“Friends” star Matthew Perry launched into a suicidal binge of wild drinking and drug taking — spending as much as $1,000 a day on his self-destructive blowout before collapsing and entering rehab.
Incredibly, for three exhausting months, the 31-year-old dark-haired actor abused his body relentlessly while managing to keep up a furious pace — constantly traveling between his Los Angeles “Friends” set and a Dallas movie location.
“At the height of his partying, Matt was spending up to $1,000 a day on drugs and booze,” revealed a close source.
“He was burning the candle at both ends — and he went down in flames!”
An intensive ENQUIRER investigation has ripped the lid off the secret nightmare world that engulfed the popular star.
During his out-of-control binge, Perry consumed booze, cocaine, Ecstasy (a hallucinogenic), Vicodin (a painkiller), Compazine (an anti-anxiety drug), Neurontin (an antiseizure medication), Zofran (a nausea fighter), and Vioxx (an anti-inflammatory).
His headlong rush toward death ended February 23 after he was finally persuaded to get help — and checked himself into a Los Angeles area rehab center.
“Matthew had been starring in a movie with Elizabeth Hurley in Dallas, from Saturday through Wednesday every week, then he’d race to Los Angeles to shoot ‘Friends’ on Thursday and Friday,” divulged a friend.
Whenever Matt got a break, he went off to the local strip clubs — in search of drugs, booze and sex, disclosed a close source.
His favorite Dallas club was a topless bar called The Lodge. “Matt wanted to find girls who had cocaine on them, or who could get cocaine. They were the ones he took back to his hotel,” one of The Lodge dancers told The ENQUIRER.
“He was constantly drinking vodka. One night he was so drunk and high, he spread out lines of coke on the table, in front of everyone. He didn’t care who was looking. Matt also liked to take two girls from the club back to the hotel, for threesomes.”
In 1993, Matt Perry wrote his own sitcom, called “Maxwell’s House.”
But a stripper who went with Matt to his $2,000-a-night suite at the Hotel Crescent Court revealed: “I went with him twice — and both times he passed out before anything happened.”
The reckless performer duped doctors into prescribing him drugs, disclosed the close source. “Some of the prescriptions were under his own name, some were under ‘Matt Langford’ — Langford is Matt’s middle name — and some were under the name he used at the hotel, ‘Phil Shubano.’
“Matt was also doing liquid GHB, known as ‘Liquid Ecstasy’ — mixing it with Nestle Strawberry Quik to mask the taste.
“Security staff at the Crescent Court hotel were surprised to see a man with dreadlocks going up to the private executive floor. They found out he was a street dealer known as Patience — and Matthew had buzzed him up.
“The guy could have had a gun and killed him — but Matt was desperate for drugs.
“Matt had been seeing a doctor in Dallas who specializes in treating addictions and had prescribed him two packets of tablets to take at bedtime. The first packet contained Tryptophan, 500 mg. (an amino acid); Inositol, 500 mg. (a B vitamin); and Melatonin, 3 mg. (a sleep-inducing hormone). The second package was Sonata, 10 mg., a sleep aid.”
But it didn’t seem to help. Matt hit rock bottom.
Turning mean-spirited, he flaunted his power, by ordering hotel employees to constantly light and then relight candles throughout his two-story suite.
“And he was so messed up that he burned up three separate covers on his bed,” divulged the close source.
“The last time, on February 23, hotel staff found a cover with holes burned all through it. He easily could have set the whole hotel suite on fire.”
An actor on the set disclosed: “At one point during that last month, Matt was apparently so desperate to get painkillers, he slammed his foot against a heavy table.
“His own doctors wouldn’t give him any more drugs. So then he conned a doctor at the emergency room into giving him painkillers.”
As he spiraled lower and lower, Matt began to call Brad Pitt for help. Since Brad married Matt’s “Friends” co-star Jennifer Aniston, he and Brad had become close buddies.
Brad could do little from Los Angeles — so he gave his pal pep talks, said the close source.
“But when Matt had a week off from ‘Friends’ in February and stayed in Dallas, he went steadily downhill.
“He’d been dating Jamie Tarses, former ABC Entertainment president, and she flew in on February 20 to try to help him.
“But by Friday, February 23, Matt knew he couldn’t go on. At 10 p.m. that night, a limo pulled up to the Crescent Court hotel, and Matt, Jamie, and Matt’s assistant Shawn climbed in to take a private jet back to Los Angeles.”
The next day, Matt — who had been in rehab once before — checked into the rehab center.
Concluded the close source: “We’re praying that this time, he’ll succeed.”
— ALAN BUTTERFIELD, JOHN SOUTH and JOHN BLOSSER