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Matthew Perry's Stepdad Opens Up About His Grief: 'It's With You Every Day'

Keith Morrison is still grieving the death of his stepson, “Friends” alum Matthew Perry.

The “Dateline” correspondent openly explored that process on Wednesday’s episode of the “Making Space” podcast and said it’ll probably “never” end. Perry, whose role on “Friends” made him a worldwide star, died in an accidental drowning in October.

He was 54 years old.

“It’s as other people have told me hundreds of times, it doesn’t go away yet,” Morrison told host Hoda Kotb. “It’s with you every day. It’s with you all the time, and there’s some new aspect of it that assaults your brain, and it’s not easy. It’s especially [not] for his mom.”

“I don’t think I’m giving away too much if I say that toward the end of his life, they were closer than I had seen them for decades,” he continued, “texting each other constantly and him sharing things with her that most middle-aged men don’t share with their mothers.”

Morrison married Suzanne Langford Perry in 1981 when her late son was 12 years old.

Perry famously played the sardonic Chandler Bing on “Friends,” which spanned 10 seasons and aired from 1994 to 2004. The NBC hit made its cast — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Perry — into stars.

Perry spent most of his life struggling with substance abuse, however, and shared as much in the 2021 memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing.” The actor died on Oct. 28 from the “acute effects of ketamine” after accidentally drowning in his hot tub.

Morrison responded to the scene at Perry's home in Los Angeles when he died.
Morrison responded to the scene at Perry's home in Los Angeles when he died. Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Time/Getty Images

Morrison, who first broke his silence on the tragedy in late November, echoed prior claims on Wednesday’s podcast that Perry “was happy” in his final months alive — and “said so” to those closest to him.

“And he hadn’t said that for a long time,” he told Kotb. “It’s a source of comfort, but also, he didn’t get to have his third act, and that’s not fair. And as he said himself, ‘If I suddenly died, people would be shocked, but not too many people would be surprised.’ And he was right.”

Morrison, who has since launched the Matthew Perry Foundation, remembers him as “a larger than life person” who was “goofy,” “funny” and “always the center of attention.” He also remembers Perry’s addictions and just how hard he fought to beat them.

“He came to understand he’d get to a certain point, and then he knew he had to go and get treatment,” Morrison told Kotb. “And he’d accept help ... but as he said himself, it just kept happening, and it was a big bear. It was a tough thing to be — big, terrible thing.”

Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Keith Morrison’s title.

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