On November 3, loved ones gathered at the Forest Lawn Church of the Hills in Los Angeles to lay actor Matthew Perry to rest. Among the 40 or so mourners in attendance were Matthew’s former Friends costars, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc. The stars — dressed in all-black for the solemn affair — comforted one another during the emotional service. According to an insider, the close-knit cast is struggling with the loss of Matthew, who was found dead in his hot tub on the afternoon of October 28 at the age of 54. “They’re still in shock,” an insider exclusively tells In Touch. Friends ran for 10 years between 1994 and 2004. “They’ve always said they were like a family and now, one of the original six is gone.”
Along with grief, they’re also feeling guilt over the actor’s tragic death. Matthew famously spent decades battling drug and alcohol addiction and nearly died in 2018 after his colon burst from drug overuse. “The Friends cast tried to help Matthew early on,” says the insider. “But they didn’t feel equipped to handle Matthew’s substance abuse. It was totally beyond their realm.”
Jennifer, 54, reportedly the first of her costars to arrive at the funeral, has been hit hardest. “In recent years, Jen spoke to Matthew the most of anyone in their old gang, but she still wishes she could’ve done more to help him,” says the insider. Back when they were still working together, Jennifer was one of the few to confront Matthew about his issues. In his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, he recalled her standing up to him. “‘I know you’re drinking,’ she said,” he wrote. “‘We can smell it.’” At the time, he replied, “‘I know I’m drinking too much, but I don’t exactly know what to do about it.’”
Neither did his friends, who were also overwhelmed by the massive fame brought on by the show. Jen was blunt in a 2004 interview with Diane Sawyer. “We weren’t equipped to deal with it,” she explained. “Nobody had ever dealt with that.” The insider says Courteney, 59, and Lisa, 60, didn’t realize just how far gone Matthew had been. (In his memoir, the actor admitted to taking 55 Vicodin pills a day; he also revealed he spent $9 million and completed 15 stints in rehab while trying to get sober.) “If Matthew could still perform on the show, they could turn a blind eye. They didn’t realize he was a functioning addict teetering on the edge.”
Sober in his later years, Matthew withdrew. The insider says David, 57, reached out after Matthew’s recent health issues, “but Matthew wasn’t very responsive. Toward the end, he kind of shunned people. David wished he could’ve helped, but Matthew didn’t really let him.” (Authorities are awaiting full toxicology results before announcing Matthew’s official cause of death.) Matt, 56, has found solace in posts from fans of scenes featuring him and Matthew, says the insider. “It’s touching, and it’s been a comfort to see how loved Matthew was.”
All they can do is grieve. “They know it’s pointless to blame themselves for not doing more for Matthew,” says the insider. “He never blamed anyone for his problems but himself. They just can’t believe he’s gone,” the insider adds. “He was a sweet guy who deserved a lot more than he got.”
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