Hank Azaria Recalls How 'Brother' Matthew Perry Helped Him Get Sober in Heartfelt Video Message

The 'Friends' actor died on Oct. 28. He was 54.

One of Matthew Perry's closest friends is remembering his life and legacy. Actor Hank Azaria took to his Instagram on Sunday, posting a heartfelt video tribute to the late Friends actor. 

Calling Perry his "first friend" in Los Angeles, Azaria praised the comedian, saying that they were "really more like brothers for a long time."

"We drank a lot together, and we laughed a lot together. We were there for each other in the early days of our career," Azaria said of his friendship with Perry. "He was as funny as he was on Friends and on other things too, in person he was just the funniest man ever."

Noting that Perry "lived to laugh," Azaria called him a comedic "genius." 

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Azaria also spoke about Perry's struggles with substance abuse, saying, "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."

Perry documented his addition struggles in his raw 2022 autobiography, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

"I had to pick up and put down that biography like 11 times. It was so painful to read," Azaria admitted. 

The Simpsons star, who has been open about his own struggles with addiction, shared Perry's impact on his sobriety. 

"The night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in. The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together," Azaria recalled. "I got to tell him this, as a sober person he was so caring and giving and wise, and he totally helped me get sober. I really wish he could have found it in himself to stay with the sober life more consistently." 

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Adding of Perry's addiction battle, "It's heartbreaking for those of us who loved him and knew him really well personally, we just missed him. It's one of the terrible things about this disease is it just takes away the person you love."

Azaria concluded his video, saying, "He was so brilliant. I just wish I and the world could have gotten what the rest of his career would have been."

Azaria made several guest appearances on Friends as David, a love interest of Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe Buffay. 

In 2022, Perry spoke in an interview on the Q with Tom Power podcast about his legacy. 

"The best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says, 'I can't stop drinking. Can you help me?' I can say yes and follow up and do it," Perry said. "And I've said this for a long time: 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 going to live the rest of my life proving that." 

Perry died on Saturday, Oct. 28. He was 54. According to The Los Angeles Times, he was found dead in the hot tub of his home in L.A.

He is survived by his mother, Suzanne Marie Morrison, and his father, John Bennett Perry.


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