Mathew Perry has admitted the pressure of filming "Friends" left him feeling as if he was "going to die."
The revelation came during the hit 90s sitcom reunion special that aired Thursday and took his fellow castmates by surprise.
"You didn't tell us that. I don't remember you ever saying that," Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay in the show, said to Perry, according to CNN.
"Oh yeah, I felt like that every single night," he replied.
Perry has previously opened up about his struggles with drugs and alcoholism, which he said left him in a daze for three seasons of "Friends," but until now he has not spoken about anxieties specifically related to being in front of the camera – and a live studio audience.
"To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn't laugh," he said of his experience. "And it's not healthy, for sure."
Perry played Chandler for 10 seasons, from 1994 to 2004. He was 24 when he landed the part and for all those years he battled in silence.
"I would sometimes say a line and they wouldn't laugh and I would sweat and just, like, go into convulsions. If I didn't get the laugh I was supposed to get, I would freak out," he explained.
Fans have been worried about Perry since the promo video for the "Friends" reunion dropped last week. During scenes previewed, he has a labored speech pattern and a faraway stare while speaking with Kudrow as well as former co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc about their time shooting the sitcom. The concerns were valid. Perry has had multiple stints in rehab over the years, and the video sparked fear he might have relapsed, but the speculation was cleared up by The Sun.
"Matthew turned up to the reunion and members of his team said that he had an emergency tooth procedure that day," a source told the outlet. "That was said to impact his wellbeing and also how he was feeling. He had been in pain from what we understand, which caused the slurred speech.
"Obviously no one wants to film after a procedure, but it happened. The feeling was one of huge sympathy for Matthew especially in recent days given how people have reacted online," the source continued. "Matthew has told those around him that he is sober, and there is no need to worry."
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