'Friends' Cast Speaks Out for the First Time Since Matthew Perry's Death

"We were more than just cast mates. We are a family," wrote Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer.

Image via Getty / Reisig & Taylor / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer lost a member of their family with the passing of Friends co-star Matthew Perry on Saturday.

"We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family," the cast said in a joint statement shared with People. "There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss."

Matthew Perry was found dead in his California home. He was 54.

"In time we will say more, as and when we are able," the five actors' collective statement continued. "For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world."

Perry's family said in a statement that they were "heartbroken" by his death, adding, "Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend."

Friends creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, along with executive producer Kevin Bright, expressed disbelief over the news of his passing while also reflecting on how Perry made the role of Chandler Perry uniquely his own.

"We are shocked and deeply, deeply saddened by our beloved friend Matthew’s passing," the trio of producers wrote. "It still seems impossible. All we can say is that we feel blessed to have had him as part of our lives. He was a brilliant talent."

They continued, "It's a cliche to say that an actor makes a role their own, but in Matthew’s case, there are no truer words. From the day we first heard him embody the role of Chandler Bing, there was no one else for us. We will always cherish the joy, the light, the blinding intelligence he brought to every moment—not just to his work, but in life as well," Kauffman, Crane, and Bright said of Perry. "He was always the funniest person in the room. More than that, he was the sweetest, with a giving and selfless heart."

Salma Hayek, who starred alongside Perry in 1997's Fools Rush In, shared a tribute on Instagram in which she took a moment to think about the "special bond that happens when you share dreams with someone and together you work towards them."

In 2022, Perry said he would like his legacy to be how he helped fellow addicts. For recurring Friends guest star Hank Azaria, that turned out to be the case.

“From a recovery perspective, I’m a sober guy for 17 years,” said 59-year-old Azaria while eulogizing Perry, his first friend in Los Angeles and "the funniest man ever," in a video on social media. “I want to say that the night I went into AA, Matthew brought me in. The whole first year I was sober, we went to meetings together. And he was such a great—I got to tell him this, he was just, as a sober person, he was so caring and giving and wise and he totally helped me get sober."

❤️ pic.twitter.com/HRIycBPkxG

— Hank Azaria (@HankAzaria) October 29, 2023
Twitter: @HankAzaria

Perry's quote on the subject of being a sober friend, given in an interview last year, went, “The best thing about me, bar none, is that if somebody comes to me and says, ‘I can’t stop drinking, can you help me?’ I can say ‘yes’ and follow up and do it. When I die, I don’t want Friends to be the first thing that’s mentioned. I want that to be the first thing that’s mentioned. And I’m gonna live the rest of my life proving that.”

According to Deadline, TBS will air a marathon consisting of Perry's best and most heartwarming moments on Friends, as well as video packages highlighting what the actor and his character meant to fans. "Best of Chandler" begins on Nov. 1.

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