Matthew Perry discusses addiction struggles, opens sober-living facility
Former "Friends" star Matthew Perry, opening up about his addiction issues, says he has turned one of his homes into a sober-living facility.
"Trying to overcome addiction is one of the hardest things for a person to do," Perry -- who did three rehab stints between 1997 and 2011 -- says in the new issue of People magazine, out Friday.
His alcoholism, he says, began even before NBC's "Friends" started its 10-season run in 1994. "I was on 'Friends' from age 24 to 34," the actor, 43, said. "From an outsider's perspective, it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism. It was going on before 'Friends,' but it's a progressive disease."
Exacerbating the issue was the painkiller Vicodin, which a doctor prescribed after a personal watercraft accident in 1997. "I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop," he said.
Perry, 43, assured, "I was never high at work. [But] I was painfully, painfully hung over. Then eventually things got so bad I couldn't hide it, and then everybody knew."
He began treatment with addiction specialist Earl Hightower, he says, but, "I was stubborn and I wanted to do things my way [until] I finally got it. Something clicked. You have to want the help. You have to be willing to change. I finally realized what had been told to me 500 times."
Perry converted a Malibu, Calif., house he bought in 2005 into a sober-living facility. He and Hightower, he says, "put our heads together, and Perry House opened about six months ago. So now that ego-driven mistake is being used to help people. How cool is that?"
Today, he says, "I'm in a really good place. I'm really comfortable."