American-Canadian actor Matthew Perry raised some concerns among fans due to his absent-minded demeanor and slurred speech on the Friends reunion episode last year.
The Friends star subsequently revealed that he had to have dental surgery right before filming in April, which had affected him greatly during the shoot.
Before the launch of his biography, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir, Perry went candid in several interviews regarding his struggle with addiction and its consequences.
Commenting on his emergency dental surgery, the 53-year old told Diane Sawyer on Nightline on Friday, October 28, 2022, that the dentists “did all sorts of things.” He added that the procedure made his mouth feel like fire.
Matthew Perry’s teeth stole the show
Matthew Perry was the subject of great discussion when the Friends reunion aired on HBO Max last year. The actor told Sawyer that while it wasn’t ideal to shoot after surgery, he chose to go to the reunion and do the best that he could.
Fans immediately noticed his slurring speech pattern and teeth during the show and took to social media. Some were concerned about his health, while others wondered if he was wearing false teeth.
In his memoir, Perry writes about his struggles with addiction over the years, and discloses that his teeth and speech were ruined as a result of substance abuse. He describes one of the incidents and says that he had his front teeth fall out when he bit into a peanut-butter toast. Perry then goes on to explain how he carried the teeth in a baggie in his jeans pocket and took them to the dentist to get them replaced.
Netizens made jokes about his veneers, referencing a Friends episode where David Schwimmer’s Ross had his teeth bleached.
Some claimed that the actor’s slurring was an indication of a relapse and they doubted that his behavior was only due to the dental procedure alone.
Fans also rose to his defense and corroborated that it is possible for a dental procedure to leave a lasting impact.
A source close to Perry said that the emergency surgery had caused him some pain at the time. The source added that while no one wants to film after a procedure, it happened. The source continued:
“The feeling was one of huge sympathy for Matthew, especially in recent days, given how people reacted online. Matthew has told those around him that he is sober, and there is no need to worry.”
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Matthew Perry revealed that he has been sober for 18 months as of October 2022. This means that he was freshly sober at the time the reunion was being filmed in 2021.
The actor also shared that he had spent around $9 million over the course of his life on his path to recovery. He struggled with addiction to alcohol, Xanax, and opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin.
Perry’s memoir mentions that he will be taking Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid withdrawal, for the rest of his life. The actor had a number of health issues owing to his substance abuse.
Matthew Perry was in a coma for two weeks, has spent nine months with a colostomy bag and was even on life support for a while. He also dealt with pneumonia, an exploded colon, and had more than a dozen stomach surgeries.
Supportive tweets flooded the internet after his interview.
However, he received backlash for offensive comments against Keanu Reeves and for stigmatizing colostomy.
Matthew Perry’s memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, published by Flatiron Books, comes out on Tuesday, November 1, 2022.