MATTHEW PERRY: BOOZE NEARLY KILLED ME!

Published on: May 28, 2003

"Friends" star Matthew Perry has a deadly enemy -- booze. He admits years of drinking binges almost put him in his grave.

The actor, who plays Chandler, reveals he finally had no choice but to deal with his problem.

"It wasn't a question of strength -- it was a question of whether I wanted to live or die," he confessed. "I'm happy to say I chose life."

It was a difficult battle that strained the skills of rehab centers -- as he wrestled both alcohol and drug demons.

In 1997, he first beat his addiction to the powerful painkiller Vicodin. Then in 2001, he entered rehab again to stop drinking.

Happily, Matt, 33, says all the publicity had a positive effect.

"I got to help more people than I would have done had it remained private," the comedy star told an interviewer.

Perry, who's enjoyed a 9-year run on the hit sitcom, revealed that sudden fame helped push him over the edge.

"It's very odd to have all your dreams come true at the age of 25 and find that this new life isn't quite what you thought it would be."

While stardom has is drawbacks, it also brings the talented actor a $1 million-per-episode salary.