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Inside Matthew Perry’s bond with stepdad Keith Morrison and his five half-siblings: Actor loved caring for his mom’s other kids after becoming a big brother at 12 – but it was his ‘beautiful sisters’ who rescued him during the darkest days of his addiction


Matthew Perry spent years struggling with drug addiction and alcohol use before his life was tragically cut short this weekend when he passed away from an apparent drowning – but throughout his downward spiral and horrific battle with substance abuse, the star was continuously supported by his loving family.

The Friends alum has credited his parents’ and ‘beautiful’ siblings’ ability to ‘never turn their back on him’ with helping him to get through his darkest days, and once revealed how he leaned heavily on them after he spent two weeks in a coma in 2018 when his colon burst.

And while he had a very close bond with them as an adult, the star has been very honest about how he struggled to cope with his parents’ divorce and how he was left feeling ‘on the outside looking in’ after his mom got remarried and welcomed his half-siblings.

Matthew’s father, an actor, model, and musician, ‘abandoned’ him and his mom before his firth birthday, leaving them to move to Los Angeles and focus on his career.

Matthew Perry (seen in 2016) has passed away at age 54 from an apparent drowning. He was found unresponsive in the hot tub at his LA home, but no cause of death has been revealed

Matthew Perry (seen in 2016) has passed away at age 54 from an apparent drowning. He was found unresponsive in the hot tub at his LA home, but no cause of death has been revealed

The Friends alum (seen with his costars) battled addiction during the height of his fame, but he has credited his parents and siblings with helping him to get through his darkest days

The Friends alum (seen with his costars) battled addiction during the height of his fame, but he has credited his parents and siblings with helping him to get through his darkest days

As the world comes to grips with Matthews shock passing, FEMAIL broke down the late actor's relationship with his parents and siblings. He's seen with his sister Madeline in 2004

As the world comes to grips with Matthews shock passing, FEMAIL broke down the late actor’s relationship with his parents and siblings. He’s seen with his sister Madeline in 2004

His mom, a former pageant queen and journalist who went on to become the press secretary for the Canadian Prime Minister, was fiercely focused on her career, which meant Matthew was often left desperately longing for her ‘attention.’

Thanks to his fractured relationship with his father and his mom’s immensely busy schedule, an extremely lonely Matthew began to act out by age 10.

But when his mom tied the knot a second time to Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison, the two grew extremely close – and Matthew has credited him with bringing his family back together.

Suzanne and Matthew went on to welcome four kids together, and Matthew has said that he loved becoming a big brother ‘instantly’ – but he admitted that he sometimes felt like he ‘wasn’t a part’ of his mom’s ‘new family.’

Even so, he has gushed over how much he enjoyed ‘babysitting’ and ‘playing dumb games’ with his younger siblings as a kid, something that he said made him excited to one day become a father to his own children – which he will now never get to achieve.

It was revealed on Saturday that the beloved actor had passed away at the age of 54, after he was found unresponsive in the hot tub at his Los Angeles home. No official cause of death has been reported.

Sources told DailyMail.com afterwards that Matthew tragically died longing for a wife and kids, after a series of failed relationships left him worried his ‘dream’ of being a father would never come true.

‘Matthew always dreamed of having the perfect family,’ the insider revealed. ‘He wanted a wife, and at least a couple of kids. And he said he wouldn’t even mind marrying a woman who already had kids.

‘Lately the star has been looking for love again. But a string of failed relationships left him feeling sad and depressed, and as if he would never find that love he longed for.’ 

As the world comes to grips with Matthews shock passing, FEMAIL went ahead and broke down the late actor’s relationship with his parents, stepfather, and half-siblings.

From how he salvaged his bond with his father after spending most of his childhood seeing him more on the screen than in person and how taking care of his siblings as a child and teen inspired him to want to become a dad to how his family stuck by him during his drug problems and took care of him after he nearly lost his life due to his excessive opioid use – here’s an intimate look into Matthew’s family life.

Matthew’s parents: His mom was a pageant queen and successful journalist, while his dad was a musician and actor – who ‘abandoned’ the family when the Friends star was a baby to focus on his career

Matthew was born on August 19, 1969, to a Canadian beauty queen named Suzanne Marie Morrison (seen) and a former model and musician named John Bennett Perry

Matthew was born on August 19, 1969, to a Canadian beauty queen named Suzanne Marie Morrison and a former model and musician named John Bennett Perry (seen)

Matthew was born on August 19, 1969, to a Canadian beauty queen named Suzanne Marie Morrison (left) and a former model and musician named John Bennett Perry (right)

John went on to become a major actor, and he's now starred in a slew of movies and TV shows. He's seen in the sitcom The One With Rachel's New Dress

John went on to become a major actor, and he’s now starred in a slew of movies and TV shows. He’s seen in the sitcom The One With Rachel’s New Dress

Matthew was born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, to a Canadian beauty queen named Suzanne Marie Morrison and a former model and musician named John Bennett Perry.

His parents met when his dad’s folk group, The Serendipity Singers, performed at one of the pageants his mom was in back in 1967.

