Opinion: Behind the scenes of Matthew Perry

WSPNs Tasha Janoff and Annika Martins share their thoughts on Mathew Perrys life.
WSPN’s Tasha Janoff and Annika Martins share their thoughts on Mathew Perry’s life.
Credit: Annika Martins

Beloved actor Matthew Perry, who was best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the famous TV series “Friends,” passed away on Oct. 28, 2023. His sudden death was a devastating shock among those who are fans of his. Not only was Perry a talented and gifted actor, he also outwardly spoke about his past struggles with alcohol addiction, offering advice for those in a similar position. Perry won’t only be remembered as being a great actor, but he will also be recognized as a figure who overcame addiction.

It takes a lot to be a figure of fame, and oftentimes this accomplishment comes with consequences. Actors who start young are more susceptible to challenges in their lives later on, and the poor environments they work in can often take a toll on their mental health. Some may find themselves having issues with substance abuse, similar to Perry, who found himself relying on alcohol and drugs. He ignored warning signs, turning his head the other way and put up a facade for each episode of “Friends” that he filmed.

As audience members, we can appreciate this designation to his career, however it’s alarming to hear some of the mental battles he was going through. It was heartbreaking for us to hear that later in his career, he began to experience worsening health issues, coming to a realization that he had to turn his life around.Before he died, he had plans to launch a foundation designed to help people in similar situations as him. He wanted to ensure they wouldn’t get to the same point he found himself at.

After Perry’s death, the nonprofit National Philanthropic Trust created what is widely known as The Matthew Perry Foundation. The foundation focuses mainly on addiction and highlights past stories from celebrities and how their families or loved ones may have dealt with addiction themselves. We believe the foundation provides great ways for people to share their stories and feel as if they’re not alone in this very common struggle with addiction.

We think this foundation uses Perry’s life experiences and words as means of hopeful affirmations towards those struggling. This foundation does a great job emphasizing Perry’s lasting passion he had when providing encouragement and a sense of community in any environment he was in, regardless of the difficult struggles he was battling. As someone who grew up watching “Friends,” it’s devastating to know what Perry was mentally battling while filming the series.

Not only did Perry have goals for his personal life, he also had high expectations on the screen. Perry was an extraordinary actor, and that goes beyond playing our favorite characters. When the tv series “Friends” was at its peak, Perry was deep into his problems with his mental health. However, when we watched the show, we could see no apparent signs of him struggling. He really was an amazing actor, but it’s sad to know that he was blocking out his true emotions throughout the entirety of the series.

We can see this as either a good or bad thing. True, this goes to show how well he played his character, but it also causes alarm due to his ability to mask these feelings. Perry spoke out about his feelings, viewing his darkest times through the TV show. According to an interview with CNN, Perry stated that he wouldn’t rewatch the episodes of “Friends” since it always reminded him of the darkest periods of his life when he dealt with substance abuse. This goes to show how often actors go on set while dealing with serious issues, making the audience unaware of what’s going on behind the scenes.

Instead of strictly seeing Perry’s death as a tragedy, we can take what he has shared with his audience and implement his dignity and willpower to strive for better. We all should honor Perry and highlight his achievements that contribute to the community. Although Perry’s death strikes a devastation among all those who are fans of his, including us, it’s crucial to note that he didn’t die in vain and that his memory will be everlasting through the foundation tributed to him.

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