03:32 AM EDT 08/24/2014
Originally posted 07/06/2013 03:05PM
At 24, Matthew Perry landed a role that would utterly change his life – and help define a generation: Chandler Bing on Friends.
Along with his five castmates, his face was suddenly on everything from calendars to coffee mugs, and his salary ballooned to $1 million an episode. As his sardonic alter ego might have put it, "Could he be any more famous?"
But behind the scenes, Perry struggled with a serious alcohol problem. Then, after a 1997 Jet Ski accident, a doctor prescribed him Vicodin and said, "'Here, take this.' I did, and I felt better than I ever felt in my entire life," Perry says. "I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn't stop."
Top 10 News Categories
The most buzzed about stars this minute!
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
More On PEOPLE.com
Got a News Tip?
Send it to our People.com editors!