EXCLUSIVE: Matthew Perry died lonely and longing for a wife and a family, with late Friends star even keen to have stepchildren – because of his close bond with his own stepfather – Dateline host Keith Morrison
- Perry never married and he ended his engagement to Molly Hurwitz, a talent manager, in 2021. But he was always longing for a family of his own
- The Friends star, 54, was found dead on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles
Matthew Perry was lonely and longing for a wife and a family when he died, after a string of failed relationships left him feeling ‘sad and depressed,’ sources told DailyMail.com.
The Friends star, 54, was found dead on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles – and close sources say that Perry even longed for stepchildren, thanks to his great relationship with his own stepdad Keith Morrison.
Perry never married and he ended his engagement to Molly Hurwitz, a talent manager, in 2021. He also dated several well-known actresses throughout his life, including Julia Roberts and Lizzy Caplan.
‘Matthew always dreamed of having the perfect family,’ a source close to the star told DailyMail.com. ‘He wanted a wife, and at least a couple of kids. And he said he wouldn’t even mind marrying a woman who already had kids.’
No one meant more to Perry in this world than his stepfather Keith Morrison the host of Dateline, who married his mother in 1981, the source said.
A longtime friend of Perry’s – who was in recovery with him – told DailyMail.com last night: ‘Everyone is in a total state of shock. People are crying on the phone and struggling to accept this news’
Keith Morrison pictured with his stepson, Matthew Perry
Perry’s mother, Suzanne (left), and stepdad Keith Morrison (right) who appeared morose as they pulled up to the home where Matthew died on Saturday
Matthew’s mom Suzanne and stepfather have been happily married for 42 years.
He said Keith always treated him as if he were his own son. And Matthew said it would be great to give a good life to children that belong to someone he loved the way Keith loved his mom – and him.
Matthew was also mystified by the fact that most of his Friends costars seemed to escape lasting love too, the sources said.
‘Lately the 54-year-old star has been looking for love again. But a string of failed relationships left him feeling sad and depressed, and as if he would never find that love he longed for.
‘Matthew dated dozens of women. But in the end, he always felt they were only interested in his money and his fame. And he was generous to a fault.
‘He would shower women with gifts only to have them pack up their goodies and walk away.
‘In the end I think his years of fighting demons… Drugs and alcohol… Took a toll on him, and on his health, and eventually he would end up alone again.’
Aerial images show Perry’s pool and hot tub where he was reportedly found dead Saturday
Matthew Perry has died aged 54 (pictured earlier this week, the last time he was seen in public)
Last winter Matthew became gravely ill, says the source revealed.
‘We were all worried he would not recover this time. He spent over a month in the hospital, causing him to lose weight and look haggard and worn out.
‘But somehow, as Matthew always seems to do, he survived and held out hope that new job or that new woman was just around the corner.
‘All Matt ever wanted was to be happy,’ says the source. ‘But he was always looking for love and happiness in all the wrong places. How sad that when he died he was reportedly alone.’
The actor, who shot to fame as the sarcastic Chandler Bing in the seminal 90s sitcom, was found dead at his house in Los Angeles on Saturday after emergency crews were called at around 4pm local time.
He had reportedly played a two-hour game of Pickleball – a sport similar to tennis but played on a smaller court – earlier in the day, before sending his assistant out on an errand. When they returned, Perry was said to be found unresponsive in his hot tub.
Perry won a worldwide fanbase for his role as Chandler in Friends, earning him an Emmy nomination in 2002 – but behind the glitz and glamour, he secretly battled substance abuse for decades.
Courteney Cox as Monica Geller and Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing on Friends
Matthew Perry speaks about his book during the 28th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at the University of Southern California on Saturday, April 22, 2023
Massachusetts-born Perry grew up in Canada where he attended school with Justin Trudeau – who is now the country’s prime minister.
After moving to LA, Perry starred as Chazz Russell in Boys Will Be Boys and also had roles in shows including sitcom Growing Pains before becoming a global superstar as Chandler.
READ MORE: Friends costar breaks silence and reveals how she feels ‘blessed’ to have shared so many ‘creative moments’ with the beloved actor
‘This was the only guy to play him,’ creator of Friends Marta Kauffman said in the 2021 reunion special.
The star laid bare the height of his terrible drug and alcohol addiction battle which nearly cost him his life in a memoir titled ‘Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir’.
