Hank Azaria has shared how Matthew Perry helped him in his journey to sobriety, describing the late actor as the “funniest friend” he’s ever had.
“We met almost 40 years ago, and he was, by far, the funniest friend I ever had,” Azaria wrote. “He also was the person who helped me get sober.”
Perry, who had been open about his struggles with drugs and alcohol throughout his life, took Azaria to his first A.A. meeting in 2005.
“Matthew quit booze a few years before,” Azaria recalled. “He struggled with it, for sure. I didn’t need rehab, but I knew I had a very serious problem, so I called Matthew and asked him to take me to a meeting.”
Matthew Perry and Hank Azaria. CREDIT: J. Vespa/WireImage
Azaria said he went to a gathering in Brentwood, California, where he was left “daunted” by all the people in the room.
He added: “And he looked at me and said in his Matthew, half-joking, very loving way: ‘It’s something, isn’t it? God is a bunch of drunks together in a room.’”
After not initially understanding what Perry meant, Azaria said he now “thinks of that phrase every single day”.
“It’s by going into a room with a few or a lot of other people and sharing, saying out loud what it is that’s upsetting us and hearing that from others that we feel, well, maybe we’re not alone,” he added. “In fact, in time, what we become sure of is that that most unfortunate, terrible things we face are actually our greatest strength, as they connect us with others.”
He added: “I loved Matthew, and I leaned on him a lot in my early sobriety.”
Azaria, who starred alongside Perry in Friends as David across five episodes, went onto explain how he feels “blessed” to have been his friend.
“I was unfortunate to have needed heis help – or fortunate, depending on how you want to look at it,” he added. “And certainly fortunate to have received that help and friendship directly from him. I was also a huge fan of his and felt the friendship that we all feel through Friends. I consider myself blessed that I got to experience both.
“And I do want to say that if you go into recovery, while there will only ever be one of the real thing for me, you will find your own Matthew Perry. You’ll find someone to laugh with and connect with. You’ll find someone who understands your story. You’ll find someone who seems to care about you more than about him – or herself. I think Matthew would want folks to know that more than anything.”
Perry’s co-stars in Friends, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer, recently released a joint statement in tribute.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew,” the statement read. “We were more than just cast mates. We are a family.”
Perry’s family and cast mates attended his funeral service last week, where he was laid to rest at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles.
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