‘Friends’ Star Maggie Wheeler Is ‘Very Proud’ of Matthew Perry: ‘He’s Incredibly Brave’

Friends forever. Maggie Wheeler, who starred as Janice Litman-Goralnik in the beloved sitcom Friends, says she’s “very proud” of costar Matthew Perry following his “heart-wrenching” memoir, during an exclusive interview with Life & Style.

“His journey is heart-wrenching and he's incredibly brave, and he's been through so much,” Maggie tells Life & Style of Matthew’s October 2022 memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, while promoting International Delight’s Limited-Edition Friends coffee creamer. “I'm very, very proud of him and how much effort he's put into staying alive and being here. And now, you know, the courage it's taken to write this book and put it out into the world and help all the people who've been through similar circumstances and who really need someone to hang their hopes on and know that they can make it through.”

Maggie Wheeler International Delights
Maggie Wheeler International Delights

Matty famously documented his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction, saying that his stint on Friends saved his life. 

“I woke up eleven hours later in a different hospital. Apparently, the propofol had stopped my heart. For five minutes. It wasn’t a heart attack—I didn’t flatline—but nothing had been beating,” he wrote of his near-death experience. “I was told that some beefy Swiss guy really didn’t want the guy from Friends dying on his table and did CPR on me for the full five minutes, beating and pounding my chest.”

The Fools Rush In star went on to question, “If I hadn’t been on Friends, would he have stopped at three minutes? Did Friends save my life again?”

Janice and Matthew’s Chandler Bing had an on-again, off-again relationship throughout the series, with Maggie popping up in each of the series’ 10 seasons. Despite having “such fond memories of working together,” The Parent Trap star tells Life & Style that she hasn’t “seen [Matthew] in a while outside of the show.”

“I saw him at the reunion and that was just an amazing moment,” Maggie says of the May 2021 Friends: The Reunion special, which aired on HBO Max. “We were so happy to see each other, and it was just so, it was just a beautiful, beautiful moment to see each other and hug each other and reunite.”

Although Matthew was fighting his internal battles, the New York native recalls him being “the funniest of all,” adding that it’s impossible to pick a favorite memory.

“Each time that I had a chance to sit opposite him on the couch or anywhere and just get through a scene, you know, which in and of itself is not that easy to do with Matthew because he's so funny,” she says. 

While Must See TV sitcom came to an end nearly two decades ago, Janice lives on through Maggie’s morning routine. 

“I have as a gift from the cast of Friends, we were given this beautiful Friends embossed espresso machine, which lives in my kitchen,” she says, adding that International Delight’s limited edition Manhattan hazelnut mocha creamer, inspired by the NBC series, is “really nice to add” to her favorite coffee.