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Matthew Perry tells Bill Maher: 'I believe in a higher power; I have a close relationship with Him'

Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry |

Actor Matthew Perry, famously known for his role as Chandler Bing in the hit NBC sitcom “Friends,” told outspoken atheist Bill Maher that he has a “very close relationship” with God.

Perry appeared on HBO's "Real Time" Friday to discuss hismemoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing. The discussion began with Maher revealing that doctors had given Perry a 2% chance of survival years ago when he was hospitalized for a burst colon brought about by opioid abuse.

“I was given a 2 percent chance to survive the night,” Perry told Maher. “They didn’t tell me that, obviously, because I wasn’t really there, but they told my family. And I was put on a thing called an ECMO [Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation] machine. … They call that a hail Mary. … Five people were on ECMO that night, and the other four died, and I somehow made it.”

Maher joked that God "must be a fan" of Perry's, to which the actor replied that he knows Maher’s belief about the Creator, but he does, in fact, believe in a “higher power.”

“I believe there is a higher power,” Perry testified. “I have a very close relationship with Him that’s helped me a lot.”

Maher replied, “Somebody is on your side. Everyone is on your side. Everyone is glad you’re here.”

Perry, who first went public about his addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs in 2004, explained that he never tried or wanted to die.

“I never tried, but I did so many drugs at certain times that I knew that it could kill me … But I never wanted to die. The real thing for me and the troubles that I’ve had is that reality is an acquired taste,” Perry explained. “That’s what I believe. And I have had a great deal of time and a great deal of problems acquiring it. And it wasn’t until I became really safe, I felt really safe in my sobriety and really strong in my sobriety. And to tell you the truth, I am resilient, and I am strong.”

In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer earlier this month, Perry recounted the first time he prayed to God, and said anything could be done to him as long as he became famous.

"That was the first time I ever prayed. And I look back at it as a dumb prayer, like a prayer of a really young person,” he said.

During his interview with Sawyer that highlighted pivotal moments in his life from childhood to stardom, he recounted the moment when, at 14 years old, he drank his first bottle of wine and felt euphoric.  

After drinking with his friends, he writes in the book, “I lay in the grass and just was in Heaven. And I thought to myself, ‘This must be the way that normal people feel all the time.'” 

Perry says in his memoir that, as a young teen, he got on his knees, closed his eyes and prayed: "God, you can do whatever you want to me, just please make me famous."

Soon after, he moved from Ottawa, Canada, to Los Angeles to live with his father.

By age 18, Perry had developed a habit of drinking every day, yet he thought that becoming a famous star in Hollywood would help cure his addiction. Sadly, the fame of being a celebrity just worsened his addiction.

Now on the other side of his addiction, an excerpt from the end of Perry’s book says, “A light has been shown as if to a desperate man who needs help, the same light that hits the ocean and the sunlight and the beautiful gold water glistening.” 

"People who don't believe in that, I'd like to tell them to go stop a wave or go make a plant,” he told Sawyer. "It's not fun to talk about this stuff. I don't like talking about it, but I know it's going to help people to talk about it. I know the book is going to help people.”

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: jeannie.law@christianpost.com She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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