Matthew Perry earned fame and fortune beyond his wildest dreams as a cast member of the pop culture phenomenon Friends. And while on the show, the beloved actor became forever embedded in the public consciousness as his quick-witted character, Chandler Bing. Understandably, too, the beloved star formed an unbreakable bond with his five co-stars during his ten-year stint on the NBC sitcom. Yet what you may not realize is that Perry also reportedly fell in love – with one of his fellow Friends actors.
Of course, anybody who knows their Hollywood history is aware that Perry is no stranger to mixing business with pleasure. In 1995, for instance, the actor began stepping out with the star of Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts. And it’s likely no coincidence that the A-lister then played Chandler Bing’s girlfriend in the 1996 Friends two-parter, “The One After the Superbowl.”
Then, in 2006, Perry entered into a relationship with actress Lizzy Caplan. The pair would also share the screen in “Ben and Vivian,” a 2011 episode of Mr. Sunshine. That was, of course, the sitcom Perry had both co-created and starred in. Just a year later, however, the couple decided to go their separate ways.
Before the fame and the love affairs, though, Perry was pretty much like everybody else. He began his acting career in his mid-teens, performing improv at Sherman Oaks’ LA Connection while still at high school. And after one-off appearances in various sitcoms, the actor finally landed the recurring role of Chazz Russell in Boys Will Be Boys. Perry then made his big-screen debut in 1988, appearing in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon.
Perry continued to rack up the TV credits, including a three-episode stint on Growing Pains. In fact, he played Valerie Bertinelli’s younger sibling in Sydney, showed up as Roger in Beverly Hills, 90210, and joined the cast of short-lived sitcom Home Free. But Perry’s life changed forever when he auditioned for the role of Chandler Bing in a brand new show.
You see, Chandler Bing joined Phoebe Buffay, Rachel Green, Joey Tribbiani and Monica and Ross Geller as the group of six central characters who would take the world by storm. Friends became nothing short of a global phenomenon after debuting on NBC in 1994, after all. And Perry’s comic timing proved to be one of the show’s biggest weapons.
For those who have somehow missed Friends over the past quarter of a century, Chandler Bing is the most sarcastic and wisecracking member of the group. And his humor is regarded as a defense mechanism for having experienced a difficult childhood. It’s eventually revealed, you see, that his mother is a writer of erotic love stories, while his father became a Las Vegas drag star.
In the show’s early seasons, too, the character is best known for his bromance with housemate Joey Tribbiani, played by Matt LeBlanc. So Chandler is seen as the intelligent half who often provides financial support for his best buddy. And in return, the more cocksure Joey helps out with dating advice. The pair also live across the hall from Monica Geller (portrayed by Courteney Cox), who is the sister of Chandler’s old schoolfriend Ross (David Schwimmer).
In the show, Chandler hands out money to Joey at a moment’s notice because he’s one of the wealthiest characters. However, a running joke is that none of his friends know exactly what it is he does. Officially, though, Chandler works in the area of statistical analysis and data reconfiguration – a job that he detests.
But like any classic sitcom character, Chandler Bing has his own catchphrase. With the emphasis placed on the third word, “Could that BE any more…” is how the character often starts his quips. Chandler is also renowned for his hard-to-quit smoking habit and his major commitment issues – brought on by the divorce of his dysfunctional parents.
In fact, Chandler’s fear of commitment first rears its head in his on/off relationship with motormouth Janice Hosenstein (Maggie Wheeler). The pair actually split up at the end of Friends’ first season. However, Chandler becomes so afraid of loneliness that he ends up calling her out of the blue in season two. Yet Janice has not only since got hitched to another man, but she’s also carrying her husband’s baby.
The Chandler-and-Janice story doesn’t end there, though. At the end of the same season, in fact, Chandler forges an online relationship with a mysterious woman. And it’s only when they agree to meet in person that he discovers that the stranger he’s been chatting to all that time is his former girlfriend. It turns out that Janice had decided to hit the internet-dating scene after being cheated on by her husband.
Unfortunately for Chandler, though, Janice isn’t ready to completely give up on her marriage. And after he later catches Janice kissing her wayward husband, Chandler realizes that he has to let her go. Yet Janice – famous for her “Oh My God” utterance – pops up from time to time throughout the show’s seven further seasons.
In the fourth season, however, Chandler finds himself in a love triangle with his BFF. Yes, the sarcastic singleton spots aspiring actress Kathy (Paget Brewster) in the gang’s Central Perk hangout and plucks up the courage to ask her out. Awkwardly, though, it turns out that Kathy is already waiting for a date – who just happens to be Chandler’s housemate, Joey.
