Matthew Perry Brought 'Friends' Costar Hank Azaria to His 1st AA Meeting: He 'Helped Me Get Sober'

Matthew Perry and Hank Azaria
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Hank Azaria honored Matthew Perry with an emotional tribute thanking the late actor for helping him get sober.

“Matthew was the first friend I made in Los Angeles when I moved there. I was 21, he was 16,” Azaria, 59, who guest starred on Perry’s hit sitcom Friends, said via an Instagram video on Sunday, October 29. “Matthew and I became really good friends and we were really more like brothers for a long time. We drank a lot together, we laughed a lot together, we were there for each other in the early days of our career.”

Perry died from an apparent drowning on Saturday, October 28, at age 54. Police responded to a call of someone in cardiac arrest at a Los Angeles home, where they reportedly found Perry unconscious in a hot tub. The authorities said there was no sign of foul play but an investigation into Perry’s death is still ongoing.

In his social media post, Azaria reflected on Perry’s struggles, which stemmed from his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Perry candidly discussed how his life took a turn following a jet ski accident in 1997. He became addicted to Vicodin, which led to alcohol abuse as well. In 2000, Perry was hospitalized with pancreatitis and ultimately started detoxing while still filming Friends.

Matthew Perry Brought 'Friends' Costar Hank Azaria to His 1st AA Meeting: He 'Helped Me Get Sober'
Courtesy of Hank Azaria/Instagram

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“I really loved him. A lot of us who were close to him felt like we lost him to drugs and alcohol a long time ago because — as he documented in his autobiography — there was so much suffering,” Azaria noted of Perry’s 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. “I had to pick up and put down that biography, like, 11 times. It was so painful for me to read.”

Perry detailed his multiple attempts to get sober over the years in his book. On his road to recovery, Perry was inspired to open a sober living home for men in 2013. He later discussed his commitment to helping others face their addiction.

“I would like to be remembered as somebody who lived well, loved well, was a seeker,” Perry said on the “Q With Tom Power” podcast in 2022. “And his paramount thing is that he wants to help people. That’s what I want.”

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He added: “The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it. When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”

While reminiscing on his friendship with Perry, Azaria said the late actor helped him get clean.

“I’m a sober guy for 17 years, and I wanna say that, the night I went into AA [Alcoholics Anonymous], Matthew brought me in,” he added on Sunday. “The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together. He was so caring and giving. He totally helped me get sober. And I really wish he could’ve found it in himself to stay with the silver life more consistently.”

Azaria concluded the heartbreaking video by celebrating Perry’s legacy, saying, “Most nights you spent with Matthew you were crying laughing by the end. As an actor, he was so brilliant. I just wish we could have gotten what the rest of his career would’ve been.”

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