During the Friends reunion special, which aired last month, Perry revealed the level of anguish he went through while playing the sarcastic funny-man Chandler Bing.
“To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh,” he said of the live audience.
He continued, “It’s not healthy, for sure, but I would sometimes say a line and they wouldn’t laugh and I would seat and just go into convulsion if I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get. I would freak out.”
During a recent interview with Today, Aniston, who played Rachel Green, responded to his comments about his mental health struggles on set.
“I didn’t understand the level of anxiety and self-torture [that] was out on Matthew Perry if he didn’t get that laugh, and the devastation that he felt,” said Aniston.
“Which makes a lot of sense.” She added.
Aniston wasn’t the only one taken aback by Perry’s revelation, with Lisa Kudrow saying to Perry during the reunion, “You didn’t tell us that though. That is something I don’t recall you ever saying.”
To which Perry replied, “Oh, yeah. I felt like that every single night.”
Jennifer Aniston recalls her time filming Friends
On the flipside, Aniston dubbed her time filming the comedy as “just the greatest time of my life.”
She told Today, “I’ve had so many gorgeous times in my life, but that was such a specific experience as an act creatively [and] how it affected all of our careers,”
She continued, “We didn’t understand in those four walls of stage 24 the impact that it was having on the world, which was also, that was crazy. Talk about emotions.”
“To have an opportunity to land on people’s hearts all over the world, that’s kind of incredible, whether it was helping them with grief, mental illness, illness of any kind of disease, learning how to speak English,” added Aniston. “It’s just sort of a very…you can’t really explain it.”
Friends co-creators speak out in support of Matthew Perry
After a jet ski accident in 1997, Perry’s personal life was deeply affected and he became addicted to painkillers.
The actor has been to rehab multiple times since, including a two-and-a-half-month treatment in 2001 to deal with vicodin, methadone, amphetamines, and alcohol addictions while Friends was still filming.
Perry previously admitted to BBC Radio 2 in 2016, “I don’t remember three years of it,” he said of filming Friends. “So, none of those… somewhere between season 3 and 6… I was a little out of it.”
Following concerns from fans about Perry’s “slurred speech” during last month’s Friends reunion, the sitcom’s co-creators Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright plus reunion director, Ben Winston spoke with the Hollywood Reporter about Perry to clear the air.
“I loved working with him. He’s a brilliantly funny man and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show. I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this,” said Winston.
Bright said of Perry, “I talked to him. It was great seeing him again. And what people say is what people say. I don’t have any to say about that, except it was great to see him. And I think he’s very funny on the show.”
“But yes, I think he’s okay,” added Bright. “He seems stronger and better since the last time I saw him and excited about going forward.”