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Why Matthew Perry Broke Up With Julia Roberts in the '90s
2023/07/07

Julia Roberts was just a girl, standing in front of Chandler Bing, asking him to love her. In Friends star Matthew Perry's candid new memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, he opens up about his '90s romance with the Oscar-winning actress. 

In an excerpt published by The Times of London, 53-year-old Perry details their romance, which began when 54-year-old Roberts was considering a guest appearance on Friends in the mid-90s. Perry was told that Roberts had told the show runners that she would be in the show if she could be a part of his character, Chandler's, storyline. He writes that he then set out to "woo" the A-lister. 

"I sent her three dozen red roses and the card read: 'The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have an excuse to send you flowers,'" he recalls in the book. 

He then outlines a "three-month-long courtship" between himself and Roberts via fax (ah, the '90s). 

"Three or four times a day I would sit by my fax machine and watch the piece of paper slowly revealing her next missive," he writes. "I was so excited that some nights I would find myself out at some party sharing a flirtatious exchange with an attractive woman and cut the conversation short so I could race home and see if a new fax had arrived."

He praises Roberts for her faxes and her intellect, writing, "It was like she was placed on this planet to make the world smile, and now, in particular, me. I was grinning like some 15-year-old on his first date."

He notes that by the time they filmed her episode, they were already a couple. Roberts played Chandler's childhood classmate Susie Moss in the episode "The One After the Super Bowl," which aired in January 1996. 

In his memoir, Perry recalls a February 1996 appearance from Roberts on The Late Show With David Letterman where she jokingly confirmed her romance with Perry. 

"Two months later, I was single," Perry writes. "Dating Julia Roberts had been too much for me. I had been constantly certain that she was going to break up with me. Why would she not? I was not enough; I could never be enough; I was broken, bent, unlovable." 

He continues that the pressures of dating such a famous star made him decide to break up with her. 

"Instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts," he writes. "She might have considered herself slumming it with a TV guy, and TV guy was now breaking up with her. I can't begin to describe the look of confusion on her face."

In the excerpt printed by The Times, Perry also writes about his initial crush on co-star Jennifer Aniston, saying he was "immediately taken by her," but sharing that she "declined" after he asked her out. 

He notes that though he was "still attracted to her," they were able to "sail right past the past and focus on the fact that we had both gotten the best job Hollywood had to offer."

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