Perry also revealed that his colon ruptured as a result of his opioid addiction when he was 49.
Doctors gave him only a two percent chance of survival and he was in a coma for two weeks followed by months more in the hospital.
Perry required 14 surgeries to help repair all of the abdominal damage, and he admitted to having gone to rehab 15 times over the years in hopes of kicking his drug addiction.
At one point during his Friends career, he admits he was taking 55 Vicodin a day and was down to 128 pounds but yet he ‘didn’t know how to stop.’
He told an interviewer in 2016 that he doesn’t remember filming three seasons of Friends.
‘I had this odd rule that I would never drink on a set,’ Perry said. ‘But I went to work in extreme cases of hangover. It’s so horrible to feel that way and have to work and be funny on top of that.’
He even revealed he would go to real estate open houses – not because he was interested in buying property but to see if he could steal drugs from medicine cabinets.
Chandler Bing – the group’s most sarcastic and quick-witted, but occasionally awkward and insecure, member – quickly became a fan favorite.
Perry and his co-stars – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer – negotiated $1 million each, per episode, by the end of their colossally popular and zeitgeist-setting 236-episode run.
READ MORE: Matthew Perry’s haunting last Instagram post
In a sign of the show’s enduring appeal, the gang reportedly pocketed $2.5 million each for a reunion episode in 2021.
During that episode, Perry’s slurred speech prompted concern among fans.
Perry also surprised his co-stars by admitting to having suffered severe anxiety ‘every night’ during the filming of the sitcom.
Born on August 19, 1969 in Massachusetts, Perry grew up in Ottawa and was raised by his mother, Suzanne Morrison, a Canadian writer and former press aide for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
Morrison and Perry’s father were married from 1968 to 1970 and she later married Canadian broadcast journalist Keith Morrison, who has been on Dateline for decades, in 1981.
In Canada, Perry was a top-rated tennis player but at 15 moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his father, John Bennett Perry, an actor known for several shows, including Falcon Crest, and later on Old Spice commercials.
In the 1980s and ’90s, Perry landed spots on the decades’ most popular TV shows like Charles in Charge, Who’s The Boss?, Growing Pains and Beverly Hills, 90210.
He also had a role in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon, a movie released in 1988 that starred River Phoenix.
The film was ‘one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, because I was 16 years old and in Chicago all by myself, no parents around,’ Perry told BuzzFeed. ‘I knew that I wanted to act.’
Perry alongside Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox in an episode of Friends
Chandler’s relationship with Monica Geller was kept secret from the group for several memorable episodes
Friends was a huge global hit as it ran for 10 seasons between 1994 and 2004
Perry as Chandler in a famous episode where he married Monica, with Rachel and Phoebe as bridesmaids
He told The New York Times in 2002 that he sought fame. ‘There was steam coming out of my ears, I wanted to be famous so badly.
‘You want the attention, you want the bucks, and you want the best seat in the restaurant. I didn’t think what the repercussions would be.’
Perry’s dream of widespread recognition came true with the NBC sitcom Friends, which followed the lives of six people trying to make their way in their twenties in New York City.
Audiences adored the show during its ten-season run and continue to do so today despite the show ending over 15 years ago.
Fans gathered last night to lay flowers outside the New York apartment that features in the series.
One of his major storylines in Friends was his initially secret romance between his character and Monica Geller, which evolved into marriage and the couple adopting twins.
Perry also starred in several films including 17 Again starring Zac Efron, Fools Rush In with Salma Hayek, and Getting In with comedian Dave Chapelle.
He featured in The Whole Nine Yards, and The Kid with Bruce Willis – who was a guest star in the sixth series of Friends.
Meanwhile his TV work included short-lived Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip and two Emmy nominations for his role as Joe Quincy in The West Wing – both from creator Aaron Sorkin.
In 2007, Perry also received an Emmy nomination for his role as Ron Clark in The Ron Clark Story about a restless but gifted young teacher.
In his memoir Perry spoke briefly about how he would like to be remembered after his death.
‘When I die, I know people will talk about Friends, Friends, Friends,’ he wrote.
‘And I’m glad of that, happy I’ve done some solid work as an actor, as well as given people multiple chances to make fun of my struggles on the world wide web.
‘But when I die, as far as my so-called accomplishments go, it would be nice if Friends were listed far behind the things I did to try to help other people.
‘I know it won’t happen but it would be nice.’
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