Julia Roberts Addresses Ex Matthew Perry's Death and Reflects on 'Friends' Cameo (Exclusive)
The actress is reflecting on the "heartbreaking" death of her ex-boyfriend, Matthew Perry.
5:19 AM PST, December 4, 2023
Julia Roberts is reflecting on the "heartbreaking" loss of Matthew Perry.The 56-year-old actress recalled her brief stint on Friends in a new interview with ET's Kevin Frazier, offering her heartfelt reaction to Perry's untimely death.
"All good thoughts and feelings," Roberts said of her experience on the beloved sitcom, when she guest starred as a childhood classmate of Perry's Chandler Bing in the 1996 episode, "The One After the Super Bowl." Perry later wrote in his 2022 memoir that, off camera, he and Roberts had engaged in a "three-month-long courtship" at the time.
"They were all so welcoming to me as just a kind of a one-off character and it was a really fun time," she continued.
"The sudden passing of anybody so young is heartbreaking," Roberts said of her ex. "I think that, you know, it just helps all of us just appreciate what we have and to keep going in a positive way as best we can."
Friends references are a recurring theme in Roberts' new film, Leave the World Behind. The apocalyptic thriller also stars Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Myha'la. It is in theaters now and will be streaming on Netflix beginning Dec. 8.
"It's beautiful he could sort of be honored in that way," Ali told ET of the way Friends is subtly included in the film. "Or the show sort of be honored, coincidentally, at this time. So it's kinda nice that it has a little space in there."
Perry died on Oct. 28. He was 54.Liaison
In his book, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry gave details about his romance with Roberts in the '90s. It began, he wrote, when the latter was considering her guest role on Friends.
"I sent her three dozen red roses and the card read: 'The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have an excuse to send you flowers,'" he recalled in the book, going on to detail the timeline of their relationship.
"Three or four times a day I would sit by my fax machine and watch the piece of paper slowly revealing her next missive," he wrote. "I was so excited that some nights I would find myself out at some party sharing a flirtatious exchange with an attractive woman and cut the conversation short so I could race home and see if a new fax had arrived."
He praised Roberts for her faxes and her intellect, writing, "It was like she was placed on this planet to make the world smile, and now, in particular, me. I was grinning like some 15-year-old on his first date."
He noted that by the time they filmed her episode, they were already a couple. Perry also recalled a February 1996 appearance from Roberts on The Late Show With David Letterman where she jokingly confirmed their romance.
"Two months later, I was single," Perry added. "Dating Julia Roberts had been too much for me. I had been constantly certain that she was going to break up with me. Why would she not? I was not enough; I could never be enough; I was broken, bent, unlovable."
He continued that the pressures of dating such a famous star made him decide to break up with her.
"Instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts," he wrote. "She might have considered herself slumming it with a TV guy, and TV guy was now breaking up with her. I can’t begin to describe the look of confusion on her face."Getty
In the weeks following his passing, Perry's family launched The Matthew Perry Foundation in honor of his enduring commitment to helping others struggling with the disease of addiction.
"It is important to us as a family to honor Matthew's legacy," his family said in a statement to ET earlier this month. "The potential that the Matthew Perry Foundation has to help those suffering with this disease is something we are proud to bring to the world."