'Friends' Reunion Director Responds to 'Unkind' Comments About Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry's health has been at the center of speculation for years after the former Friends star's output slowed compared to his co-stars. That meant his appearance on Friends: The Reunion came under more scrutiny than anyone else's, but Friends executive producer Kevin Bright said he believes Perry is in a healthy state today. Some viewers thought Perry slurred his speech during filming, but it was later reported that he had dental surgery before filming started.

"It was great seeing him again. And what people say is what people say," Bright said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "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. But yes, I think he's OK. He seems stronger and better since the last time I saw him, and excited about going forward."

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In a separate interview, The Reunion director Ben Winston said Perry was "great" while filming. "People can sometimes just be unkind," Winston told THR. "I wish they weren't. I loved working with him. 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."

Perry, 51, openly spoke about his struggles with addiction for years. His struggles began when he became addicted to Vicodin after a 1997 jet ski accident. He also said he doesn't remember filming several seasons of Friends because of alcoholism. "I don't remember three years of it," he told the BBC in 2016. "Somewhere between Seasons 3 and 6... I was a little out of it." Perry's appearances have also been few and far between lately. He hasn't starred in a series since The Odd Couple ended in 2017, the same year he appeared in The Good Fight and The Kennedys After Camelot.

With that in mind, fans were instantly concerned when Perry appeared to slur his words in a clip PEOPLE published early. Perry pronounced "stole" as "shtole" in the video. A source later told The Sun that Perry had an emergency dental procedure before the scene was filmed. "He had been in pain from what we understand, which caused the slurred speech," the source said. "Obviously no one wants to film after a procedure, but it happened. The feeling was one of huge sympathy for Matthew especially in recent days given how people have reacted online. Matthew has told those around him that he is sober, and there is no need to worry."

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In November 2020, Perry also got engaged to literary manager Molly Hurwitz, 29. The two started dating in 2018. "I decided to get engaged," the actor told PEOPLE. "Luckily, I happened to be dating the greatest woman on the face of the planet at this time."