Lauren Graham revealed the sweet final birthday gift that Matthew Perry, whom she said she “almost” dated, gave her eight months before his death: a pickleball set.

“He’s, like, really into tennis and pickleball,” Lauren, 57, told fans during a Q&A at the Lincoln Theater in Washington, D.C., on April 5 as part of her Have I Told You This Already? book tour. She revealed that Matthew, who died at 54 years old on October 28, 2023, had given her the set for her birthday in March 2023. He also gave her “a card that said, ‘Be older.’”

Lauren looked back fondly at her friendship with the Friends alum, telling the audience that it was “still really hard to believe” he was gone.

“While he was not technically ever a boyfriend, he was an almost in my life,” she said, adding that he was a “friend and a constant.”

“We would stretch for a year, then he would come back in my life, and he had just come back in my life last year,” the Gilmore Girls star continued, calling Matthew’s death a “terrible loss.”

“The solace I take from having seen him at the time I saw him was he was so thrilled with how his book was received,” she concluded, referring to his 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. “And not just because it was a huge success, but because his life’s work kind of became, ‘How can I give back? How can I talk about the struggles I had and hopefully help someone else?’”

Matthew and Lauren were rumored to have dated in 2003, but they never confirmed their relationship at the time. However, Lauren addressed the speculation in her 2016 memoir, Talking As Fast As I Can. She revealed that they flirted when they first met but never had a romantic relationship.

Lauren Graham Reveals the Last Gift Matthew Perry Gave Her
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“The only bright spot, men-wise, was at an event where I met Matthew Perry,” she wrote. “He became my longtime Friend Who I Almost But Never Exactly Dated, or FWIABNED.”

The actors also worked together on the 2008 film Birds of Prey and the 2015 reboot of The Odd Couple. Matthew once called Lauren one of his “favorite people.”

“We have great chemistry when working together and it’s fun to work with a close friend,” he said in a 2015 Q&A.

Matthew died at his home in Los Angeles after drowning in his hot tub. His official cause of death was ruled as the acute effects of ketamine in December 2023.

Lauren reacted to her friend’s death in a November 2023 interview on CBS Mornings.

“I mean, it’s a really tragic loss, and he leaves his beautiful work behind,” she said. “That’s something to be thankful for, and again, the book really meant something to him, so it was a really happy year for him.”

Lauren continued, “No one made me laugh as hard. Just tears, streaming. There was just such joy in being around him and being his friend.”

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