Inside Matthew Perry's Close Bond With 'Friends' Co-Stars

After spending the better part of a decade together, the 'Friends' cast remained friends for life.

Matthew Perry shared an undeniable bond with his Friends co-stars, something that was evident when the six came together for Friends: The Reunion in 2021.

"The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it. That was the end of the night," Perry said as he reminisced with Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc.

"You just sat with the person all night long and that was it," he continued. "You apologized to the people you were with, but they had to understand you had met somebody special to you and you were going to talk to that person for the rest of the night. And that’s the way it worked."

Though the cast went their separate ways when the sitcom ended in 2004, they remained in each other's lives throughout the years, united by having shared 10 of the most important years of their lives together.

Perry reiterated that bond in his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing. "Each of them was still just a phone call away," he said of his castmates. "At the reunion, I was the one who cried more than anyone because I knew what I'd had, and the gratitude I felt then matches the gratitude I feel today." 

Following Perry's death on Oct. 28, the five remaining Friends stars have yet to release a statement, but will likely be united in that as well.

Here's a look at the bond Perry shared with each of his Friends.

Matt LeBlanc

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Perry and LeBlanc's Chandler and Joey were maybe the best friends of all the Friends, and the pair shared a pitch-perfect comedic chemistry, with Perry praising LeBlanc in his book for taking "the only sort of stock character and turning him into the funniest character on the show."

During his 2016 TCA press tour for Man With a Plan, LeBlanc shared how he and Perry always shared a comedic "shorthand" with one another.

"I saw him yesterday. I love that guy!" he said. "I cannot see him for five years and then get in a room together and still have that shorthand with each other. It's amazing, really. Ten years in a building with no windows and the doors locked, we got to know each other pretty well."

And in a 2016 interview with EW, LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow praised Perry as being the cast member most likely to be able to cheer everyone up with a joke.

In reference to filming Friends' iconic opening credits sequence, where the six leads dance together in a fountain, Kudrow recalled, "I remember it being cold, and we had to do it way too many times. I don’t think we were in the mood or could even look like we're having fun anymore, but then Matthew Perry said, 'I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in the fountain,' and we all laughed so hard. I think that's what's on TV."

"He was always the one in the 1,000th hour of something that everyone was dreading to crack a joke and make us all laugh," LeBlanc agreed. "He’s the class clown for sure."

When the pair returned to their old apartment in the reunion special, Perry and LeBlanc wasted no time recreating one of their silliest physical comedy bits of the entire series, kicking back in their Barcaloungers, with exaggerated groans of satisfaction.

"Aw, Matty, it's good to see you, buddy," Perry mused. "This is great."

David Schwimmer

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It was Schwimmer's idea for the Friends cast to negotiate their contracts as a group, with each actor earning the same amount -- which by the end of the series was more than $1 million per episode. And Perry makes sure to give his pal the credit he's due in the emotional final pages of his book.

"Schwimmer, for making us stick together when he could have gone it alone and profited more than all the rest, and deciding we should be a team and getting us a million bucks a week," he writes.

During the reunion special, Schwimmer made note of just how unique the bond between the six actors was.

"No one was going through what we were going though, outside of the other five," he reflected.

Jennifer Aniston

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Perry admitted to crushing on Aniston during Friends' early days in an interview with Diane Sawyer for ABC News prior to the release of his book.

The actor recalled that the pair had met prior to filming the show, and he had asked her out. She turned him down, suggesting that they just be friends. However, that didn’t stop him from admiring her on set.  

"'I was like, 'Is three seconds too long?'" he said, recalling the moments he would have on set with Aniston.

Perry called that back in his book acknowledgments, writing thanks to "Jenny, for letting me look at that face an extra two seconds every single day."

While he ultimately moved past his crush, Aniston continued to be an important person in Perry's life -- and, as revealed in his book, was the first one to confront him about his alcohol abuse on the Friends set.

"I know you're drinking," he recalled his co-star confessing in his dressing room. "We can smell it."

Aniston gave her own interview to Sawyer in 2004 -- as Friends was wrapping up its 10-year run, and broke down when asked what message she would like to send along to Perry, sharing that she wanted him to know that he would be all right.

"We didn't know. We, you know, we weren't equipped, we weren't - to deal with it," Aniston said of her and her co-stars' reaction to Perry's struggles, wiping away tears. "You know, nobody had ever dealt with that and, you know, the idea of even losing him."

Courteney Cox

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Aniston wasn't the only castmate Perry admitted to having a crush on. In his 2022 interview with Sawyer, he marveled at all his female co-stars.

"How can you not have a crush on Jenny, and Courteney and Lisa?" he said. "So it made it kinda difficult to go to work, because I had to pretend I didn’t have these [crushes]."

His character's unexpected romance with Cox's Monica was a highlight of Friends' 10-season run, and in his book's acknowledgements, he thanks his on-screen partner "for making America think that someone so beautiful would marry a guy like me."

Cox said she had an "incredible time" filming Friends with Perry and their co-stars on the 2021 reunion special.

"Everything came together. We became best friends, the chemistry, the whole thing," she shared with the group. "It was life-changing and it forever will be -- not just for us but for people who watch it. That's just such a great feeling to carry forever. I'm so grateful, and I love you guys so much."

Lisa Kudrow

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"Lisa Kudrow - no woman has ever made me laugh that much," Perry writes in his book, high praise given the host of talented female co-stars he had throughout the years.

Kudrow penned the foreword to Perry's memoir, in which she admitted that, at times, the question she was asked most was, "How is Matthew Perry doing?"

"I understand why so many people asked it: they love Matthew, and they want him to be OK. Me too," she admitted. But I always bristled at that question from the press because I couldn't say what I wanted to say: 'It's his story to tell, and I'm not authorized to tell it really, am I!'"

Kudrow said that she often felt guilt for not confronting Perry about his substance abuse issues, or trying to do more to help, but noted, "the little I knew about addiction was that his sobriety was out of my hands."

"I just focused on Matthew, who could make me laugh so hard every day, and once a week, laugh so hard I cried and couldn’t breathe," she continued. "He was there, Matthew Perry, who is whip-smart… charming, sweet, sensitive, very reasonable and rational. That guy, with everything he was battling, was still there. The same Matthew who, from the beginning, could lift us all up during a grueling night shoot for the opening titles inside that fountain."