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Lauren Graham Reveals Last Gift She Received From "Almost" Boyfriend Matthew Perry

The actors were never officially together, but stayed close over the years.

Lauren Graham and Matthew Perry may have never technically dated, but they remain one of Hollywood's most favorite almost couples of the early aughts. Following Perry's rise to fame on Friends and Graham's stint on the original Gilmore Girls, the duo collaborated on a few projects, including the 2008 movie Birds of America, and they became close friends. Recently, the 57-year-old Parenthood star looked back on their close, somewhat undefined relationship, including the last birthday gift the late actor gave her.

RELATED: Ione Skye Reveals Final Text Conversation With Childhood Friend Matthew Perry.

Perry died on Oct. 28, 2023 from "drowning, coronary artery disease, and buprenorphine effects" due to "acute effects of ketamine," according to the autopsy report obtained by People. He was 54 years old, and his tell-all memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, had just been published 11 months prior.

"It's still really hard to believe…a terrible loss," Graham said of her friend's sudden passing, while taking fan questions during the Washington D.C. stop of her Have I Told You This Already? book tour on April 5, per People.

"No one made me laugh as hard. Just tears, streaming. There was just such joy in being around him and being his friend," the actor said of Perry while appearing on CBS Mornings in Nov. 2023.

As for whether their close-knit friendship ever became something more, Graham said in her recent Q&A that Perry was always a "friend and a constant" in her life. The Parenthood actor opened up about their could-have-been relationship further, adding, "While he was not technically ever a boyfriend, he was an almost in my life."

"We would stretch for a year, then he would come back in my life, and he had just come back in my life last year," she continued, noting they had last reconnected around her birthday in March 2023. For her 56th trip around the sun, Graham said Perry had gotten her "a pickleball set," which she joked was actually one of his favorite sports.

"He's like really into tennis and pickleball," she told the crowd at her book event, as reported by People. Along with the pickleball set, Graham said she received a handwritten card that read, "Be older," which was met with laughter from the audience.

According to Perry's pickleball coach, the sport was a positive beam of light during his recovery. "I started with him about two years ago and I would bring all different types of people to come and play with him, and he would bring people, too, and people dealing with recovery issues," Matt Manasse told NBC News last October. "He fell in love with the sport and he really wanted to use it for his recovery."

At her book event, Graham said she's found peace knowing the positive influence Perry's memoir has had on others—and that he had the chance to experience that as well.

"The solace I take from having seen him at the time I saw him was he was so thrilled with how his book was received—and not just because it was a huge success, but because his life's work kind of became, 'How can I give back? How can I talk about the struggles I had and hopefully help someone else?'" she remarked.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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