Matthew Perry describes buying 100 Xanax pills in one go in the lead-up to filming The Whole Nine Yards because he ‘desperately’ wanted to drink with Bruce Willis
- Matthew Perry described bringing 100 Xanax pills with him to the production of The Whole Nine Yards so he could keep up partying with co-star Bruce Willis
- Perry, 53, described being starstruck by Willis after landing the coveted role, and drinking heavily during shooting because he wanted to befriend Willis
- The Friends star noted that Willis was merely a ‘partier,’ while he was an ‘addict’
- The revelations are the latest to come out of Perry’s explosive new Memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing
Matthew Perry said he bought 100 Xanax pills before shooting The Whole Nine Yards so he could keep up partying with co-star Bruce Willis, who he ‘desperately’ wanted to be friends with.
The Friends star said he was drinking so heavily when shooting began for the blockbuster film that he bought the pile of prescription pills to help him wind down after nights out and make it to the set the next day.
The revelations are the latest from Perry’s explosive new memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, in which he revealed his substance abuse began as early as 14-years-old.
Perry described how he landed his role in the film while relapsing, and that the problem was exacerbated by his desire to keep up with and befriend Willis, then a superstar at the height of his fame.
Perry noted that while Willis was merely a ‘partier,’ he was already struggling with dangerous levels of addiction himself.
Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis in The Whole Nine Yards. The pair co-starred in the 2000 film
Perry revealed in his new memoir that he took 100 Xanax pills with him to the filming of The Whole Nine Yards so he could drink at night and still get to work in the morning
Perry wrote about how The Whole Nine Yards fell into his lap after he’d begun drinking again following a period of sobriety.
Then about thirty-years-old, Perry described himself as star-struck by Willis, who threw all-night parties at his hotel room yet still managed to make it to the set on time.
‘So, I’d gotten The Whole Nine Yards and had embarked on a friendship with the most famous movie star on the planet, bit even I knew I was drinking way too much to pull this movie off,’ Perry wrote.
‘Desperate measures would be needed. Some might be able to party perfectly well and still show up and do the work – but they weren’t addicts like I was.’
His solution was to pick up the huge Xanax stash from a ‘friend’, which he brought along with him to film production in Montreal.
Perry wrote that he counted the pills out on his hotel bed and reviewed his plan.
‘This way I can drink with Bruce and the others but then when I’m finally alone I can just pop one of these and go to sleep,’ he recalled thinking.
‘I may have been a man with a plan, but I was also ignoring the fact that this was a completely lethal combination.’
Willis and Perry became friends while they were shooting The Whole Nine Yards. Above, they’re pictured at a part for the film’s sequel
Perry described how the cast partied each night on the hotel floor Willis had rented out – and named Club Z – but then showed up for work each following day bright and early.
‘At night, the parties raged under Bruce’s disco ball in Club Z. Somehow, everyone still managed to show up at 6:00 a.m. for work,’ he wrote.
‘I say ‘somehow,’ but I know how: those hundred Xanax worked like a charm.’
‘Though combined with my drinking they did tend to make my head resemble a Spalding Basketball. Meanwhile Mr. A-list Willis over there looked like he could open an envelope with his chin,’ he added.
Perry and Willis attending the premiere of The Whole Nine Yards. The film became a blockbuster
Perry described meeting Willis for the first time and becoming enraptured by his star-power.
‘Bruce Willis did not disappoint – he oozed A-list. He didn’t just take over a room, he was the room,’ Perry wrote.
‘Bruce laughed at all my dumb jokes – he seemed to enjoy the spectacle of a younger, funny guy paying his due respect and keeping up with his drinking (if only he knew), he added. ‘I was thrilled to be around him because he knew how to live life.’
Perry wrote that what led him to throw back so many drugs and alcohol during The Whole Nine Yards was ultimately his desire to befriend Willis without ‘sucking up’ to the him.
‘When the veil of Bruce Willis was removed, I just wanted to be his friend,’ he wrote. ‘I didn’t want to suck up to him like everybody else in the world.’
Perry noted that his destructive behavior was his and his alone, and that Willis was not responsible.
‘But there was a big difference between Bruce and me. Bruce was a partier; I was an addict,’ he said. ‘Bruce has an on-off button. He can party like crazy, then get a script like The Sixt Sense and stop partying and nail the movie sober. He doesn’t have the gene – he’s not an addict.’
In his memoir, Perry noted that Willis was merely a ‘partier,’ while he was an ‘addict’
Perry appeared on Good Morning America on Monday to talk about the book, and described how he tried to keep his drug and alcohol addiction a secret from his Friends co-stars for years,
He added that he now hopes they will but able to understand what he went through after reading the new memoir.
He noted that while writing the book was easy, reading it back became a painful process for him.
‘It was a gratifying experience to write the book, it all just poured out of me. It came easily to me to write it but then I had to read it for the Audible part of it and that was really hard.
‘Reading and it sort of disassociating a bit… thinking ‘God, what a terrible, hard life this guy has had and realizing, I’m talking about myself.
‘I felt very sorry for that person because I know what was going on in his head and it all had to be a secret. I was on a show that a lot of people were watching and trying not to have a lot of people know that,’ he said.
Perry is now a sponsor to other alcoholics, something he said he takes joy from.
Willis and Perry at the 2004 premiere of The Whole Ten Yards. The film was met with minimal success compared to its predecessor
Perry’s memoir went on sale today
In the book, he reveals how Jennifer Anniston was among the most supportive of his Friends co-stars, telling Good Morning America: ‘She was the one that reached out the most. You know, I’m really grateful to her for that.’
He also revealed in the book that he broke up with Julia Roberts because dating one of the world’s biggest stars was ‘way too much for him’.
He dished on asking Jennifer Anniston out on a date before they co-starred on Friends (she said no) and also claimed to have made out with Valerie Bertinelli while her husband was passed out.
Perry says he has been to rehab 15 times and estimates he has spent $9million on trying to be clean and sober throughout his life. Now, he says he craves a wife and children.
In his interview on Good Morning America, he said viewers of Friends could ‘track’ which drug he was taking or if he was drinking by monitoring his weight.
‘When I’m carrying weight, it’s alcohol. When I’m skinny, it’s pills.’
He guesses he has attended some 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and had detoxed 54 times, many of which were during his run on Friends.
He appeared on the show throughout its 10-year run but made a rule to never drink or take drugs on set.
‘I made a rule that I would never drink or take anything at work,’ Matthew said.
‘So I would never do that, but I would show up blindly hungover. Like shaking. I loved Chandler, I loved the show. And I knew, ‘Remember this, because it’s going to be the best time of your life.’
‘And I knew I would never forgive myself if I messed this up,’ he said.
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