‘Finally free’: Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox pay tribute to Matthew Perry

Pop Culture

More than two weeks after his death, the first of Matthew Perry‘s Friends co-stars have shared personal tributes to the late comedian.

On Tuesday, both Matt LeBlanc and Courteney Cox shared memories to Instagram of their time working with Perry on the hit U.S. sitcom.

LeBlanc, whose character Joey Tribbiani was best friends and roommates with Perry’s Chandler Bing, shared a selection of photos from the set of Friends, including two pictures of them embracing.

“Matthew. It is with a heavy heart I say goodbye,” his post begins.

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“The times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life. It was an honor to share the stage with you and to call you my friend.

“I will always smile when I think of you and I’ll never forget you. Never. Spread your wings and fly brother you’re finally free.

“Much love. And I guess you’re keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.”

Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing.

Gary Null / NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Cox, whose character Monica Geller married Chandler Bing, shared an extended clip of the familiar scene where their characters try to hide their one-night stand from their friends.

“I am so grateful for every moment I had with you Matty and I miss you every day,” she began her post.

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“When you work with someone as closely as I did with Matthew, there are thousands of moments I wish I could share. For now here’s one of my favorites.

“To give a little backstory, Chandler and Monica were supposed to have a one night fling in London. But because of the audience’s reaction, it became the beginning of their love story.

“In this scene, before we started rolling, he whispered a funny line for me to say. He often did things like that. He was funny and he was kind.”

News of Perry’s death broke late last month after he was found “unconscious in a stand-alone jacuzzi” by law enforcement officials in his Pacific Palisades home on Oct. 28. The Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed the 54-year-old had been “deceased prior to the first responder’s arrival.” The official cause of death has yet to be confirmed pending a toxicology report.

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Days later, the surviving cast said they were mourning the “unfathomable” death.

Cox, LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer released a joint statement to the media saying there were “so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew.”

“We were more than just cast mates. We are a family.”

The co-stars said they would have more to say about Perry and his death “as and when we are able,” adding they were sending their thoughts and love to Perry’s family, friends and fans.

Perry’s death came one year after the publication of his memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, which chronicled his decades-long struggle with addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol. At the time, Perry said he had been sober for about 18 months.

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Perry, Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc and Schwimmer were catapulted to worldwide fame shortly after Friends debuted in 1994. The sitcom remained a highly watched hit throughout its 10 seasons and remains popular on streaming.

‘Friends’ cast (L-R):, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc in 2000.

CP Images Archive

The cast reunited for a reunion special in 2021 on HBO Max where Perry talked about their continued bond, which lasted well beyond the end of the show.

“The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it. That was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long and that was it,” Perry said.

“You apologized to the people you were with, but they had to understand you had met somebody special to you and you were going to talk to that person for the rest of the night,” he continued. “And that’s the way it worked.”

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