Friends Matthew Perry split from Julia Roberts to avoid being dumped

Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry speak to Ross Mathews in 2002

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Matthew Perry, 53, catapulted to fame in the nineties hit sitcom Friends, playing the iconically sarcastic Chandler Bing. However, behind-the-scenes, his life was plagued with addiction and a line of failed romances with some of Hollywood’s biggest leading ladies.

The Ally McBeal actor revealed in his candid new book that he secretly dated Oscar winner Julia Roberts, 54, for a while, and broke up with her to avoid future heartache. 

He claimed his fame as Chandler brought him to Julia’s attention, and she began to bombard him with flirtatious messages. 

Julia appeared in an episode of Friends in 1996, but there were many negotiations, and even some flirtations, in the months before to secure her spot. 

A Friends co-creator is said to have encouraged Matthew to woo Julia, as he explains in his memoir: “I had to woo her. I wanted something a tad flirty. 

“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’.”

The Pretty Woman actress responded with a challenge, telling him that she would agree to be on the show if he “adequately explained quantum physics to her”. 

Evidently, Matthew succeeded, sending her “a paper all about wave-particle duality and entanglement” and she not only agreed to appear on the show but started showering the Friends actor with gifts, including “lots and lots of bagels”.

Their budding romance continued with hundreds of bawdy faxes between them, and Matthew realised he was falling hard as he would rush home from parties just to check if he had received a new fax. 

He gushed: “I was grinning like some 15-year-old on his first date. And we had never even spoken yet, much less met each other.”

One Saturday, Julia arrived on Matthew’s doorstep marking the official start of their romance and by the time she guest-starred on Friends, the two were in the depths of a relationship. 

The 17 Again actor claimed he even met Julia’s family and the couple spent New Year’s Eve together in 1996 at her mountain hideaway. 

However, the actor was plagued with insecurity, admitting that dating her “had been too much for me” and that he felt certain “she was going to break up with me”. 

He felt he would “never be enough” and instead of waiting around for what he believed would be an inevitable heartbreak, he broke up with her instead. 

Matthew noted: “I can’t begin to describe the look of confusion on her face.”

A few years later, Matthew was in the grips of addiction and ended up watching Julia receive her Oscar for Erin Brockovich while in rehab. 

He heartbreakingly revealed: “As she made her speech, a voice rose in that room, in that rehab, urgent, sad, soft, pleading, filled with longing and tears. 

“I made a joke. ‘I’ll take you back’, I said. ‘I’ll take you back’.

“The whole room laughed, though this was not a funny line in a sitcom. This was real life now.”

His list of failed relationships with leading ladies also includes his Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston, 53, who had rejected him before they co-starred in the sitcom, and Marvel star Gwyneth Paltrow, 50. 

Matthew’s memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, is available for pre-order here. has contacted Julia’s representatives for comment. 

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