Matthew Perry's Ex Maeve Quinlan Says He Was 1 Year Sober When They Met: It 'Was the Greatest Gift'

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Quinlan also expressed her "regrets" for not applauding Perry's book release ahead of his death, saying, "It took a lot of guts and bravery for him to write that book and be so brutally honest"

<p>Donato Sardella/WireImage</p> Maeve Quinlan and Matthew Perry

Donato Sardella/WireImage

Maeve Quinlan and Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry’s ex Maeve Quinlan is reflecting on her love — and friendship — with the late Friends  actor.

In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Quinlan, 59, said she met Perry in the hallway of their apartment building when he was one year sober and the two quickly became “inseparable.”

“He was the guy every guy wanted to hang out with and every girl wanted to date. He was the guy next door,” she told the outlet. “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.”

The actress pointed to the unique moment in Perry’s life, which was a step out of his decades-long addiction.

“When Matthew and I embarked on a romantic relationship, he was 100 percent sober and was very open about his previous struggles,” Quinlan said. “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.”

Related: Matthew Perry Was 'Reportedly Clean for 19 Months' Before His Death: Coroner's Report

<p>Amy Graves/WireImage</p> Matthew Perry and Maeve Quinlan

Amy Graves/WireImage

Matthew Perry and Maeve Quinlan

She added that knowing Perry “sober was the greatest gift of all.”

Though their romantic relationship from 2002 to 2003 didn’t last, their friendship did. Quinlan described it as a bond that “morphed into eventually and seamlessly just being best friends, like brother and sister.”

Quinlan also explained one of her “regrets” surrounding Perry’s memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.

“I regret to this day that I did not call Matthew to tell him I was proud of him,” she said, explaining that a friend told her it was appropriate to reach out to him upon the book’s release. “It took a lot of guts and bravery for him to write that book and be so brutally honest.”

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing was released in 2022 and focused on Perry's time in Hollywood — on and off screen — as well as his decades-long struggle with addiction.

Related: Matthew Perry's Lasting Legacy: How He Won Our Hearts and Found a Mission Helping Others with Addiction

<p>David Livingston/Getty, Nick Rood/Young Hollywood/Getty</p> Maeve Quinlan and Matthew Perry

David Livingston/Getty, Nick Rood/Young Hollywood/Getty

Maeve Quinlan and Matthew Perry

Perry previously told PEOPLE: “I wanted to share when I was safe from going into the dark side again. I had to wait until I was pretty safely sober—and away from the active disease of alcoholism and addiction—to write it all down. I was pretty certain that it would help people if I did.”

Quinlan endorsed the point. “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," she told Soap Opera Digest.

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Perry died in October at the age of 54. After the actor was discovered unconscious in a hot tub, an autopsy report showed his cause of death was acute effects of ketamine along with drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine effects.

Ahead of his death, Perry had been reportedly sober for 19 months, the autopsy confirmed — though the actor had been receiving ketamine therapy treatments.

Of his death, Quinlan concluded, “It wasn’t a shock but I still couldn’t believe it happened,” she said. “And although we hadn’t seen each other in a while, I miss him very much.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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