Like the theme song says: I’ll be there for you… when the internet comments start to fall… Or something like that.

It seems like the principle applies no matter how long you’ve been involved in the Friends family. Of course, the main cast has always had each other’s backs, which is clear from the recent reunion. But even a recent addition like Ben Winston, who directed the HBO Max special, is willing to jump into the fray and come to a Friend’s defense.

That Friend is Matthew Perry, who has been the subject of serious speculation following the reunion. A lot of fans felt he was speaking oddly or slurring his words, or just generally behaving “off,” with some wondering aloud if it was a health issue caused by his years of drug abuse — or even a potential relapse.

But Winston was supportive of the actor on The Hollywood Reporter’s podcast, TV’s Top 5. He said:

“He was great. People can sometimes just be unkind. I wish they weren’t.”

The Late Late Show with James Corden executive producer added:

“I loved working with him. He’s a brilliantly funny man and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show. I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this.”

The iconic series’ co-creator, Kevin Bright, shared similar sentiments in a previous THR interview about the reunion. He revealed:

“I talked to him. It was great seeing him again. And what people say is what people say. I don’t have any to say about that, except it was great to see him. And I think he’s very funny on the show. But yes, I think he’s OK. He seems stronger and better since the last time I saw him, and excited about going forward.”

The Fools Rush In star suffered from alcoholism and a Vicodin addiction during the Friends years, and has multiple stays in rehab under his belt. But a source reassured The Sun that the 51-year-old was still sober, chalking his strange speech patterns up to recent dental surgery. They said:

“Matthew turned up to the reunion and members of his team said that he had an emergency tooth procedure that day. Obviously no one wants to film after a procedure, but it happened.”

Ah! Well, that’s an answer for all those fans.

Amidst all the speculation, the sitcom alum seemingly suspended his Cameo account, where he had been charging big bucks to make videos for fans. This further aroused suspicion that something might be amiss, though his reasoning could just as easily be related to the negative media attention right now.

The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, so we have compassion if Matthew is indeed struggling right now. But we hope his friends and coworkers are corrected when they say he’s doing great, and hopefully none of the “unkind” commentary is bringing him down.

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