Friends Reunion Director and EP Support Matthew Perry After HBO Max Special

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It's been less than a week since HBO Max assembled the entire Friends cast to pay tribute to the hit show.

Now, the creative minds behind the sitcom are rushing to the defense of Matthew Perry after critics questioned his health status following the special.

Co-creators Marta Kauffman, David Crane, Kevin Bright, and director Ben Winston opened up about Perry after having previously struggled with substance abuse.

Friends Reunited on HBO Max

"He was great. People can sometimes just be unkind. I wish they weren't," Winston explained to The Hollywood Reporter in response to the reaction to clips of the special before it aired. 

"I loved working with him," added Winston.

"He's a brilliantly funny man, and I thought he had some great one-liners in the show. I felt just happy and lucky to be in his presence and directing him on something like this."

Friends Reunion Poster

"I talked to him. It was great seeing him again," Bright shared in an interview with THR.

"And what people say is what people say. I don't have any to say about that, except it was great to see him. And I think he's very funny on the show."

He added, "But yes, I think he's OK. He seems stronger and better since the last time I saw him and excited about going forward."

Perry has been vocal about facing challenges while filming the original series, which aired from 1994 to 2004.

Chandler and Monica - Friends

“Oh my goodness,” he said on BBC Radio 2 in 2016.

“I think the answer is I don’t remember three years of it. So none of those … somewhere between season 3 and 6.”

Perry joined fellow co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer for the long in the works special that featured a string of big reveals about their time on the show.

"To me, I felt like I was going to die if they didn't laugh," Perry said to his co-stars.

Friends: The Reunion Stars

"And it's not healthy, for sure. But I would sometimes say a line, and they wouldn't laugh, and I would sweat and just go into convulsions. If I didn't get the laugh I was supposed to get, I would freak out."

Catch the special on HBO Max, streaming in the U.S. now.

Paul Dailly was an Associate Editor for TV Fanatic.Follow him on X.

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