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Friends: The Tragic Reason Behind Chandler's Season 7 Transformation Explained

The plotline of "Friends" Season 7, Episode 1 ("The One with Monica's Thunder") takes place directly after the events of the Season 6 finale ("The One with the Proposal"). After Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) proposes to Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), she's on a mission to celebrate her engagement.

It's an exciting time for these two unlucky-in-love individuals. However, if one were to watch the episodes back-to-back, the appearance of Chandler may be a bit jarring. Though he's wearing the same orange shirt from the proposal, he's drastically thinner in the Season 7 premiere. In his memoir "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," Perry explains that his drastic transformation was due to his longtime, near-fatal battle with addiction.

"You can track the trajectory for my addiction if you gauge my weight from season to season. When I'm carrying weight, it's alcohol; when I'm skinny, it's pills. When I have a goatee, it's lots of pills," he writes. On the proposal episodes, he recalls, "I'm wearing the same clothes in both, since it's supposed to be the same night, but I must have lost three and a half stone [50 pounds] in the off-season."

Matthew Perry was battling his addiction when Chandler and Monica got married

The engagement of Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) wasn't the only happy milestone that the actor had to film while living his own dark days. When it came time to film the wedding of Chandler and Monica Geller (Courteney Cox) for the Season 7 finale, Perry was in the midst of one of his many attempts to get sober, this time at Promises addiction treatment center in Malibu.

In his memoir "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," Perry recalls being driven to Warner Bros. Studios by a Promises technician to film his scenes, and then heading straight back. He writes, "I married Monica and got driven back to the treatment center — at the height of my highest point in 'Friends,' the highest point in my career, the iconic moment on the iconic show — in a pickup truck helmed by a sober technician."

Perry didn't follow the same life trajectory as Chandler, but he seems to have gotten himself on track. After several decades and about $9 million spent trying to get sober, he's been clean since 2021, just before "Friends: The Reunion" aired on HBO Max. Finally, he could be on set with his co-stars and not have to hide that big, terrible thing.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)