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Exclusive: B&B Alum Maeve Quinlan Breaks Her Silence On Matthew Perry's Death

BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL alum Maeve Quinlan (ex-Megan) dated Matthew Perry at the height of his FRIENDS fame, and while the romance didn’t last, their friendship endured. For the first time since his death last year, she opens up about their relationship and reflects on his passing.

Maeve Quinlan and Matthew Perry

Donato Sardella/WireImage for Lollipop Theater Network

It was in 1994 that Maeve Quinlan (ex-Megan, B&B) first met Matthew Perry, the beloved FRIENDS alum who passed away last October 28.

At the time, both were just carving out their respective show biz careers and resided in the same building. “We lived at 999 Doheny Drive in L.A.,” recounts the actress. In a meet-cute worthy of a sitcom, she knew him only as “the cute guy by the elevator, but I never knew his name, so he became known to me as Cute Guy By The Elevator. We would always run into each other at the same time, usually when I was coming back from an acting class or a night out.”

Then, one night, “I was out with friends and I saw this guy and he kept looking at me and I kept looking at him,” she recalls. “And finally we were like, ‘Do we know each other?’ ” Their conversation led them to realize that they were both accomplished tennis players (Perry had been nationally ranked in Canada; Quinlan had attended USC on a tennis scholarship and had gone pro for a time) who had pivoted to acting. Continues Quinlan, “I was like, ‘What would I’ve seen you in?’ and he said, ‘Nothing. I’m in a bunch of failed pilots and some TV shows you probably wouldn’t have seen, but I played a tennis player on BEVERLY HILLS 90210.’ But then he said, ‘I’m out with my cast, so I’d better get back to them. We just shot this other pilot that I’m hoping will go, so I’m pretty excited.’ We went our separate ways that night without even saying good-bye.”

A week later, their prior connection was made clear. “I walked into my building and there’s Cute Guy By The Elevator,” the actress says. “He was about to push the button and he looked at me and I looked at him and we were like, ‘Oh my God, this is how we know each other!’ As we stepped into the elevator, he gave me his name and I asked, ‘So what’s the name of your pilot?’ He said, ‘It’s called FRIENDS LIKE US.’ And I was like, ‘Cool. Good thoughts, I hope it goes. I’ll look out for it.’ As the elevator doors opened on my floor and I stepped out, he held the doors opened and kindly asked, ‘Wait, how’s acting going for you?’ I told him I had done two Super Bowl commercials and a day on THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, but so far that was it. He said, ‘I bet BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL brings you back. Love the name.’ The doors shut and I never saw Cute Guy By The Elevator again — until six months later [when] I turned on the TV on a Thursday night. There he was, on a show now called FRIENDS, and not FRIENDS LIKE US. I yelled at my roommate, ‘That’s “Cute Guy By The Elevator”!’ And there on this new show were the castmates he was out with that night. I had the biggest crush on him, but I never saw him again because by the time the show was picked up, he had — like every actor does — moved to the Hollywood Hills.”

Fast forward to 2002, when Quinlan and Perry ran into each other at a charity tennis event. “We got on like a house on fire,” she smiles. “Initially, it was romantic.” At the time, Quinan was aware of the actor’s addiction issues. “When Matthew and I embarked on a romantic relationship he was 100 percent sober and was very open about his previous struggles,” she explains. “That was his one fully sober year, and we were practically inseparable. One of the reasons he liked being with me was that I didn’t do drugs.”

Though their romantic relationship didn’t pan out, “we morphed into eventually and seamlessly just being best friends, like brother and sister,” Quinlan notes, describing the Perry she knew at the time as “so funny, very self-deprecating. He was the guy every guy wanted to hang out with and every girl wanted to date. He was the guy next door. He was at the height of his fame and he was the exact same guy I met in 1994. He was kind of unsure of himself. He wasn’t, believe it or not, completely confident with girls, even though he dated the likes of Julia Roberts.”

As their friendship deepened, Quinlan shares, “I spent a lot of time with him and with both sides of his family and he with mine. He was a great son and a really proud big brother. He loved my family, too, and was especially adorable with my now late mother. I would catch him slipping cigarettes to my mom when she didn’t even smoke,” she laughs.  “I asked her, ‘Mom, what are you doing?’ and she looked at me and dryly said, ‘I’m smoking with Matthew Perry,’ as if to say, ‘And your problem is…?’ I gave up after that but he made an old woman feel young again. He was so good to her, and proud to introduce her to everyone when he’d have her join me at [FRIENDS] tapings. It was a really beautiful thing to watch. He was so good like that. My niece and nephews would fly in from Ireland to visit me, and he would equally roll out the red carpet for them.”

