Almost a year to date of Perry’s passing, the actor released his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and The Big Terrible Thing, which detailed his rise to stardom and his subsequent struggles with addiction. The series, of course, was a major topic in the book.
Friends ran for ten seasons, beginning in 1994, and there were several times the stars considered leaving the show. But major pay raises kept them aboard. However, by the end of Season 9, he, Aniston, David Swimmer, Lisa Kurdrow, and Courtney Cox were all but certain the story had been exhausted. The stars just needed a final nudge out the door, and Aniston provided that.
“The truth was, we were all ready for Friends to be done,” he wrote. “For a start, Jennifer Aniston had decided that she didn’t want to do the show anymore. And as we all made decisions as a group, that meant we all had to stop.”
“Jennifer wanted to do movies. I had been doing movies all that time and had The Whole Ten Yards about to come out, which was sure to be a hit,” he continued. “… Even though it had been the greatest job in the world, the stories of Monica, Chandler, Joey, Ross, Rachel, and Phoebe had all pretty much played out by 2004.”
Jennifer Aniston Pushed the ‘Friends’ Producers to Film a Shortened Final Season
Matthew Perry noted that everyone had basically gotten their happy endings by that time. All that was left was for Monica and Chandler to start a family and for Ross and Rachel to reunite. So, on May 6, of that year, the writers tied up the stories, and the characters bid a final farewell.
“It was not lost on me that Chandler had grown up way faster than I had,” Perry added. “As a result, mostly by Jenny’s design, ten was a shortened season. But all the characters were basically happy at this point, too. And no one wants to watch a bunch of happy people doing happy things — what’s funny about that?”
Despite dozens of pushes to bring Friends back for a reboot, the actors refused to continue the story. They all believed their on-screen personas already had the perfect endings, and no one wanted to spoil their legacies. The actors remained close over the decades that followed, however, and they did get back together for a hit Friends reunion special in 2021.
Matthew Perry died on Oct. 28, 2023, at 54. Authorities believe he drowned, but the official cause of death has yet to be released.
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