How the ‘Friends’ cast supported Matthew Perry like “penguins”
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How the 'Friends' cast supported Matthew Perry like "penguins"

On October 28th, 2023, the world lost the beloved Friends star Matthew Perry. He passed away at the age of 54. His sudden demise has left fans and fellow actors mourning the loss.

What is perhaps even more heartwrenching is that Perry had written in his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, rather presciently, that if he “did die, it would shock people, but it wouldn’t surprise anybody.”

Matthew Perry’s journey through life was marked by many remarkable achievements and, like many, his fair share of struggles, including a lifelong battle with addiction. During his time on Friends, he found unwavering support from his castmates, who rallied around him like “penguins”, as he once described.

In a revealing interview with PEOPLE magazine, Perry spoke openly about his addiction and the profound impact it had on his life. He candidly recounted how he initially believed that fame would solve all his problems when he was cast as Chandler Bing in Friends at the age of 24. His constant pursuit of humour to cope with the pressures of fame, however, was not the solution he had hoped for.

During his struggle with addiction, Perry found solace in the remarkable support he received from his Friends castmates. “They were understanding, and they were patient,” Perry had said. “It’s like penguins. In nature, when one is sick or very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up and walk around until that penguin can walk on its own. And that’s kind of what the cast did for me.”

In an industry often dotted with cutthroat competition, their genuine has been as endearing to fans as the friendship between Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Monica, Ross, and Rachel on Friends.

During the reunion special, Perry became emotional while expressing the enduring connection he shares with his fellow Friends mates. “The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it. That was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long and that was it,” Perry explained.

He went on, “We’d offer our apologies to the people we arrived with, but they understood that we had encountered someone truly special to us, and we were going to spend the rest of the night conversing with that person. That’s how it played out.”

As Jennifer Aniston concurred and Courteney Cox became visibly moved, Perry emphasised, “It was undoubtedly the norm for all of us. That’s just the way it was.”