In 2022, Friends actor Matthew Perry released a memoir titled Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. It is a candid telling of his struggle with addiction and substance abuse and was intended to be a helpful tool for people who may be going through the same things. However, Perry came under fire because segments of the book are insulting to actor Keanu Reeves. Almost a year later, Perry is making a promise to remove the insults from all future editions.
Perry’s memoir cited Reeves’ name… twice
In his memoir, Perry first mentions Reeves when describing the loss of his late friend and fellow actor, River Phoenix, due to an accidental overdose. Perry wrote, “River was a beautiful man, inside and out — too beautiful for this world, it turned out. It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down. Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?”
He again insults Reeves when describing the loss of another late friend, comedian Chris Farley, to an overdose. Perry explained, “I punched a hole through Jennifer Aniston’s dressing room wall when I found out. Keanu Reeves walks among us.” In both instances, Perry seems to be indicating that he doesn’t feel Reeves deserves to be alive.
He has already apologized
As one can imagine, fans and friends of the beloved Reeves were pretty upset after reading the excerpts. Perry experienced significant backlash from his choice to reference Reeves, with stars like Linda Carter and Rachel Zegler tweeting, “Come on… Keanu Reeves is like one of those frozen cakes. Nobody doesn’t like him!” and “personally thrilled that [K]eanu reeves walks among us,” respectively.
At the time, Perry apologized for the comments, making a formal statement in October 2022 expressing that he is actually “a big fan” of Reeves. He explained that the reason he used Reeves’ name was simply “random,” but still said, “I apologize. I should have used my own name instead.” However, Perry obviously felt that this apology wasn’t enough, as he addressed the insults again months later.
His memoir will no longer mention Reeves
Perry attended the L.A. Times Festival of Books in April 2023 and brought up the whole ordeal while on a panel, noting that he intends to remove Reeves’ name from all future editions of the memoir. He offered another explanation for his decision to insult Reeves: “I pulled his name because I live on the same street.” Even so, he admitted, “I said a stupid thing. It was a mean thing to do.”
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Despite his public apologies, Perry has not yet addressed Reeves in person. However, he is ready to do so the next time they meet. “If I run into the guy, I’ll apologize.” At the end of the day, Perry has said that his decision in this matter “was just stupid.”
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