MATT PERRY: MY DAD SAVED MY LIFE

Published on: March 14, 2001

"MY DAD saved my life!" Those are the heart-wrenching words of "Friends" star Matthew Perry, who's in rehab and glad to be alive after a self-destructive drinking and drug-taking binge.

"If it weren't for his dad, John Perry, Matt might not be alive and recovering today," revealed an insider. "His constant and lengthy phone calls to Matt during his son's worst binge to date stopped the 'Friends' star from killing himself. And it was John who pressed for immediate, forced rehab at Daniel Freeman Hospital, in Marina Del Rey, Calif."

Divulged a pal, "Matt told me: 'My dad saved my life. He stopped me from jumping off into the deep end. I didn't know where or who I was.'

"Since Matt has been in rehab, John has visited him every day.

"Meanwhile, producers at 'Friends' are figuring out ways to finish the season without Matt."

Matt entered the facility on February 24 for a 28-day stay. "But it does not look like a shaky Matt will be able to jump right back into production," continued the pal. "He's a physical wreck and people don't realize how close he came to dying this last time.

"'Friends' writers are scurrying to come up with a scenario to write Matt out for the rest of the season if he can't continue.

"And the fate of Matt's unfinished film, 'Servicing Sara' with co-star Elizabeth Hurley also remains in jeopardy. Official word is that production, which had about 10 shooting days with Matt left, is on stand-down. But there is a strong chance the film could be shelved altogether.

"Matt feels incredibly guilty. He's upbeat and positive about his recovery, but still very much a lost, confused soul.

"Thank God he's got his dad there to help him find his way!"