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Matthew Perry recalls filming final ‘Friends’ scene on opioids: ‘I felt nothing’

Perry, 53, recalled his co-stars "sobbing" after filming of the episode wrapped, but he felt "dead inside."

Unlike his "Friends" co-stars, Matthew Perry didn't get emotional after filming the hit NBC sitcom's final scene in 2004 — in fact, he says he "felt nothing."

Perry, 53, describes taping the show's final episode in his new memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," released Nov. 1.

"It was January 23, 2004. The keys on the counter, a guy who looked a lot like Chandler Bing said, 'Where?,'" he writes. "'Embryonic Journey' by Jefferson Airplane played, the camera panned to the back of the apartment door, then Ben, our first AD, and very close friend, shouted for the last time, 'That’s a wrap,' and tears sprang from almost everyone’s eyes like so many geysers."


Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudro, Matthew Perry, and Courteney Cox in season 10, Episode 16 of "Friends."
Matthew Perry, second from right, with his "Friends" co-stars in a scene from the show's 10th and final season.NBC / Getty Images

Perry, who writes candidly in the book about his decades-long struggle with addiction, details how his co-stars cried after filming of the episode wrapped.

"We had made 237 episodes, including this last one, called, appropriately enough, 'The Last One.' (Jennifer) Aniston was sobbing — after a while, I was amazed she had any water left in her entire body," he writes. "Even Matt LeBlanc was crying."

"But I felt nothing," he continues. "I couldn’t tell if that was because of the opioid buprenorphine I was taking, or if I was just generally dead inside."

Perry explains in the book that buprenorphine "is a detox med" he'd been taking to help him stay off of "stronger" opiates. The pill, which is notoriously hard to withdraw from, is designed to be taken for very short periods of time. Perry had been taking it for eight months.

"So, instead of sobbing, I took a slow walk around the stage with my then-girlfriend — also appropriately called Rachel — stage 24 at Warner Bros. in Burbank (a stage that after the show ended would be renamed “The Friends Stage”)," he recalls.

"We said our various goodbyes, agreeing to see each other soon in the way that people do when they know it’s not true, and then we headed out to my car," continues Perry.

Perry recalls that in the studio's lot, he reflected on his 10-year journey on "Friends" — the dazzling highs, the devastating lows, which, for him, included several rehab stints, and just how much he and his character, Chandler, had in common.

"I thought about all the gags and the double takes ... and some of my most famous/too-close-to-the-truth lines, like, 'Hi, I’m Chandler, I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable...'" he writes.

Before leaving the lot, Perry remembered relying on his signature sense of humor when beginning a new season of "Friends" after completing one well-publicized rehab stay.

"I thought about the summer between seasons eight and nine, when I’d spent time in rehab, and People magazine had said on its cover that I was 'Happy, Healthy, and HOT!' ... " he writes.

"I had indeed spent that summer getting sober and playing a lot of tennis," he continues. "I thought about the first day of season four, after the summer that I had very publicly gone to rehab. At the first table read obviously all eyes were on me.

"My pal Kevin Bright, one of the shows executive producers, had opened the proceedings by saying, 'Anyone want to talk about their summer vacations?' and I took the opportunity to break the ice, saying rather loudly and soberly, 'OK! I’ll start!' thus releasing all the tension in the room.

"Everyone erupted in laughter and applause for me for turning my life around and showing up looking good and ready to work," he writes, adding, "Probably to this day, it was the smartest joke I have ever made."