Matthew Perry Praised Jennifer Aniston for Continuing to Reach Out and Check on Him in Years After Friends

Last year, the actor — who died on Saturday at the age of 54 — opened up about how his Friends costar, 54, stayed in close contact with

him through the ups and downs of his addiction struggles and sobriety journey.

“She was the one that reached out the most. You know, I’m really grateful to her for that,” Perry said of Aniston in an October 2022 interview

with Diane Sawyer.

Perry also revealed that it was Aniston who initially confronted him during their time filming the hit sitcom when his addiction became evident to his castmates.

“Jennifer, she says, ‘We know you’re drinking,’” Sawyer prompted him in the interview.

“Yeah, imagine how scary a moment that was,” Perry responded.

“I should have been the toast of the town, but I was in a dark room meeting with nothing but drug dealers and completely alone,” he later added of being gripped by his addiction amid the height of his TV career.

In a 2022 interview with PEOPLE, Perry recounted a dark time during his Friends reign when he was taking as many as 55 Vicodin pills a day and his weight had dwindled to just 128 pounds.

“I didn’t know how to stop,” he explained. “If the police came over to my house and said, ‘If you drink tonight, we’re going to take you to jail,’ I’d start packing. I couldn’t stop because the disease and the addiction is progressive. So it gets worse and worse as you grow older.”

While Perry said he tried to hide the signs of his spiraling addiction from Aniston and his other costars, they all knew he was struggling — and they tried their best to support him.

“[They] were understanding, and they were patient,” he recalled. “It’s like penguins. Penguins, in nature, when one is sick, or when one is very injured, the other penguins surround it and prop it up. They walk around it until that penguin can walk on its own. That’s kind of what the cast did for me.”

Perry told PEOPLE he thought he could lean on his trademark humor — and his coveted gig on the show — to keep him going.

“I thought being funny all the time was how I would get through,” he said. “I thought [Friends] was going to fix everything. It didn’t.”