Quinlan and Perry spent a lot of time together on the tennis court. “We had a big tennis group that we formed with our friend and instructor Drew Gerstein and our mutual friend, Hank Azaria, that eventually grew into a who’s-who of celebrity tennis players who were our friends — Scott Foley, Gavin Rossdale,” she says. “We’d always take the college kids we played tennis with out to dinner and Matty always picked up the tab. He traveled in the best group of guys, who were more brothers than friends, the majority of whom were the exact same guys he started off his career with, Azaria being the top of that list. Once Matthew and I reconnected, we traveled in a pack, not too unlike the sitcom he was on. He was so solid — and unfortunately, not solid in other ways.”

Maeve Quinlan


“Matty made sure my nephews and nieces from Ireland were with me when his and Hank Azaria’s play debuted in London.”

Sadly, Perry’s addiction issues proved not to be a thing of the past. Quinlan admits, “I had no idea how much he was internally struggling because his main focus was always making other people happy and laughing. He really thought the fame would make it all better but it didn’t.” It didn’t surprise the actress that Perry concealed his difficulties from her. “He was protective of me because he knew my first husband, [late actor] Tom Sizemore, was an addict,” she explains. “Because Matthew was always so extremely careful around me, I never saw him take a drink or abuse any substances. When we were inseparable, he was totally sober. As the years went on, he would hide it from me if he wasn’t doing well. He had some nasty and scary near-death stuff that he kept from me as he hated to disappoint me if he was using. That’s when he would go silent. And when I wouldn’t hear from him, I knew it was because he wasn’t doing well, and I knew he never would want me to know that he wasn’t doing well. He would tell me later, but when he [relapsed] he would isolate. I’d hear it from him, but well after the fact.”

Their contact slowly tapered off. “In the last few years, he would not even try and reach out,” Quinlan sighs. She got some insight into why via his best-selling memoir, 2022’s Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, in which he pulled few punches in detailing the severity of his drug abuse. “A mutual friend gave me his book and she said, ‘If you read it, please call and tell him that you’re proud of him,’ Quinlan shares. “I read the book and I was beyond shocked and devastated. Every page was very hard to turn. I knew some of his pain because he had told me, but I didn’t know the extent of all of his pain. I had no idea about how serious these drug rehabs were or the amount of them. I worried all the time but still I had no idea the state he was in. There was so much he kept hidden. So much suffering inside. I read it, finished it and I never called him, I suppose out of self-preservation. I was still worried about him and was scared of what I might hear. He knew the pain more than anyone that I had inside from trying to get my ex-husband sober, but you can’t make someone sober, I sadly learned from that marriage. They have to do it themselves.”

Admits Quinlan, “I regret to this day that I did not call Matthew to tell him I was proud of him. It took a lot of guts and bravery for him to write that book and be so brutally honest. I know him well enough to say he didn’t write that book for himself; he wrote that book to selflessly help others get sober by seeing his own difficult journey. I hope it helped others. I really do.” Her remorse over not reaching out to Perry, she says, “is one of the reasons I haven’t been able to post about him [since his passing], because while boundaries and tough love at times is necessary, compassion and love always has to be there. I wish I had made sure he had that from me. I absolutely adored him and I absolutely adore his wonderful family. I couldn’t stop thinking about them as I read the book and I most especially can’t stop thinking about them now. Greatest people.”

“I should have called Matty after I read it,” she concludes. “I wish I had called him and told him how much I cared for him. Not that that would’ve changed anything, but I think it would help me to get over it.” Her advice? “Never make my mistake. Always call the ones you love, and often, most especially when they need to hear that most.”

Maeve Quinlan


Perfect Match: Quinlan and Perry shared a passion for tennis.

When Quinlan learned of Perry’s death, “I was devastated,” she says. “It wasn’t a shock but I still couldn’t believe it happened. And although we hadn’t seen each other in a while, I miss him very much. He was truly a close friend. When I drive by our old apartment building on Doheny, I think so fondly of our elevator meet-ups and the fate that building had in store for both of us, not just later for us personally, but because it’s the building we both lived in when we each got cast in the longest-running shows of both of our careers,” FRIENDS FOR HIM and B&B for her.

Quinlan reflects, “To know him sober was the greatest gift of all. As the years went on, so many of us lost Matty little by little to his disease — and the important part of that sentence is that it is a disease. The best gift we could ever give Matthew in return for all the joy he gave us is to honor his wish that he be remembered for his work and success in helping others get sober through his foundation, Matthew Perry Foundation; donate and/or just spread the word via reporting his foundation on social media. That’s how we celebrate the one and only Matty, who the world knew as Matthew Perry.”

Katherine Kelly Lang, Maeve Quinlan

Jesse Grant/JPI

BOLD Endeavors: Quinlan as B&B’s Megan in a scene with Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) in 2001, the year before she reconnected with Perry.

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