Matthew Perry thought he was impotent for several years as a young man.
The 53-year-old actor book, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoircame out on Tuesday and there is yet another story about how his addiction affected his life.
Perry started drinking at age 14. In the years that followed, he began to experiment sexually, but only after having consumed “six beers beforehand”, due to his nervousness. As a result, he “couldn’t play”. So, at just 15, he thought he had “a dick that didn’t seem to want to work.”
He wrote: “I failed to make the correlation between alcohol and my private parts not work. And no one could know. No one. So I traveled the planet thinking that the sex was something for other people for a long time. Years. Sex looked terribly fun, but it wasn’t in my arsenal. It means in my mind, and at least in my pants, that I was congenitally powerless.
Perry later learned that wasn’t the case when he began dating Tricia Leigh Fisher, the actress/singer daughter of Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens and half-sister of the late Carrie Fisher. Perry, who was 18 when the romance began, recalled that Tricia, now 53, was beautiful and charming. She also cured him of his misdiagnosed impotence.
Perry said to keep his dating secret, he first told Tricia he wanted to wait until he was married to have sex, citing his Catholic upbringing. But two months later, he claimed Tricia took matters into her own hands when they were alone in her studio. He said he was afraid his secret would be revealed, but he was also in love. So he told her “the whole shameful story”, including that he “was helpless and always would be. That it was no use… But I was desperate that she wouldn’t abandon me too”.
Trisha assured him, calmly and simply, that he couldn’t play “was never going to happen again” and took him to the bedroom. “Of course, pure glory for two whole minutes,” he joked.
He said thanks to Tricia, “a beautiful woman who deserved better”, that he lost his virginity. “Impotence has been out of my vocabulary since, as she promised. Everything about me, at least physically, works great.”
And how did he repay Tricia? By “sleeping with almost every woman in Southern California,” he added.
Perry’s book details many stories about relationships and romances, including Valerie Bertinelli’s kiss, her sydney co-star, in 1990 while still married to Eddie Van Halen. (The rocker passed out in the room.) He wrote about dating Julia Roberts during the Friends era – then break up with her lest she dump him first. He went on a hell of a date with Cameron Diaz after-Friendsand also said he kissed Gwyneth Paltrow.
And while these love stories are misleading, Perry’s point in writing the book details her decades of struggle with alcohol and opioid addiction. He was taking 55 pills a day at the height of Friends. He nearly died in 2018 after his colon exploded. That didn’t stop him from using. He had another near death experience two years later. He’s been sober for 18 months.
Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir is out now.