At the 2024 Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica, California, Jennifer Aniston had nothing but kind words about her late Friends costar Matthew Perry. Asked how fans should remember the 54-year-old, whose October 28 death was the result of acute effects of ketamine, Jen encouraged people to “celebrate him.” But a source exclusively tells In Touch a shocking new report has shaken Jen and the rest of the Friends cast, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer.

Three anonymous sources claimed that not only was Matthew less than honest about his sobriety, but he was so “warped” by his addiction that he was “verbally, emotionally and physically abusive.”

The allegations were a blow to his grieving pals. “They all want to remember the kind and loving Matthew they know,” an insider tells In Touch. “It’s appalling he’s getting torn apart when he’s not here to defend himself.” In addition to their heartbreak, however, the castmates also fret about the mudslinging’s effect on the legacy of their hit sitcom, which marks its 30th anniversary in September. “They have a vested interest in keeping the Friends brand thriving since there are streaming deals to be renewed and lucrative reunions to be organized,” notes the source. “Having the brand tainted by association is a massive headache.” (With major financial repercussions: For example, reruns of The Cosby Show generated $1.5 billion before the show was pulled when star Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault.) “They depend on those residuals,” adds the source. “Friends money has allowed them all to be extremely picky about the work they’ve chosen ever since.”

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