The main cast of NBC's 'Friends' pose in a promotional photo

Matthew Perry’s ‘Friends’ Co-Stars Begin Speaking About His Loss

After Friends actor Matthew Perry died on October 28, 2023 at age 54, his five co-stars on the hit comedy show—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Lisa Kudrow—issued a joint statement asking for space and time as they processed their “unfathomable loss.” Now, they have begun to post individual tributes and memories about Perry, who they worked closely with for ten seasons between 1994-2004.

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Matthew Perry was a Friends standout as the sarcastic Chandler Bing, and during the height of his sitcom career, Perry also enjoyed success in movies like Fools Rush In and The Whole Nine Yards. He was one of the first Hollywood stars to publicly and openly struggle with the disease of addiction, and in recent years, Perry was known for his advocacy around recovery. He documented his harrowing struggles with addiction and the peaks and pitfalls of celebrity in his excellent, bestselling 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, with “the big terrible thing” referring to the alcoholism and dependency on pills that saw Perry in and out of detoxes, rehab, recovery rooms, and therapy for decades. While Perry wrote in the book that he knew his role as Chandler on Friends would forever loom large, he hoped that his work in the addiction sphere, spreading awareness and helping others, would stand as his lasting legacy. I read Perry’s memoir the weekend after he died and cried through much of it; I’d encourage everyone and anyone to read it.

Matt LeBlanc started the tribute from the Friends main cast

Matthew Perry as Joey and Matt LeBlanc as Joey in a scene together on 'Friends'

Matt LeBlanc, who co-starred on Friends as Chandler’s best friend and roommate Joey Tribiani, was the first lead to speak individually about Perry. Prior to LeBlanc, several guest stars and recurring character actors on Friends (like Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice) had posted memories and praise for Perry’s comedic genius and kindness toward them.

“Matthew, it is with a heavy heart I say goodbye,” LeBlanc wrote on his Instagram account, alongside many pictures of Joey and Chandler on Friends through the years, and one image of the cast embracing backstage. “The times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life. It was an honor to share the stage with you and to call you my friend. I will always smile when I think of you and I’ll never forget you. Never. Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free. Much love.” In a fitting light-hearted note that Perry might appreciate, LeBlanc ended the tribute with, “And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.”

Courteney Cox was quick to follow LeBlanc

Courteney Cox as Monica and Matthew Perry as Chandler in a scene from 'Friends'

Actor Courteney Cox, who played Monica Geller, added her own tribute shortly after LeBlanc. Cox worked particularly closely with Perry, as their characters developed a romance that came to be the heart of Friends. Beginning as, well, friends, Monica and Chandler’s relationship evolved from a fling to an eventual marriage and adoption of twins. Cox highlighted that central relationship and her own closeness with Perry in speaking about his loss, while sharing a clip of one of her favorite moments working with Perry on the show.

“I am so grateful for every moment I had with you Matty and I miss you every day,” Cox began, addressing Perry directly. Then she explained the scene she included in her Instagram post: “When you work with someone as closely as I did with Matthew, there are thousands of moments I wish I could share. For now here’s one of my favorites. To give a little backstory, Chandler and Monica were supposed to have a one night fling in London. But because of the audience’s reaction, it became the beginning of their love story,” Cox said about the scene, which saw a comedic moment of Monica and Chandler in bed together. She further touched upon Perry’s generosity as a scene partner: “In this scene, before we started rolling, he whispered a funny line for me to say. He often did things like that. He was funny and he was kind.”

Jennifer Aniston added her own words for ‘little brother’ Matthew Perry

Jennifer Aniston as Rachel and Matthew Perry as Chandler in a scene from 'Friends'

Following LeBlanc and Cox, Jennifer Aniston, who played Chandler’s friend and Monica’s roommate Rachel Green, also posted about Perry on Instagram. Alongside a featured picture of her and Perry laughing on set (as well as a screenshot of a text conversation she had with Perry about that picture), Aniston shared: “Oh boy this one has cut deep… Having to say goodbye to our Matty has been an insane wave of emotions that I’ve never experienced before.” She went on, ruminating about loss and love:

We all experience loss at some point in our lives. Loss of life or loss of love. Being able to really SIT in this grief allows you to feel the moments of joy and gratitude for having loved someone that deep. And we loved him deeply. He was such a part of our DNA. We were always the 6 of us. This was a chosen family that forever changed the course of who we were and what our path was going to be. For Matty, he KNEW he loved to make people laugh. As he said himself, if he didn’t hear the ‘laugh’ he thought he was going to die. His life literally depended on it. And boy did he succeed in doing just that. He made all of us laugh. And laugh hard. In the last couple weeks, I’ve been pouring over our texts to one another. Laughing and crying then laughing again. I’ll keep them forever and ever. I found one text that he sent me out of nowhere one day. It says it all. (See the second slide…)

Matty, I love you so much and I know you are now completely at peace and out of any pain. I talk to you every day… sometimes I can almost hear you saying “could you BE any crazier?”

Rest little brother.

You always made my day…

David Schwimmer penned his post to Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry as Chandler and David Schwimmer as Ross in a scene from 'Friends'

Alongside a peak Friends-era photo of himself and Perry, David Schwimmer was quick to add his own Instagram post following his co-stars. Schwimmer played Ross Geller, Monica’s brother and Chandler’s eventual brother-in-law. He addressed the post directly to Perry:


Thank you for ten incredible years of laughter and creativity.

I will never forget your impeccable comic timing and delivery. You could take a straight line of dialogue and bend it to your will, resulting in something so entirely original and unexpectedly funny it still astonishes.

And you had heart. Which you were generous with, and shared with us, so we could create a family out of six strangers.

This photo is from one of my favorite moments with you. Now it makes me smile and grieve at the same time.

I imagine you up there, somewhere, in the same white suit, hands in your pockets, looking around—

“Could there BE any more clouds?”

We’ll update this space as further tributes to Perry come in. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and find a copy of Perry’s exceptional memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. It best represents the legacy of both laughter and illuminating honesty that he wished to leave behind.

Updated 11/15/2023, 4:10pm:

Lisa Kudrow’s Instagram post brought the final main cast reaction

Lisa Kudrow, who played the wacky, always hilarious Phoebe Buffay-Hannigan on Friends, has joined her co-stars and posted on Instagram about Perry. Kudrow and Perry were close, with Kudrow contributing the introduction to Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. Kudrow shared a digital image of an old photograph of herself and Perry, writing:

Shot the pilot, Friends Like Us, got picked up then immediately, we were at the NBC Upfronts. Then…
You suggested we play poker AND made it so much fun while we initially bonded. Thank you for that.
Thank you for making me laugh so hard at something you said, that my muscles ached, and tears poured down my face EVERY DAY.
Thank you for your open heart in a six way relationship that required compromise. And a lot of “talking.”
Thank you for showing up at work when you weren’t well and then, being completely brilliant.
Thank you for the best 10 years a person gets to have.
Thank you for trusting me.
Thank you for all I learned about GRACE and LOVE through knowing you.
Thank you for the time I got to have with you, Matthew.

(images: NBC)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.