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Matthew Perry Reflects On Quitting 'Don't Look Up' After His Heart Stopped for Five Minutes

Home / News / Matthew Perry Reflects On Quitting 'Don't Look Up' After His Heart Stopped for Five Minutes

By Favour Adegoke on October 27, 2022 at 11:30 AM EDT

Actor Matthew Perry has opened up about leaving "Don't Look Up" amid his addiction struggles.

The actor who was scheduled to play a supporting role in the 2021 Netflix film had to quit the project due to health issues. In an excerpt from his upcoming book, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry described a situation in which his opiate addiction nearly cost him his life. He also cited how his heart stopped beating during a surgery prep.

The "Friends" actor also talked about other instances from his battle with addiction in the book. He recently revealed that he wrote the memoir to help those going through similar experiences.

Read on to learn more.

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Matthew Perry's Substance Abused Caused The Incident

Premiere of Reelz apos s apos The Kennedys After Camelot apos in Los Angeles

According to Rolling Stone, the Friends alum who is set to debut his upcoming book, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, disclosed that he had entered a treatment facility around the time he was offered a part in the apocalypse-themed movie directed by Adam McKay.

The actor, who has a lengthy history of abusing opiates, revealed that he attempted to dupe the doctors into prescribing him painkillers. Although he wasn't actually in agony, he made up a narrative about having terrible stomach discomfort that led to the physicians prescribing him hydrocodone.

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The medical professionals also informed Perry that surgery would be necessary to address his pain issues fully. Before the surgery, he was administered the anesthesia drug propofol, which caused his heart to stop beating as he had indulged in the hydrocodone from the previous night.

"I was given the shot at 11:00 a.m.," Perry said in an excerpt of his memoir, per E! News." I woke up eleven hours later in a different hospital. Apparently, the propofol had stopped my heart. For five minutes. It wasn't a heart attack—I didn't flatline—but nothing had been beating."

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Matthew Perry Broke Eight Ribs

2013 White House Correspondents Dinner Arrivals

Upon realizing that he was no longer breathing, the medical staff went into full emergency mode and tried to save him.

The actor wrote, "I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn't want the guy from Friends dying on his table and did CPR on me for the full five minutes, beating and pounding my chest," he added. "If I hadn't been on Friends, would he have stopped at three minutes? Did Friends save my life again?"

However, the actor ended up breaking eight ribs as a result of the pressure used during CPR. The pain from the injury made it impossible for Perry to go back to the "Don't Look Up" set, leading him to make the "heartbreaking" decision of leaving the project. The actor did get to record one scene, which was ultimately deleted from the final cut.

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Matthew Perry's Struggle With Addiction

Matthew Perry at MCC Theater The End Of Longing Media Day

Another awful experience Perry wrote about in his upcoming memoir was how his weight dropped to 128 pounds due to his addiction. The actor also shared that he was popping 55 Vicodin tablets daily at the height of his addiction, along with a sizable amount of booze.

His drug use ultimately resulted in a gastrointestinal perforation, which led to him being admitted to the ICU with a survival rate of only 2%. The actor ultimately spent five months in the hospital at the time, with the first two weeks being in a comatose state. He also had to go through the discomfort of using a colostomy bag for nine months.

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"I'm pretty healthy now," Perry opened up to People in a recent interview, confirming he had made a full recovery since that incident. "I've got to not go to the gym much more, because I don't want to only be able to play superheroes. But no, I'm a pretty healthy guy right now."

'Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing'

Matthew Perry

Perry's memoir is scheduled to debut on November 1, 2022, and will give further insight into other experiences in the actor's life in addition to his addiction struggles.

In his interview with People, Perry shared that he wrote the book to help other individuals who were going through similar situations. He also explained why he held off on telling his story for a while.

"I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again," the actor disclosed to the outlet. "I had to wait until I was pretty safely sober — and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction — to write it all down. And the main thing was, I was pretty certain that it would help people."

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