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'Friends' reunion director responds to speculation about Matthew Perry's health

Perry has been candid about his previous struggles with substance abuse during his time on the show.
/ Source: TODAY

Ben Winston, the director of the “Friends” reunion, is addressing the rumors that have been circulating about Matthew Perry’s current health.

The 39-year-old director responded to a question during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter regarding Perry’s health at the time of filming, replying, “Yes, he was great. People can sometimes just be unkind. I wish they weren’t.”

“I loved working with him,” he continued. “He’s a brilliantly funny man, and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show. I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this.”

Winston wasn’t the only one involved in the reunion who debunked the rumors about the actor’s health. On Thursday, Kevin Bright, the show’s executive producer and director, also addressed speculation about the state of Perry’s health during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“I talked to him. It was great seeing him again,” Bright said. “And what people say is what people say. I don’t have any to say about that, except it was great to see him. And I think he’s very funny on the show. But yes, I think he’s OK. He seems stronger and better since the last time I saw him, and excited about going forward.”

The “Friends” alum has been candid about his struggle with substance abuse throughout the years, including two stays in rehab during his time on the show, which was on the air for 10 seasons between 1994 to 2004.

In 2013, he opened up his former residence to help recovering addicts. With the help of addiction specialist and interventionist Earl Hightower, he was able to convert the home into a full, sober-living center that offered a 12-step workshop and meditation programs.

Perry, 51, has admitted that his struggle with substance abuse has permanently affected his life, including some of his memories. During an appearance on BBC Radio 2 in January 2016, Perry said that he doesn’t remember filming three years of “Friends” and that he was “a little out of it” during that time.

When asked what his least favorite episode of the show was, he replied, “Oh, my goodness. I think the answer is: I don't remember three years of it.”

"So, none of those. ... My answer to your question is: somewhere between (seasons) three and six,” he added.

In a special moment during the highly anticipated reunion special, which is now streaming on HBO Max, Perry opened up about his anxiety with his former cast mates, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc.

"At least to me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn’t laugh," Perry said, referring to the studio audience. “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 convulsions. If I didn’t get the laugh I was supposed to get, I would freak out."

"You didn't tell us that then," Kudrow chimed in. "I don't remember you ever saying that."

"Oh, yeah," Perry responded. "I felt like that every single night."