Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Matthew Perry reveals his heart stopped beating for five minutes: Doctor ‘broke eight of my ribs’ doing CPR

Actor questioned whether doctors would have continued CPR as long had he not been on ‘Friends’

Annabel Nugent
Tuesday 25 October 2022 19:54 BST
Matthew Perry opens up about time Jennifer Aniston confronted him over addictions

Matthew Perry pulled out of Don’t look Up after his heart stopped for five minutes.

The Friends star was supposed to appear in Adam McKay’s Netflix hit when a medical emergency precluded him from doing so.

As reported by Rolling Stone, Perry, 53, was set to play a Republican journalist in the film and had even shot a scene with Jonah Hill when he was forced to exit over his health.

In his forthcoming memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry wrote that the film – which would have seen him share scenes with Oscar-winner Meryl Streep – would have been the “biggest movie I’d gotten ever”.

Perry was in rehab at the time of filming. When the actor went to the rehab centre in Switzerland, he lied to his doctors about having severe stomach pain in order to get prescribed hydrocodone, an opioid used to treat pain and as a cough suppressant.

“In fact, I was ok,” he wrote. “It still felt like I was constantly doing a sit-up, so it was very uncomfortable, but it wasn’t pain.”

In order to alleviate his discomfort, the doctors wanted Perry to undergo surgery to “put some kind of weird medical device in my back”.

Celebrity Birthdays - Aug. 14-20 (AP2009)

The actor took hydrocodone the night before his surgery. When he was administered propofol, an anaesthesia drug, during the procedure, a combination of the two medications stopped his heart.

Perry wrote: “I was given the shot at 11am. I woke up eleven hours later in a different hospital. Apparently, the propofol had stopped my heart. For five minutes.”

He continued: “It wasn’t a heart attack – I didn’t flatline – but nothing had been beating. I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from Friends dying on his table and did CPR on me for the full five minutes, beating and pounding my chest. If I hadn’t been on Friends, would he have stopped at three minutes? Did Friends save my life again?”

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Perry said he broke eight ribs due to the strenuous CPR.

The actor said that he was in too much pain after the incident to continue filming Don’t Look Up, calling the decision to exit the project “heartbreaking”.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in