In his deeply personal memoir “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” actor Matthew Perry recounts the tantalizing courtship he shared with actress Julia Roberts, which ultimately blossomed into a very short-lived romance.
In an excerpt obtained by The Times, Perry recalls that he ended things with “the beautiful and brilliant” actress because he couldn’t handle the enormity of her.
“Dating Julia Roberts had been too much for me. I had been constantly certain that she was going to break up with me. Why would she not? I was not enough; I could never be enough; I was broken, bent, unlovable. So instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts.”
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He sadly wrote, “She might have considered herself slumming it with a TV guy, and TV guy was now breaking up with her. I can’t begin to describe the look of confusion on her face.”
Their relationship all started when Roberts was offered a role in Perry’s sitcom “Friends.” Perry writes that he found out Roberts “would only do the show if she could be in my story line. Let me say that again – she would only do the show if she could be in my story line. (Was I having a good year or what?) But first, I had to woo her.”
He sent her three dozen roses and a forward note, writing, “The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have an excuse to send you flowers.”
“Thus began a three-month-long courtship by daily faxes,” Perry detailed. “This was pre-internet, pre-cellphones – all our exchanges were done by fax. And there were many; hundreds.”
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Their platonic conversations with flirtatious undertones suddenly switched when Perry recalls receiving a “fax veered romantic” from Roberts.
“I called a friend and said, ‘I’m in over my head. You have to come over right away. Tell me if I’m wrong.’”
He wasn’t wrong, and consequently the two started speaking on the phone for hours.
When they first met at his apartment, he recalls her asking how he was doing, to which he replied, “I’m feeling like the luckiest man in the world.”
By the time they were on the “Friends” set to shoot an episode together, the duo were already a couple.
In the episode, “The One After the Superbowl,” Chandler (Perry) reconnects with Susie (Roberts), who were childhood friends with a complicated history. In the episode, the two go on a date motivated by revenge.
Before their breakup, Perry recalls meeting Roberts’ family, driving in her orange Volkswagen, and playing football in the snow.
“She made me feel like the king of the world,” Perry says.