite Meryl Streep, Perry flew to Boston to film. The production was shot there from November 2020 to February 2021.
Perry had a long history of drug addiction, having started drinking at age 14. But an injury on the set of Fools rush, a romantic comedy in which he starred with Salma Hayek, led him to an addiction to opioids. Over the years, Perry says he’s spent more than $9 million on rehab and sobriety efforts.
When he started working on Don’t look up, he was taking 1,800 milligrams of hydrocodone, a painkiller prescribed to him by a rehab center in Switzerland. There, he told the doctors that he suffered from severe stomach pains. “Actually, I was fine,” Perry writes. “I still felt like I was constantly doing sit-ups – so it was very uncomfortable – but it wasn’t painful.” He was given hydrocodone, but the doctors wanted to do surgery to “put some kind of weird medical device in my back.”
The day before his operation, he stayed up all night drinking hydrocodone. So when Perry was operated on, doctors gave him propofol, an anesthetic that ended up stopping Perry’s heart for five minutes. Perry writes:
I received the vaccine at 11:00 a.m. I woke up eleven hours later in another hospital. Apparently the propofol had stopped my heart. For five minutes. It wasn’t a heart attack – I wasn’t flat – but nothing was beating. I was told that a beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from Friends to die on his table and performed CPR on me for five minutes, punching me and punching my chest. If I hadn’t been on Friends, would it have stopped at three minutes? Did Friends save my life again?
He may have saved my life, but he also broke eight ribs.
The only scene Perry filmed for Don’t look up ended up on the cutting room floor.
As the release of the memoirs approaches, Perry has shared more stories like these, hoping it will inspire others to ask for help.. Last week he revealed that at some point his colon burst and he had a 2% chance of living.
“The doctors told my family that I had a 2% chance of living,” he said. After his colon burst due to opioid abuse, he spent two weeks in a coma and five months in hospital. “I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and lungs. And it’s called a Hail Mary. No one survives it. »
Friends, lovers and the terrible big thing will be available in bookstores on November, 1st.