Matthew Perry has been open about his struggles with substance abuse over the years, but now the Friends star is opening up about the near-death experience he suffered that landed him in a coma.
Perry is best known for his portrayal of the sarcastic yet loveable Chandler Bing on the iconic TV show, but behind the scenes, he was dealing with a difficult addiction to alcohol and pain killers.
Speaking to People ahead of his new memoir Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, the 53-year-old actor revealed that he was “entrenched in a lot of trouble” at the time that only got worse as he got older.
Despite going to rehab 15 times over the years, his addiction got so bad that he nearly died a few years ago when he was just 49 after his colon burst due to opioid overuse, landing him in a coma for two weeks where had a “2 percent chance to live.”
He ended up spending five months in the hospital and was forced to use a colostomy bag for nine months.
“The doctors told my family [when he was first admitted] that I had a 2 percent chance to live,” he said. “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. No one survives that.”
Perry overcame the odds to survive is “grateful to be alive”.
The scars from his 14 stomach surgeries serve as a “reminder to stay sober.” While he’s “pretty healthy now,” he chooses not to say how long he’s been sober.
“It’s important, but if you lose your sobriety, it doesn’t mean you lose all that time and education,” he said. “Your sober date changes, but that’s all that changes. You know everything you knew before, as long as you were able to fight your way back without dying, you learn a lot.”
He added, “I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again,” he said. “I had to wait until I was pretty safely sober — and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction — to write it all down. And the main thing was, I was pretty certain that it would help people.”