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Why Matthew Perry's death is even more devastating for famous ex Julia Roberts

The beloved Friends star died aged 54 on October 28

Matthew Perry with Julia Roberts
Hanna Fillingham
US Managing Editor
29 October 2023
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Matthew Perry's death has shocked the world, with the beloved Friends star passing away aged just 54 following a drowning accident on Saturday October 28. 

The Chandler Bing's untimely death fell on his ex-girlfriend Julia Roberts' birthday, making it all the more heartbreaking for the famous A-lister, who turned 56 the day he died. 

Julia and Matthew dated for six months, with the beloved actor detailing their relationship in his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, that was released in November 2022. 

VIDEO: Matthew Perry makes emotional revelation about friendship with Jennifer Aniston

He wrote in his book about their initial message exchange, which was as a result of Julia wanting a cameo in Friends, this then led to Matthew sending Julia three dozen roses and a witty card to encourage her even more to drop by the show, which was at the request of show co-creator creator Marta Kauffman. 

“Thus began a three-month-long courtship by daily faxes. This was pre-internet, pre-cell phones – all our exchanges were done by fax. And there were many; hundreds,” Matthew wrote in his book. 

Matthew Perry passed away on ex-girlfriend Julia Roberts' birthday© Frederick M. Brown
Matthew Perry passed away on ex-girlfriend Julia Roberts' birthday

“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. 

"When I opened it, there she was, there was a smiling Julia Roberts on the other side. I believe I said something like, ‘Oh, that Julia Roberts,’” he recalled. 

Julia Roberts wearing striped trousers© Jeff Kravitz
Julia Roberts dated Matthew Perry in the nineties

Julia later appeared in Friends when the couple were dating in 1996. During their brief romance, the couple even celebrated New Year's Eve at the star's family home in Taos, New Mexico. 

On their relationship, Matthew penned in his book: "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? 

Matthew Perry book
Matthew Perry opened up about his brief relationship with Julia Roberts in his memoir

"I was not enough; I could never be enough; I was broken, bent, unloveable. So instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts." 

Matthew's heartbroken family released a statement via People on Sunday, a day after the star's death. 

Matthew Perry with his Friends co-stars© Jim Smeal
Matthew Perry with his Friends co-stars

The wrote: "We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of our beloved son and brother. "Matthew brought so much joy to the world, both as an actor and a friend. You all meant so much to him and we appreciate the tremendous outpouring of love."

The statement came courtesy of his mother Suzanne Perry, his father John Bennett Perry, and his five half-siblings through his parents' remarriages (they split up less than a year after welcoming Matthew in 1969). 

Matthew Perry poses at a photocall for "The End Of Longing", a new play which he wrote and stars in at The Playhouse Theatre in London© David M. Benett
The Chandler Bing actor died on October 28

Matthew's passing was first reported by TMZ on Saturday, with the publication writing that the actor had been found on Saturday October 28 in his jacuzzi by his assistant, who had been sent out on errands after Matthew had returned home from a game of pickleball. 

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that officers responded to a call at the actor's address regarding the death of a male in his 50s, but did not confirm the identity of the deceased. 

Matthew found fame in the nineties for his role as Chandler in Friends, which ran for 10 years between 1992 and 2002. Other roles included The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and The Odd Couple. 

Matthew Perry poses with his father John Bennett Perry© Instagram
Matthew's last Instagram post was with his beloved father, John Perry

His movie credits include Fools Rush In, The Whole Nine Yards, and 17 Again. 

Tragically, Matthew battled with devastating addictions to alcohol and drugs, and in his memoir, he revealed he had almost died at the age of 49 when his colon burst from opioid overuse, leaving him spending weeks fighting for his life. 

The Friends actor's last Instagram post was incredibly poignant, as it was a photo with his beloved father, John Perry. The picture had been posted just this month on Monday October 16, showing the actor posing with his dad inside his apartment in Los Angeles. 

In the caption, he had written: "Here is me, and my father John, both holding a beverage."

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