'Friends' reunion director defends Matthew Perry after 'unkind' comments about actor's slurred speech

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Matthew Perry. HBO Max/Warner Bros
  • "Friends" reunion director Ben Winston defended Matthew Perry against "unkind" comments.

  • Following the reunion episode, fans raised concerns about Perry's speech, which sounded slurred.

  • Perry has spoken candidly about his struggles with substance abuse in the past.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ben Winston, the "Friends" reunion director, has defended Matthew Perry against what he described as "unkind" comments about the actor.

Following the premiere of the special reunion episode last week, fans of the sitcom began to raise concerns about Perry's health noting that his speech appeared to be slurred throughout the reunion and during promotional videos.

When asked by The Hollywood Reporter if Perry was healthy, Winston said: "Yes, he was great. People can sometimes just be unkind. 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."

Insider has reached out to representatives for Perry for comment.

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Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc in HBO Max's "Friends: The Reunion." Courtesy of HBO Max

It was later reported by various publications that Perry's slurred speech was the result of emergency dental surgery. A source close to the 51-year-old told The Sun newspaper that the procedure took place hours before the reunion episode was recorded.

"Matthew turned up to the reunion [in April] and members of his team said that he had an emergency tooth procedure that day," the source told The Sun."That was said to impact his wellbeing and also how he was feeling. [Matthew] had been in pain from what we understand, which caused the slurred speech."

Kevin Bright, an executive producer on "Friends," also defended the actor in a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter following the reunion episode.

He said: "What people say is what people say. I don't have any[thing] to say about that, except it was great to see him. And I think he's very funny on the show. I think he's OK. He seems stronger and better since the last time I saw him, and excited about going forward."

Perry has spoken candidly about his struggles with substance abuse in past. In 2013 during an interview with People, he said: "I had a big problem with alcohol and pills and I couldn't stop. Eventually, things got so bad that I couldn't hide it, and then everybody knew."

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