Yet while Chandler tries to keep his feelings for Kathy in check, the pair eventually end up sharing a kiss. And after finding out about this betrayal, a distraught Joey thinks about moving out. Thankfully, though, Chandler agrees to spend some thinking time trapped in a wooden box, and the pair later manage to resolve their differences.
But all of the high drama proves to be nothing. In fact, shortly after putting his longtime friendship with Joey in great jeopardy, Chandler splits with Kathy. And it’s all his own fault, too. Jealous over a sex scene that the actress has, Chandler ultimately ends up pushing her into the arms of her co-star.
Of course, Chandler’s next love interest would shock both his friends and audiences alike. While in London to attend Ross’ wedding, you see, Chandler ends up sleeping with the groom’s sister, Monica. And the pair – who have known each other for years – end up turning their one-night stand into a full-blown relationship.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, the couple initially choose to keep their unlikely romance a secret from the rest of the gang. But one by one, each friend eventually finds out. And although Ross is first appalled, he later realizes that his best friend and sister are made for each other.
In fact, Monica and Chandler end up walking down the aisle themselves at the end of the seventh season. And by the time that Friends wraps up for good after 236 episodes, the couple have also become parents to adopted twins. Away from the cameras, too, the real-life friends have continued to flit in and out of one another’s lives ever since.
Speaking at the Summer TCA press tour in 2016, Matt LeBlanc told People that he still has a strong connection with his on-screen BFF, Perry. He said, “I love that guy! I can not see him for five years and then get in a room together and still have that shorthand with each other. It’s amazing, really. Ten years in a building with no windows and the doors locked, we got to know each other pretty well.”
Lisa Kudrow – who played Phoebe Buffay – was also keen to sing Perry’s praises in a 2019 chat with InStyle. She said, “On the last week of filming, Matthew actually gave me [Rachel and Monica’s] cookie jar as a wrap gift. Everything on the set was technically owned by Warner Bros, so he had to ask special permission to take it. And that alone meant so much to me.”
Yet not everything has always been completely rosy in the Friends world. In 2013, for instance, Perry admitted that he had attempted to keep his substance abuse problem a secret from the rest of the cast members. He told ABC News, “Mostly it was drinking, you know, and opiates. I think I was pretty good at hiding it, but, you know, eventually people were aware.”
Perry and LeBlanc were also notable by their absences at the 2015 wedding of Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston – who played Rachel Green in Friends. When asked at the Television Critics Association press tour about his no-show, Perry replied, “I wasn’t invited. So what can you do?” Perry failed to join the rest of his Friends co-stars a year later, too, at a tribute to one of the show’s directors, James Burrows.
Perry also put a spanner in the works when it came to a potential Friends reunion. For in 2016 he told Vanity Fair, “I have this recurring nightmare. I’m not kidding about this. When I’m asleep, I have this nightmare that we do Friends again and nobody cares.” But he didn’t finish there.
Yes, a refreshingly honest Perry continued talking about his nightmare. He added, “We do a whole series, we come back, and nobody cares about it. So if anybody asks me, I’m gonna say no. The thing is: we ended on such a high. We can’t beat it. Why would we go and do it again?”
Regardless, Friends fans were left more hopeful about a possible reunion in October 2019 when Aniston opened an Instagram account. That’s because the actress’ first picture on the photo-sharing platform was a selfie with all five of her Friends co-stars. The snap was liked by over eight million people within 24 hours of being uploaded.
Then, a month later, Courteney Cox also nearly broke the internet with a photo of herself and Perry. Referencing both Monica Geller and Chandler Bing’s famous catchphrases, the actress captioned the snap, “Guess who I had lunch with today… I know!! Could I be any happier?” She concluded with the hashtag #realfriends
And several of their fellow Friends castmates were quick to respond to the photo. Lisa Kudrow replied, “Lucky, lucky. #beautifulpeople,” while Aniston commented, “I love you, guys.” Of course, the image also sparked a rumor that had previously surfaced several years beforehand. Yes, according to various sources, this was more proof that Perry was head-over-heels in love with his former on-screen wife.
In fact, an unnamed insider apparently told Us Weekly that Perry’s feelings about Cox were nothing new. They allegedly said, “Matthew’s always been in love with her. Matthew has never fully been able to get over her.” The source also apparently claimed that “any girl he’s tried to date looked similar to Courteney.”
Reports about a possible romance between the pair actually first emerged in 2015 when Cox briefly split from singer/songwriter Johnny McDaid. In fact, rumors spread that Perry had comforted his Friends co-star during this difficult time and that their once platonic relationship had turned into a romantic one.
