Honoring a long-time friend, Hank Azaria posted a special tribute to Friends star Matthew Perry after the news broke about the 54-year-old actor’s sudden death.
In a video posted on his Instagram, Azarai reflected on his friendship with Perry and what it really meant to him through the years. “Matthew was the first friend I made in Los Angeles when I moved there,” Azaria explained. “I was 21, he was 16.”
Azaria stated that while he and Matthew Perry became really good friends, they were more like brothers for a long time. “We drank a lot together, we laughed a lot together, we were there for each other in the early days of our career.”
Azaria declared he loved Matthew Perry. “A lot of us who were close to him felt like we lost him to drugs and alcohol a long time ago because — as he documented in his autobiography — there was so much suffering,” he continued.
Matthew Perry and Hank Azaria notably appeared together in the failed pilot Morning Maggie. Azaria actually auditioned for the role of Joey Tribbiani but Matt LeBlanc ended up getting the role. However, he did appear on the show’s tenth episode The One With the Monkey as David, a researcher who was preparing to travel to Minsk before meeting Phoebe.
The two dated and David almost ended up not going to Minisk because of the relationship. David returned to the show for its 7th season and he proposed to Phoebe. She rejected the proposal and David left the show for good. Azaria earned a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his David role in 2003.
Hank Azaria Spoke About How Matthew Perry’s Addiction Struggles Impacted Their Friendship Through the Years
While continuing to speak about Matthew Perry, Hank Azaria talked about how Perry’s struggles with addiction ended up impacting their friendship. He is also a recovering alcoholic.
“I’m a sober guy for 17 years,” Azaria explained. “And I wanna say that the night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in. The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together. He was so caring and giving and wise. And he totally helped me get sober. And I really wish he could’ve, you know, found the – found it in himself to stay with the silver life more consistently.”
Azaria said the whole situation was heartbreaking for those who loved Perry and knew him on a personal level. “We just missed him. We just missed him. It’s one of the terrible things about this disease, is it just takes away the person you love.”
Speaking about Perry’s 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Azaria said he picked up and put down the book 11 times. “It was so painful for me to read.”
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