In her first interview since the loss of her close friend and former co-star, Jennifer Aniston is sharing what the world should know about Matthew Perry.
“He was happy. He was healthy. He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy — that’s all I know,” Aniston tells Variety during an emotional conversation alongside her Morning Show co-star, Reese Witherspoon. “I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling. He was happy.”
She continued, “I want people to know he was really healthy, and getting healthy. He was on a pursuit. He worked so hard. He really was dealt a tough one. I miss him dearly. We all do. Boy, he made us laugh really hard.”
Perry died on Oct. 28 at the age of 5. After the news broke, celebrities, fans and Perry’s television peers flooded social media with tributes to the beloved actor, who starred as Chandler Bing for ten seasons on the beloved NBC sitcom Friends.
“It’s so beautiful,” Aniston says of the outpouring of love. “I hope he can know that he was loved in a way he never thought he was… His way of speaking created a whole different world. We went with his lead, in a way. It just added something to our joy.”
Witherspoon, who portrayed the younger sister of Aniston’s character on two Friends episodes in 2000, applauded the sitcom’s cast for their close friendship.
“You all were so close. It’s incredible what was born of those friendships, and how you guys have always taken care of each other for years and years. It’s really beautiful and set standards for our business, as well, with the way you respected each other,” she says. “I feel lucky that I got to be on that show and I walked in like Alice in Wonderland, watching the most popular cast do this whole thing. I remember going home and going, oh, they’re in another league. They’re on another planet on comedy levels that I’ve never seen my entire life, pivoting on a dime and working on each other’s energy and it was extraordinary.”
On Oct. 30, after taking some time to grieve privately, Perry’s five main Friends co-stars — Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer — released a joint statement about his death.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” their statement read. “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,” the statement continued. “For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
The late actor’s death certificate was released on Nov. 14, providing further insight about the day he died. According to Perry’s death certificate, which was obtained by ET, the actor, who was found in his hot tub, died on Oct. 28 at 4:17 p.m.
Perry’s cause of death is listed as pending investigation as the medical examiner’s office awaits toxicology and lab results.
ET previously reported that the actor was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, not far from Warner Bros. Studios where he filmed Friends. The funeral was held Nov. 3 and was attended by his family and friends, including his former cast members.
Perry was candid about his struggles with addiction in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and The Big Terrible Thing — and opened up in an interview at the time about how he didn’t want to just be remembered for his acting, or for playing Chandler Bing during the hit NBC sitcom’s 10-season run.
“The best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say yes and follow up and do it,” Perry shared in a November 2022 interview on the Q with Tom Power podcast. “And I’ve said this for a long time: when I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned — I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m going to live the rest of my life proving that.”
Despite Perry’s death, that goal came to fruition on Nov. 3 with the announcement of the formation of the Matthew Perry Foundation, a charity devoted to helping those struggling with substance abuse.
In a statement shared with ET, officials said that the organization will follow in Perry’s footsteps and continue his life’s mission of helping others dealing with addiction, which he said was “paramount” to him before his death.
“The Matthew Perry Foundation is the realization of Matthew’s enduring commitment to helping others struggling with the disease of addiction,” the statement read. “It will honor his legacy and be guided by his own words and experiences and driven by his passion for making a difference in as many lives as possible.”