At the time, for instance, another anonymous source allegedly told blogger Perez Hilton, “It’s no surprise that Matthew was one of the first people Courteney called after Johnny left her. They’ve leaned on each other before. There isn’t any pressure to put a label on it just yet, but they’re excited to see where this might go.” But was there any other evidence to back this up?
Well, body language expert Judi James believes there are signs of romantic feelings between the pair. As she told The Sun in 2019, “A generation of fans identified with the Friends cast and grew up alongside them, meaning we part-believe their characters exist in real life. It’s not hard to see that theirs has been a genuinely intense relationship.”
James also pored over different photos of the pair to make her observations. She added, “At times their body language suggests sibling bonding with each looking out for the other. Although there are some clues in their poses that the rumors of unrequited or even reciprocated love do hold water.” But that wasn’t all.
The National Enquirer also got in on the act with a story headlined, “Courteney’s Last-Ditch Plan To Save Matthew!” In the accompanying article, the long-running tabloid alleged that Cox had told Perry that “the door is open for a romance.” But there was apparently one condition. According to the report, Perry apparently had to get his act together first.
As yet another unnamed source supposedly explained, “She’s told Matt that he’s a charming, wonderful guy with a lot to offer. But she’s not interested in dating someone with too much baggage. If Matt can stay sober for a sustained period of time and keep his nose clean, the word is Courteney will give him a shot.”
But such talk appeared to be somewhat wishful thinking. You see, the rumors initially started when a picture emerged of Perry and Cox enjoying a spot of lunch. Yet the Sunday Mirror newspaper revealed that the photo had been taken back in 2005 – not long after Friends had finished for good.
Besides, even if Perry had happened to have romantic feelings for Cox, they seem unlikely to have been reciprocated. That’s because while Cox may have split from musician boyfriend McDaid in early 2016 – just months after they’d gotten engaged – the pair have since reconciled. They’re still together, too, though they’ve yet to walk down the aisle.
In November 2019 a source apparently told In Touch Weekly that Cox and the rest of the Friends gang had also been playing matchmaker on behalf of Perry. And this was just a week after the actress had uploaded the mini-reunion picture that had gotten everyone’s tongues wagging. The source then reportedly claimed that Perry had been trying online dating without much luck.
As the insider supposedly went on to claim, “His former co-stars think he should ditch them to meet a more appropriate woman. They’re rallying around Matt to make him feel loved, especially Courteney, who hates seeing her pal so lonely. While their careers have flourished since Friends, Matt’s spent years battling his demons and rarely leaves the house.”
Whatever the real story, though, Perry will next be contributing to a HBO Max special about Friends. Yes, although the Central Park gang still haven’t agreed to a full-blown reunion, they are reportedly in talks to appear in an unscripted one-off show about the hit sitcom. All six main cast members, alongside co-creators Marta Kauffmann and David Crane, are expected to feature as well.
Yet Kathleen Turner – who played Chandler’s dad on the show – is likely not to be invited. That’s because in 2018 Turner had a refreshingly frank and dirt-dishing chat with Vulture that caused quite a stir. So here’s a look at how the Hollywood legend dragged everyone from Nicolas Cage to the beloved cast of Friends in style.
Born in Springfield, Missouri, in 1954, Kathleen Turner was initially deterred from pursuing her acting ambitions by her strict Christian parents. But after studying at Missouri State University for a couple of years, she then transferred to the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she earned a degree in theater. Turner then made her first appearance on screen in a 1979 episode of NBC soap The Doctors.
Turner ventured into cinema as well, playing femme fatale Matty Walker in 1981’s Body Heat. She would ultimately draw comparisons with Lauren Bacall, thanks to her famously deep voice. And the move into movies paid off, too, as in 1985 Turner would win a Golden Globe for her performance in Romancing the Stone. That year, she also reunited with Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas for the romantic adventure’s sequel, The Jewel of the Nile.
Turner’s personal life took a turn during this period, too, as in 1984 she walked down the aisle with Jay Weiss, a real estate mogul. The pair also welcomed their one and only child, Rachel Ann, into the world in 1987. However, after 23 years of marriage, the couple announced their divorce in 2007. Turner later revealed that she and Weiss remained good friends.
And Turner attracted awards attention for her roles alongside Jack Nicholson in Prizzi’s Honor and Nicolas Cage in Peggy Sue Got Married. She enjoyed acclaim, too, as the voice of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Sadly, though, the star was forced to withdraw from Hollywood at the peak of her career due to an ongoing battle with rheumatoid arthritis.
