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The 'Friends' family is mourning one of its own on social media

Matthew Perry's <em>Friends</em> co-stars — (L-R) David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc — paid tribute to him on social media this week.
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Matthew Perry's Friends co-stars — (L-R) David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc — paid tribute to him on social media this week.

In the days after Matthew Perry was found dead of an apparent drowning at his Los Angeles home on Oct. 28, his Friends co-stars said in a joint statement that "we will say more, as and when we are able."

This week, they have.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer took to social media on Tuesday and Wednesday to pay tribute to Perry, who starred as Chandler Bing for all 10 seasons of the hit NBC sitcom.

They reminisced on some of their favorite moments from their years on the show and the close bonds that persisted long after it wrapped in 2004. Their posts included photos and videos from the set, as well as plenty of references to his character's most emphatically delivered catchphrase.

"I imagine you up there, somewhere, in the same white suit, hands in your pockets, looking around," Schwimmer wrote. "Could there BE any more clouds?"

The five all praised Perry as an actor, with Schwimmer hailing his "impeccable comedic timing and delivery" and Kudrow thanking him for "showing up at work when you weren't well and then, being completely brilliant" — a reference to his decades-long struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.

They also described him as a kind and generous person, who not only made them laugh but helped make their "six-way relationship" work, as Kudrow put it. Aniston described Perry as "such a part of our DNA."

"We were always the 6 of us," she added. "This was a chosen family that forever changed the course of who we were and what our path was going to be."

Some of Perry's Friends castmates, including Maggie Wheeler (who played Chandler's on-and-off girlfriend Janice) and Morgan Fairchild (who played his mother) — as well as the show's co-creators — have also spoken out since his death last month.

But this is the first time his five main co-stars have mourned him publicly, sharing their favorite memories and messages of thanks. Here's what they said.

Jennifer Aniston

Aniston, who played Rachel Green, wrote on Instagram that she's spent the last few weeks reading over her texts with Perry, "laughing and crying then laughing again."

"I found one text that he sent me out of nowhere one day," she added. "It says it all."

She shared a screenshot of a text from Perry, of a black-and-white photo of the two of them laughing mid-conversation.

"Making you laugh just made my day," Perry had written, and Aniston responded that he had done so thousands of times.

"I talk to you every day... sometimes I can almost hear you saying 'could you BE any crazier?'" she wrote at the end of her post. "Rest little brother. You always made my day."

Courteney Cox

Cox played Monica Geller, a member of the friend group who eventually dates and ultimately marries Chandler in one of the show's most beloved storylines.

In fact, as she wrote on Instagram, the two were originally only supposed to have a one-night fling in London — "but because of the audience's reaction, it became the beginning of their love story."

She shared a clip of the iconic scene in which Monica and Chandler are nearly caught in bed the next morning by her brother Ross, played by Schwimmer. It's followed by an outtake, in which she looks at Perry and says "your turn" before they jokingly dive under the covers.

"Before we started rolling, he whispered a funny line for me to say," Cox wrote. "He often did things like that. He was funny and he was kind."

Cox said that's one of thousands of such moments with Perry she wishes she could share, and that she's grateful for every one of them.

Lisa Kudrow

Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay, posted an old Polaroid of her and Perry and recalled filming the pilot together.

"You suggested we play poker AND made it so much fun while we initially bonded," she wrote. "Thank you for that."

Kudrow thanked Perry for many other things: including "making me laugh so hard at something you said, that my muscles ached, and tears poured down my face EVERY DAY" and for "all I learned about GRACE and LOVE through knowing you."

"Thank you for the time I got to have with you, Matthew," she added.

David Schwimmer

Schwimmer, who played Chandler's best friend (and later brother-in-law) Ross Geller, shared a photo of the two wearing Miami Vice-style suits and hair gel from one of the show's flashback Thanksgiving episodes, which he described as one of his favorite moments with Perry.

"Now it makes me smile and grieve at the same time," he wrote.

Schwimmer thanked Perry for "ten incredible years of laughter and creativity," praising Perry's ability to turn a straight line of dialogue into something "so entirely original and unexpectedly funny it still astonishes."

And, he added, Perry had heart: "Which you were generous with, and shared with us, so we could create a family out of six strangers."

Matt LeBlanc

LeBlanc wrote on Instagram that it was an honor to share the stage with Perry and to call him a friend.

"The times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life," he wrote, later adding, "I will always smile when I think of you and I'll never forget you."

LeBlanc, who played Chandler's roommate Joey Tribbiani, shared several screengrabs of the duo's most memorable moments — from defending their apartment armed with a pan and laundry detergent, to sitting in the canoe that was at one point their only piece of furniture.

And he closed with a joke straight out of the show: "I guess you're keeping the 20 bucks you owe me."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
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