MAUREEN CALLAHAN: How sad that Matthew Perry’s legacy was a tragic lie

The One Where It Was All a Tragic Lie.

Pin en Meticulous Modern Oriental LadiesMatthew Perry, we now know, wasn’t clean at the end. In fact, despite claims to the contrary in his best-selling memoir, he was probably never clean.

His autopsy report, released last week, was yet another shock: He had enough ketamine in his system to anesthetize a surgical patient.

Perry was selling fellow addicts a fantasy. It’s quite possible he needed to believe it.

‘I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side of everything again’, he told People magazine last year. ‘I had to wait until I was pretty safely sober — and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction — to write it all down. And the main thing was, I was pretty certain that it would help people’.

If anyone still needed help, it was Perry himself.

As Alison Boshoff exclusively reported in the Mail, a source close to Perry revealed the truth: ‘He lied to everyone about being clean. He never was. It is very sad. You know, the biggest lie he told was probably to himself’.

Perry, we now know, wasn’t clean at the end. In fact, despite claims to the contrary in his best-selling memoir, he was probably never clean. His autopsy report, released last week, was yet another shock: He had enough ketamine in his system to anesthetize a surgical patient.

As Alison Boshoff exclusively reported in the Mail, a source close to Perry revealed the truth: ‘He lied to everyone about being clean. He never was. It is very sad. You know, the biggest lie he told was probably to himself’. (Pictured: Perry’s last Instagram post).

Yet we all believed him, and that’s not just down to his acting ability. We wanted to believe him. Perry’s greatest selling point was his refusal to wrap his story up neatly, his soft-bellied vulnerability.

He wrote it and said it over and over: the gravity of his addictions meant he would never be safe from himself.

‘I don’t have another sobriety in me’, he wrote. ‘If I went out, I would never be able to come back… It’s going to kill me’.

In his self-proclaimed quest to help other addicts, he was willing to disclose the humiliations he suffered, the ravages to his body: His top teeth falling out all at once; the fourteen operations that left him left weeping; his near-death experience; the surgeries still to come.

‘I will never be done’, he wrote. ‘I will always have the bowels of a man in his nineties… the scars… my stomach looks like a topographical map of China. And they f**king hurt’.

Perry spoke of his colostomy bag, his sexual impotence, the $9 million he spent trying to get clean, the 6,000 AA meetings and the 55 Vicodin a day.

He confessed to being so desperately unhappy as a teenager that he got down on his knees and begged God for fame.

And wow, did he get it — global superstardom few will ever know. But as the saying goes: More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.

For all his specific gifts, Perry died the sad, lonely, ignominious death of any celebrity drug addict: Elvis on the toilet, Whitney in the bathtub, Prince in his elevator.

As it turns out, Perry’s life post-memoir was a misery. He hid the truth, got nasty, and pushed the people closest to him away.

He sought solace in women far too young: a 25-year-old former Miss USA, a 22-year-old porn star. He lost his fiancée Molly Hurwitz after she caught him messaging a 19-year-old on Raya.

He was, in other words, uniquely gifted – and a total cliché.

He allowed himself to believe that his wealth and fame made him exempt from the rules: Hence, as he admitted, the chain-smoking in his hospital bed, crashing his Porsche into someone’s living room with no consequences, chartering a private plane to escape rehab and get high.

He had the arrested development so common among addicts, notably his obsession with Batman.

He had the superhero’s bat wings etched into the bottom of his pool. He had a black-and-red car that he called the Batmobile. He called himself ‘Mattman’ and, less than two weeks before his death, posted his pool’s bat signal lit up in red, with the caption: ‘Sleep well everybody, I’ve got the city tonight’.

Unsettling stuff for a guy eligible for AARP membership.

As it turns out, Perry’s life post-memoir was a misery. He hid the truth, got nasty, and pushed the people closest to him away. He sought solace in women far too young: a 25-year-old former Miss USA, a 22-year-old porn star. He lost his fiancée Molly Hurwitz after she caught him messaging a 19-year-old on Raya. (Pictured: porn comic star Kylie Rocket).

But Perry never had to live in the real world, and that, as much as his addictions, did him in.

‘Angry and mean’, was one friend’s description of Perry in the days before his death.

Another source told the New York Post that Perry struggled with AA meetings in New York City.

‘Mr. Perry wasn’t able to deal with the tough love’, the source said. ‘I feel for him, but in my 25 years’ experience, sometimes “helping” someone is really enabling. I think he had a lot of enablers who meant well. He was in a golden cage’.

In recent days, his ketamine use has been explained away as purely therapeutic and under a doctor’s care, used to treat his ‘depression and anxiety’.

But read the fine print of the autopsy report and you’ll see Perry’s overdose was, almost certainly, brought on through illicit recreational use.

‘His last known treatment was one-and-a-half weeks prior to death’, the report concluded. ‘The ketamine in his system at death could not be from that infusion therapy, since ketamine’s half-life is three to four hours, or less’.

An important point: medicinal ketamine has been shown, when administered correctly, to be highly successful at treating post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and addiction. Perry’s overdose should do nothing to change that.

That is why the truth here matters.

He was otherwise a walking pharmacy. In addition to the ketamine, Perry was also taking testosterone, possibly to counter the effects of an estrogen-based weight loss drug; buprenorphine, to treat opioid addiction; the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam; and clonazepam, a drug used to treat epileptic fits and panic disorders, had been metabolized.

Perry never had to live in the real world, and that, as much as his addictions, did him in. ‘Angry and mean’, was one friend’s description of Perry in the days before his death.

‘Multiple’ prescription drug bottles were found in his house, investigators said, along with ‘dishes filled with various loose pills’, vaping products and nicotine lollipops.

How grim. How desperately sad — for him, for his fans, and for addicts everywhere – that the legacy he sought to leave, not as a ‘Friend’ but as someone whose triumph over addiction could help others, has been compromised.

He knew it might end this way.

‘Secrets kill you’, he told Diane Sawyer last year. ‘Secrets kill people like me’.

Matthew Perry

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