Matthew Perry Spilled the Tea on Friends' Cast Salary: It's Not What You'd Expect

Matthew Perry Spilled the Tea on Friends' Cast Salary: It's Not What You'd Expect
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A battle with addiction, "Friends" behind-the-scene secrets and those historical paychecks.

In his memoir, released in 2022, Matthew Perry, the actor best known for playing Chandler Bing on "Friends," write about his lifelong battles with addiction with unprecedented honesty. Titled "Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing," Perry details the staggering toll of his struggles, including numerous rehab stints, medical emergencies, and an astronomical sum spent on trying to get clean.

From consuming 60 cigarettes and 55 Vicodin pills daily to being in a coma after his colon exploded, Perry leaves no stone unturned. He also reveals that during the pandemic, he was in a Swiss rehab clinic where he duped the staff into administering high doses of Oxycontin and ketamine infusions. In a tragic incident, Perry experienced heart failure for five minutes due to the medications.

Notably, he also spent a small fortune of $350,000 on private jets, commuting between Switzerland and America. Why? He discovered he couldn't obtain the same medication back in Los Angeles.

However, Perry's book isn't just an unfiltered account of his battle with addiction. It also highlights his time on the beloved TV series "Friends." Among the most intriguing revelations, Perry credits David Schwimmer for the cast's sky-high salaries. Turns out, it's Schwimmer who is the unsung hero behind the cast's hefty paychecks.

"By season eight, we were making a million dollars per episode; by season ten we were making even more. We were making $1,100,040 an episode, and we were asking to do fewer episodes. Morons, all of us. We had David's goodness, and his astute business sense, to thank for what we had been offered. I owe you about $30 million, David. (We were still morons.)," Perry writes.

Of course, nowadays a salary of $1 million per episode of a TV show is not something revolutionary. After all, the biggest stars of TBBT and Game of Thrones all earned around a million per episode in the final seasons of their respective shows. However, given that the last seasons of 'Friends' aired early in the 2000s, these paychecks were almost unprecedented at the time.

We all knew "Friends" cast cared for each other, being friends in real life and all. But their relationship – almost family-like – goes way beyond salary negotiations, apparently. The "Friends" family had Perry's back when he hit rock bottom. They staged an intervention after Season 5 and supported him during Season 9 (which Perry describes as the only time he was completely sober), the only season for which he was nominated for an Emmy.