Fans were shocked to see and hear Matthew Perry slurring his words with a vacant look on his face in the official trailer to promote the highly-anticipated Friends reunion. However, OK! has learned that things were much worse behind the scenes.
"Remember, this is the 'official video.' These are the very best parts of the reunion that have been released to promote the show. If this is the best soundbite they have of Matthew, can you imagine the worst — the footage that is so bad it will never air?" asks a TV insider.
In the promotional clip, released Wednesday, May 19, Perry — who has had a long public struggle with addiction — was slurring his words and staring off into the distance.
"It was obvious to everyone that something was wrong. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc all knew it and worked as a team to get him through it,” the source tells OK!, referring to Perry's iconic costars, who have worked together on the show from 1994-2004.
The source notes that Perry's current state made the rest of the cast look great. "It was almost cruel to watch him sitting next to them," the insider continues, "but it would have been even crueler to totally cut him out."
Insiders add that a lot of TV tricks were used to help out the actor, as producers didn't depend on Perry to lead any segments and made sure to focus the camera on Aniston as well as the other cast members.
As OK! reported, Perry has been very open about his past struggles, and a source spills that he is set to pen a memoir about his addiction hurdles, love woes and health problems. "He's been secretly writing his memoir for a while now, and it promises to be one of the juiciest reads in years," an OK! source previously dished.
Luckily, Perry's Friends costars have been by his side through it all. After things reportedly fizzled with talent agent Molly Hurwitz in May, OK! learned Perry turned to his "friends and family" to help build him back up — in fact, Cox checked in on him with frequent phone calls and texts. Perry and Hurwitz have since reconciled and are planning a "casual wedding" this summer.
During the Friends reunion, which was held at the show's original soundstage, Stage 24, in Burbank, Calif., the cast performs a table read of the classic episode "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" — when the gang learn that Monica (Cox) and Chandler (Perry) are dating — and tackle the big question: "Were Ross and Rachel on a break?"
The non-scripted celebration, hosted by late-night host James Corden, of the NBC 10-season series premieres on HBO Max on Thursday, May 27.