The core cast of Friends were “destroyed” and texting each other as they found out the devastating news about Matthew Perry’s death.
Jim Burrows, who directed more than a dozen episodes of the beloved series, opened up about what was said in an interview with the US Today show on Thursday.
“I had texted the girls [Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox] the day we found out,” he said. “They were destroyed. It’s a brother dying.”
Cox, Kudrow and Aniston made up one-half of the Friends cast, alongside Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc. The group famously remained close friends throughout filming and in the almost two decades since.
Perry – who was best known as the lovable and sarcastic Chandler Bing – was found dead on Saturday in an apparent drowning at the age of 54.
An assistant discovered him underwater in his hot tub and called emergency services, but the actor was unresponsive before they arrived.
Perry’s autopsy is reportedly finished, but a coroner has ordered further investigation, including a toxicology test, which may take months.
After the devastating news broke, tributes quickly poured in from around the world and throughout Hollywood.
On Monday, the “devastated” Friends cast released their own heart-wrenching joint statement to People about their beloved pal.
“We are all so utterly devastated by the loss of Matthew. We were more than just cast mates. We are a family,” their statement read.
“There is so much to say, but right now we’re going to take a moment to grieve and process this unfathomable loss.”
“In time we will say more, as and when we are able. For now, our thoughts and our love are with Matty’s family, his friends, and everyone who loved him around the world.”
The message was then signed by Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc and Schwimmer.
In an interview with People last year, Perry – who spoke openly about his decades-long battle with drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life – praised his co-stars for protecting him during his lowest points while filming the series.
“[They] were understanding, and they were patient,” Perry said.
“It’s like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick, or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up. They walk around it until that penguin can walk on its own. That’s kind of what the cast did for me.”
The cast’s deep friendship was on full display during the highly-emotional Friends TV reunion in 2021, when Perry choked up while explaining his love for his co-stars.
“The best way that I can describe it is after the show was over, at a party or any kind of social gathering, if one of us bumped into each other, that was it. That was the end of the night. You just sat with the person all night long and that was it,” he said.
“You apologised to the people you were with, but they had to understand you had met somebody special to you and you were going to talk to that person for the rest of the night. And that’s the way it worked.”
While his castmates got teary, nodding in agreement, he added: “It’s certainly the way it worked with all of us. It’s just the way it is.”