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Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry weren’t just Friends on screen.
Aniston and Perry played Rachel Green and Chandler Bing, respectively, on the NBC sitcom for a decade. Aniston and Perry remained close post-show until his tragic death in October 2023. Perry died from an apparent drowning at age 54.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer said in a joint statement to Us Weekly at the time. “There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”
The statement continued: “In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
Keep scrolling for more on Aniston and Perry’s relationship in their own words:
A Different Sight on Set
While Perry played the charismatic Chandler on Friends, Aniston believed her costar had more depth than his character and referred to him as “one of the most sensitive people” she had ever met.
“His feelings get hurt,” she explained of Perry in a 1997 Entertainment Weekly profile. “He cares what people think. He even bruises easily.”
An Unrequited Crush
Before the pair began working together, Perry met Aniston and asked her out. Aniston rejected him and opted for the twosome to remain platonic.
“At first it was like, she would walk in, I’d be like, ‘Hey, good to see you.’ And I’d go to my dressing room and just go, ‘Oh, I’ll never, I’ll never be able to be with her,’” he recalled during a November 2022 appearance on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show. “But how can you not have a crush on Jennifer Aniston, you know? But I did at one point just go, ‘All right, that’s enough.’”
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Coming to His Aid
Perry admitted in his memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, that he struggled with substance abuse for most of his time on the hit series. In the book, Perry revealed that Aniston confronted him about his problem.
“‘I know you’re drinking,’ she said. … I was confused. ‘How can you tell?’ I said. I never worked drunk,” he wrote. “‘We can smell it,” she said, in a kind of weird but loving way, and the plural ‘we’ hit me like a sledgehammer.”
As Perry faced a series of ups and downs, he credited Aniston for being there for him when he needed it.
“She was the one that reached out the most,” Perry told Diane Sawyer in October 2022. “I’m really grateful to her for that.”
Their Sweet Texts
After Perry’s passing, Aniston shared a series of text messages between herself and her former costar.
“Making you laugh just made my day. It made my day :),” Perry texted Aniston, alongside a throwback photo of them together. She replied, “Awww the first of THOUSANDS of times … ”
Aniston penned a touching tribute in honor of Perry following his death.
“Having to say goodbye to our Matty has been an insane wave of emotions that I’ve never experienced before. We all experience loss at some point in our lives. Loss of life or loss of love,” she wrote via Instagram. “Being able to really SIT in this grief allows you to feel the moments of joy and gratitude for having loved someone that deep. And we loved him deeply. He was such a part of our DNA. We were always the 6 of us. This was a chosen family that forever changed the course of who we were and what our path was going to be.”
She continued: “For Matty, he KNEW he loved to make people laugh. As he said himself, if he didn’t hear the ‘laugh’ he thought he was going to die. His life literally depended on it. And boy did he succeed in doing just that. He made all of us laugh. And laugh hard.”
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Inside His Final Moments
“He was happy. He was healthy. He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy — that’s all I know,” Aniston told Variety in December 2023 of Perry’s mindset before his death. “I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling. He was happy.”
She added: “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.”