Chandler Bing was one of the most famous sitcom characters ever on one of the most popular television shows – “Friends” – in history.
As “Friends” became a hit, so too did the man playing Bing, Matthew Perry. But what the millions of people tuning in every Thursday night to see Perry on the small screen didn’t know is that this “Friend” had a secret.
“Mostly it was drinking, you know, and opiates,” Perry, 43, told ABC News’ Cecilia Vega of his addictions. “I think I was pretty good at hiding it but, you know, eventually people were aware.”
Perry’s addictions sent him to rehab multiple times, including one stint that shut down production on 2002′s “Serving Sara” for three months. His weight and appearance went up and down as well, all while he was very much in the public eye.
“I honestly recoil,” Perry said of looking back at paparazzi photos from those days. “It’s scary to look at that. I was a sick guy.”
Since “Friends” went off the air in 2004, Perry has appeared in a few feature films and well as short-lived television productions, including his 2006 series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which was dropped by NBC after the first season because of poor ratings; “The End of Steve,” a dark comedy that was scrapped after just one episode; “Mr. Sunshine,” an ABC comedy that ran in 2011, and “Go On,” an NBC comedy which was cancelled in May.
Perry’s struggles with depression and alcohol and prescription drug addiction were widely covered by entertainment magazines and TV shows, something he now says actually helped in his recovery.
“I couldn’t just walk into a bar,” he said. “Everybody in the bar would go, ‘You, you can’t do that. I just read that you can’t do that. You can’t. You can’t.”
Now sober, Perry is on a mission to help other addicts find a path to recovery. The “Friends” star has turned his former home in Malibu, Calif., into a sober living home where men can go to transition from rehab to the real world.
Perry worked with addiction specialist Earl Hightower to open the home, called Perry House. The two men were honored at the White House earlier this month with the Champion of Recovery award from the Obama Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“Champions of Recovery, which is a very surreal thing, we’re award-winning alcoholics,” Perry joked.
“I’m very proud of him,” Hightower told ABC News’ Vega.
While Perry has focused his attention on his own recovery and helping others, his fans’ attention has been focused on the rumors swirling in recent months of a possible “Friends” reunion.
“I don’t think so,” Perry said of the chance the six would get back together. “It would be terrible to do something and have it not be good.”
“It was so terrific,” he said. “If we did a movie and it sucked, then it would, you know, blemish it.”
One chance to see all the “Friends” reunited, albeit without a script and definitely not on the big screen, could be the upcoming nuptials of “Friends” star Jennifer Aniston to her fiance, Justin Theroux.
“I would assume I’ll be there,” Perry said cryptically, staying mum on all other details of a “Friends” wedding.
ABC News’ Luchina Fisher contributed to this report.