Matthew Perry confirmed to People magazine that he nearly died in 2018 at the age 49 after his colon burst due to an overuse of opioids. News circulated at the time that the “Friends” actor was hospitalized because of gastrointestinal perforation. In reality, Perry’s hospitalization was far graver. As reported by People: Perry “spent two weeks in a coma and five months in the hospital and had to use a colostomy bag for nine months.”
“The doctors told my family that I had a 2% chance to live,” Perry said about when he was first admitted to the hospital. “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 has long been outspoken about his addiction struggles. Speaking to People, the actor recalled how at one point during his 10-season run on “Friends” he was taking 55 Vicodin a day and his weight went down to an alarming 128 pounds.
“I didn’t know how to stop,” Perry said. “If the police came over to my house and said, ‘If you drink tonight, we’re going to take you to jail,’ I’d start packing. I couldn’t stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older.”
Perry said his various addiction to pills has resulted in 14 surgeries so far on his stomach, adding, “That’s a lot of reminders to stay sober. All I have to do is look down.”
An encounter with his therapist also made it clear to Perry that he needs to keep sober. “My therapist said, ‘The next time you think about taking Oxycontin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life,’” the actor said. “And a little window opened and I crawled through it and I no longer want Oxycontin anymore.”
Perry opens up more about the 2018 incident in his upcoming memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” The book is now available for pre-order and releases on Nov. 1.
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