Inside Matthew Perry's Relationship With Matt LeBlanc

The tragic death of "Friends" star Matthew Perry has brought an end to one of sitcom TV's most enduring double acts, but the actors behind Chandler and Joey were as equally close as their on-screen characters. Joey, played by Matt LeBlanc, was Chandler's longtime comic foil: His best friend as much as his constant frustration. In real life, though, the two actors had a connection that even separate careers couldn't break.

While they may not have lived together — or adopted a chick and a duck together — Perry and LaBlanc could count on their friendship nonetheless. On the 2016 Summer TCA press tour, Matt LeBlanc described the relationship as a "shorthand" with which the two men could always understand each other, and it was really easy to dip back into their old ways when they did connect again.

"I saw him yesterday. I love that guy!" LeBlanc said, Hello reported. "I can not see him for five years and then get in a room together and still have that shorthand with each other. It's amazing, really. Ten years in a building with no windows and the doors locked, we got to know each other pretty well."

A connection that lasted long after Friends aired

That friendship endured Perry's well-publicized struggles with addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. Perry had been upfront and honest about his challenges and his time in rehab in the years since "Friends" initially aired. Meeting up with the old gang, however, was enough to bring the connection surging back instantly, Perry said.

"After the show was over at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it, that was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long," Perry explained during the "Friends" reunion special in 2021, Today reported. "You apologized to the people you were with, but they had to understand you had met somebody special to you and you were going to talk to that person for the rest of the night."

While many of those moments may have been impromptu, the "Friends" cast has also made sure to support each other's acting long after the show finished airing. In May 2016, when Perry's playwriting debut, "The End of Longing," landed on stage, LeBlanc was sure to attend. "Went to see The End [of] Longing last night and ran into this dude," LeBlanc wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of him with Perry. "He and the cast were great. Way to go bro."

LeBlanc helped Perry in a crucial moment

Perry's substance addiction dates back many years, coinciding with his time on the set of "Friends." He even sought help and went to rehab twice during the show's run, in 1997 and 2001 (via US Weekly). It was also important that he kept an even keel on the set, but there was at least one time on set that he needed assistance — and LeBlanc, a true friend, was there to give him a helping hand (via Insider). 

"The addiction ravaged me — one time, in a scene in the coffeehouse when I'm dressed in a suit, I fell asleep right there on the couch," he wrote in his memoir, titled, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir." "Disaster was averted only when Matt LeBlanc nudged me awake right before my line; no one noticed, but I knew how close I'd come."

Strong bond on the Friends cast

LeBlanc wasn't the only "Friends" castmate who helped Perry out during the times he was low. They were a great team that worked well together, and were also involved in each others' lives. Perry told "People" in 2022 (shortly before his memoir came out that) they all looked out for one another, both on the set and off. "They were understanding, and they were patient," he told the outlet. "It's like penguins. In nature, when one is sick or very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up and walk around until that penguin can walk on its own. And that's kind of what the cast did for me."

In a statement to CNN, Warner Bros. wrote, "We are devastated by the passing of our dear friend Matthew Perry. Matthew was an incredibly gifted actor and an indelible part of the Warner Bros. Television Group family. The impact of his comedic genius was felt around the world, and his legacy will live on in the hearts of so many. This is a heartbreaking day, and we send our love to his family, his loved ones, and all of his devoted fans."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).