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Friends reunion: Inside Matthew Perry’s rough year

The Friends cast are having a dream run this year – all except one, who’s endured a break-up, social media scandals and health concerns.

It hasn’t been Matthew Perry’s day, week, month or year.

the friends actor has flooded headlines over the past few months, most recently for his break up with his fiancee of seven-months, 29-year-old Molly Hurwitz.

Their split, following a three-year relationship, came after the 51-year-old’s “concerning” appearance on the much-hyped friends meeting.

Perry, who played Chandler Bing on the comedy sitcom from 1994 to its finale in 2004, raised eyebrows among viewers for his seemingly slurred speech and “distant” demeanor during the two-hour long special episode, which aired last week.

Prior to that he became gossip fodder for all the wrong reasons when he was outed on a cringe-worthy FaceTime video with a 19-year-old woman on celebrity dating app Raya, while his recent business moves had some fans seeing red.

Here is how things have gone from bad to worse for Perry:

engagement over

the friends star confirmed the news of his break-up with Hurwitz to People magazine earlier this week.

“Sometimes things just don’t work out and this is one of them,” he said in a statement. “I wish Molly the best.”

According to the outlet, the actor and Hurwitz began dating in 2018 and became engaged in November 2020.

“I decided to get engaged,” Perry told People at the time. “Luckily, I happened to be dating the greatest woman on the face of the planet at this time.”

Perry previously dated actor Lizzy Caplan from 2006 to 2012.

Fans are now speculating he is dating his assistant, Briana Brancato, after he uploaded a cozy photo to his Instagram this week of the pair together.

RELATED: Matthew Perry reveals toll of pressure to be funny on Friends

Awkward FaceTime goes viral

News of Perry’s break up came just weeks after a woman, Kate Haralson, shared her experience of matching with Perry on the exclusive dating app, Raya.

The video clip, which 19-year-old Haralson uploaded on TikTok in early May, showed Perry flirting with her during a cringe-worthy snippet from a FaceTime chat they had last year.

Haralson’s video was posted with the caption: “When you match with Matthew Perry as a joke on a dating app and he FaceTimes you and plays 20 questions with you.”

The next clip sees a snippet of a smiling Perry sitting close to his camera while asking, “Do you always touch your hair this much?” as the woman giggles and says, “I guess so.”

Haralson was later kicked off Raya for breaking its privacy guidelines, while some fans questioned Perry’s comfort despite their significant age gap.

covid merchandise fail

In the lead up to the friends reunion premiere, which aired worldwide on May 27, Perry began spruiking his own Covid-19 merchandise emblazoned with Chandler Bing quotes.

One shirt read, “Could I Be Any More Vaccinated?”

Fans called him out for linking the meeting with vaccinations amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has recorded more than 167 million cases and topped 3.4 million deaths worldwide.

“Making money from a T-shirt relating to vaccines is in bad taste. Could I BE any more annoyed,” responded one commenter, while another on Instagram said simply, “i love you but this tshirt is not it haha.”

One respondent dryly noted on Instagram, “Just propaganda machines for life huh? That’s all celebs are anymore.”

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Charging $1300 for 20-second videos on app

On top of his merchandise hustle, Perry had also been a member on the celebrity video app, Cameo.

Perry, who is worth approximately $150 million, was charging up to $1,300 for a 20-second personalized video for fans.

It appeared he had deleted his profile in the lead up to the friends reunion premiere following a controversial promo which exposed his slurred speech, but a rep for Cameo later said Perry hadn’t been active on the platform since December.

The one where they all got back together

While it was an absolute joy for fans of friends to see the gang back together, Perry’s presence was troubling for some viewers, with many pointing out he seemed like he was “struggling”.

Though he didn’t discuss it in the special, Perry has previously been open about his battle with addiction, which affected his time on friends and saw him enter rehab twice.

There were several awkward moments during the reunion, in which Perry’s reserved attitude was a far cry from the hilarious character he portrayed on screen.

RELATED: Friends stars’ enormous pay for reunion

There was one moment where Perry was sitting on the interview couch across from host James Corden, along with his co-stars Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc.

Corden asked if they all still keep in touch, to which Perry responded that he “doesn’t hear from anyone.”

It was met with a few awkward laughs from his fellow actors before fading into the next scene, making it hard to tell whether or not it was just a dry joke.

In a sadder moment, Perry told his cast mates as they visited the Central Perk set that he “felt like I was going to die” if his jokes didn’t get laughs from the live audiences.

“It’s not healthy, for sure, but I would sometimes say a line and they wouldn’t laugh and I would sweat and just, like, go into seizures,” Perry said. “If I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get, I would freak out.”

RELATED: Read our recap of the Friends reunion

At the end, Perry broke down in tears as he discussed his special friendship with his co-stars.

“The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other that was it, that was the end of the night, you just sat with that person all night long,” Perry said to his co-stars.

“You apologized to the people that 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.

“That’s the way it worked. It’s certainly the way it worked for all of us.”

He added: “I’m going to cry now.”

Perry’s slurred speech was reportedly the result of a dental procedure he had that day, according to a source.

Director jumps to Perry’s defense

While Perry himself has not directly addressed any commentary, the director of the friends meeting hit back at negativity this week.

Ben Winston declared Perry was “great”.

“People can sometimes just be unkind. I wish they weren’t. I loved working with him,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

The director went on to praise Perry, calling him a “brilliantly funny man” who had great one-liners during the show.

“I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this,” Winston said.


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