Turner even had to reject high-profile parts in The Bridges of Madison County and Ghost because of the condition. And although she did later star in critical hits House of Cards and Serial Mom, her status as leading lady had disappeared by the mid-1990s. Turner subsequently became a supporting player with roles in the likes of A Simple Wish and The Virgin Suicides.
Thankfully, though, Turner eventually received the news that her arthritis had gone into remission. Her career continued apace, too, with the star putting in a memorable guest appearance as Chandler Bing’s drag queen father in Friends. She later made cameos in Nip/Tuck and Law and Order, enjoyed a ten-episode stint as Charlie’s boss in Californication and added to her big-screen credits with Marley and Me and Dumb and Dumber To.
But alongside her voice and accomplished acting abilities, Turner is renowned for speaking her mind. Perhaps that’s why The New York Times has hailed her as a “certifiable diva”; former co-star Eileen Atkins has also described the actress as an “amazing nightmare.” However, the star later refuted these claims of being “difficult,” telling Vulture in 2018 that such talk was “pure gender crap.”
It was during this same interview that Turner gave a whole host of actors past and present a tongue-lashing. Elizabeth Taylor was the first to incur her wrath. Asked whether she’d seen the legend portraying Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? before assuming the role herself, Turner replied, “God no. Quite the opposite. For a while, I felt like half my life was making her wrongs right.”
Turner then switched her attention to another Hollywood veteran – one whom she refused to name on record. She said, “[She] has played the same role for 20 years. She even looks pretty much the same. She’s probably one of the richest women out there, but I would shoot myself if I were like that, only giving people what they expect.”
Nicolas Cage, her Peggy Sue Got Married co-star, was the next to get it in the neck. “He was very difficult on set,” Turner replied when asked about Cage’s choice to adopt a strange voice for the film. She added, “If anything, [Cage’s portrayal] only further illustrated my character’s disillusionment with the past. The way I saw it was, yeah, he was that asshole.”
And this wasn’t the first time that Turner had taken aim at Cage. In her 2008 autobiography, Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles, she claimed that the actor had stolen a chihuahua while under the influence. Cage later won a lawsuit in response to the allegations.
And Turner also called out Burt Reynolds – who passed away just a month after the interview was published – for his behavior. She said, “Working with Burt Reynolds was terrible. The first day Burt came in, he made me cry. He said something about not taking second place to a woman. His behavior was shocking.”
Turner then spilled the beans about her first big-screen co-star, William Hurt. She revealed, “Bill can be very odd. I remember one night while we were shooting Body Heat we were sitting around, and for some reason he wanted to talk about how we’d each like to die… God, you did not want to get Bill talking too much.”
Donald Trump was perhaps the least surprising subject of a Turner character assassination. Asked whether she’d met the president, she replied, “Yes. He has this gross handshake. He goes to shake your hand and with his index finger kind of rubs the inside of your wrist. He’s trying to do some kind of seductive intimacy move. You pull your hand away and go, ‘Yuck.’”
However, it was Turner’s comments about working on Friends that may have attracted the most attention. She said of her time on the show, “I’ll be quite honest, which is my wont: I didn’t feel very welcomed by the cast. I remember I was wearing this difficult sequined gown — and my high heels were absolutely killing me. I found it odd that none of the actors thought to offer me a seat.”
But Turner didn’t take their behavior personally. She added, “The Friends actors were such a clique — but I don’t think my experience with them was unique. I think it was simply that they were such a tight little group that nobody from the outside mattered.”
And Turner’s refreshingly candid approach to the celebrity interview received a glowing response from Twitter commenters. “I would listen to a 100-episode podcast series that’s just Kathleen Turner talking s**t about Nicolas Cage,” writer Maris Kreizman wrote. “Teach me everything, Kathleen Turner,” joked Vanity Fair’s deputy editor, Katey Rich.
Even some of Turner’s Hollywood peers took to Twitter to express their admiration at her no-holds-barred attitude. Patton Oswalt said, for instance, “I want to hang out with Kathleen Turner. Read this interview and so will you.” Many readers also enjoyed guessing the identity of the unnamed actress who’d played the same role for 20 years to whom she had referred.
And the Vulture interview wasn’t the end of all the revelations. A month later, the star discussed her career further in her second published book, Kathleen Turner on Acting: Conversations about Film, Television, and Theater. “Truly what I hope most out of this, Kathleen Turner On Acting, is to have people take risks, to have them make choices and not just accept,” Turner told Good Morning America.