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"Friends" Star Reveals Doctors Once Gave Him a "2 Percent Chance to Live"

Matthew Perry was hospitalized in 2018. Now, he's opening up about the experience.

Over the years, Friends star Matthew Perry has opened up about his experience with drug and alcohol addiction and the fact that he's been to rehab multiple times. But, in his new memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry goes further in depth about his struggles, including having a near-death experience only a few years ago.

As reported by People, in the book (out Nov. 1), Perry reveals that doctors gave him a "two percent chance to live" during his lengthy hospitalization. He told the magazine that he decided to open up now, because he feels "safe from going into the dark side of everything again." Read on to see what the actor shared.

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Perry nearly died four years ago.

Matthew Perry at "The Kennedys: After Camelot" premiere in 2017
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

In his interview with People about his book, Perry, now 53, shared that when he was 49, he was in a coma for two weeks and hospitalized for five months after his colon burst due to the overuse of opioids. He also had to use a colostomy bag for nine months.

After he was admitted to the hospital, "the doctors told [his] family that I had a two percent chance to live." He told People, "I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."

He didn't share how serious his condition was at the time.

Matthew Perry at "The End of Longing" opening night after-party in 2017
Mike Pont/WireImage via Getty Images

When Perry was hospitalized in 2018, he didn't publicly share as many details about the situation as he is now, but his representative did release a statement that he was in the hospital and undergoing surgery.

"Matthew Perry recently underwent surgery in a Los Angeles hospital to repair a gastrointestinal perforation," his rep told People in August 2018.

Then, in September 2018, Perry tweeted, "Three months in a hospital bed. Check."

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His health issues inspire him to stay sober.

The cast of "Friends" at the 2002 Emmy Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

All told, Perry has had 14 stomach surgeries. "That's a lot of reminders to stay sober," he told the magazine. "All I have to do is look down."

He also explained that his therapist gave him some advice that affected his outlook. "My therapist said, 'The next time you think about taking Oxycontin, just think about having a colostomy bag for the rest of your life,'" he remembered. "And a little window opened and I crawled through it and I no longer want Oxycontin anymore."

Perry did not share how long he has been sober currently, but he said that he counts the days himself. As for how serious his substance use issues were in the past, at one point during Friends, he was taking 55 Vicodin per day.

He hopes sharing his story will offer support.

Matthew Perry at the CBS TCA July 2014 party
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Perry is very familiar with using his own experience with addiction to help others. He opened The Perry House, a sober-living facility in 2013, but sold the location two years later, telling The Hollywood Reporter that it was "too expensive to run" and that he hoped to relocate elsewhere.

Now, Perry is hoping to help others by sharing his whole story in his memoir. "There were five people put on an ECMO machine that night and the other four died and I survived," he told People. "So the big question is why? Why was I the one? There has to be some kind of reason."

He continued, "I say in the book that if I did die, it would shock people, but it wouldn't surprise anybody. And that's a very scary thing to be living with. So my hope is that people will relate to it, and know that this disease attacks everybody. It doesn't matter if you're successful or not successful, the disease doesn't care."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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