Keith was by the actor's side after he suffered from a life-threatening health scare when his colon burst in 2018, which left him in a coma for two weeks and in the hospital for five months.

As for Matthew’s mom, Suzanne (seen earlier this week), she has had an impressive career as a reporter, writer, and news anchor – and she even served as the press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

They started dating soon after, tied the knot in 1968, and welcomed Matthew one year after that.

‘At the time, they were two of the most gorgeous people on the face of the planet – you should see pictures of them from their wedding – you just want to punch them in their perfectly chiseled faces,’ Matthew once said of his parents in his memoir.

John went on to become a major actor, and he’s now starred in a slew of movies and TV shows including the sci-fi flick Independence Day, the comedy George of the Jungle, the soap opera Days of Our Lives, the political drama West Wing, and crime series Murder, She Wrote, among others.

In addition, he was the host of the daytime talk show EveryDay from 1978 to 1979, which earned him a Daytime Emmy Award nomination.

Matthew's parents divorced in 1970, when he was only nine months old, and he has admitted that his dad (seen in 1997) leaving them when he was so young had a long lasting effect on him

Matthew’s parents divorced in 1970, when he was only nine months old, and he has admitted that his dad (seen in 1997) leaving them when he was so young had a long lasting effect on him

At age 15, Matthew moved from Ottawa to Los Angeles, to spend more time with his dad and to pursue his dreams of being an actor. They're  seen together in 2003

At age 15, Matthew moved from Ottawa to Los Angeles, to spend more time with his dad and to pursue his dreams of being an actor. They’re  seen together in 2003

As for Matthew’s mom, Suzanne, she has had an impressive career as a reporter, writer, and news anchor – and she even served as the press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

Matthew’s parents divorced in 1970, when he was only nine months old, after two years of marriage.

In his book, the Friends star explained that his parents drove from Massachusetts to Canada to see his maternal grandfather.

But after arriving, he said his dad ‘took him out of the car seat, handed him to his grandfather, and quietly abandoned’ them.

John then moved to LA so he could focus on his acting career, while Matthew and his mom stayed in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 

While he called John a ‘wonderful father’ and his ‘hero’ in his book, Matthew admitted that him leaving them when he was so young had a long lasting effect on him.

‘I saw his face more often on TV or in magazines than I did in reality,’ he wrote. 

John went on to re-marry a woman named Debbie Boyle in 1981, and they welcomed a daughter together, named Maria (seen together in 1997)

John went on to re-marry a woman named Debbie Boyle in 1981, and they welcomed a daughter together, named Maria (seen together in 1997)

Just days before his death, Matthew shared a rare photo of himself hanging out with his dad to Instagram

Just days before his death, Matthew shared a rare photo of himself hanging out with his dad to Instagram

At age 15, Matthew moved from Ottawa to Los Angeles, California, to spend more time with his dad and to pursue his dreams of being an actor, and he lived with him until his career took off.

Over the years, they starred in a few movies and shows together, portraying father and son, including the 1997 flick Fools Rush In, and an episode of the sitcom Scrubs (seen)

Over the years, they starred in a few movies and shows together, portraying father and son, including the 1997 flick Fools Rush In, and an episode of the sitcom Scrubs (seen)

Over the years, they starred in a few movies and shows together, portraying father and son, including the 1997 flick Fools Rush In, and an episode of the sitcom Scrubs.

John also had a brief appearance in the fourth season of Friends as the father of Rachel Green’s boyfriend Joshua. 

Just days before his death, Matthew shared a rare photo of himself hanging out with his dad to Instagram.

‘Here is me, and my father John, both holding a beverage,’ he captioned the shot.

John went on to re-marry a woman named Debbie Boyle in 1981 – who Matthew referred to as ‘a lovely woman’ in his book – and they welcomed a daughter together, named Maria. 

The stepdad who ‘held the family together’: Matthew’s mom re-married Dateline correspondent Keith when the actor was 12, and the two formed a strong bond

In 1981, when Matthew was 11, Suzanne got re-married to Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison, and he became a very important role model in Matthew's life

In 1981, when Matthew was 11, Suzanne got re-married to Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison, and he became a very important role model in Matthew’s life

In his tome, Matthew admitted that he struggled to get his mother’s attention throughout his childhood due to her busy schedule – which meant he spent a lot of time alone as a kid.

In his book, Matthew credited Keith with 'holding' his family 'together.' He's seen in 2019

In his book, Matthew credited Keith with ‘holding’ his family ‘together.’ He’s seen in 2019

‘My mom’s job therefore meant that she was away at work a lot – and I was left to compete with the ongoing concerns of a major Western democracy and its charismatic swordsman leader if I wanted a little attention,’ he said. 

Dealing with the pain of his dad ‘abandoning them’ and the lack of ‘attention’ from his mom, Matthew began to act out by age 10.

He once recalled stealing money, smoking, and even getting into fist fights with his fellow students.

But in 1981, when Matthew was 11, Suzanne got re-married to Dateline correspondent Keith, and he became a very important role model in Matthew’s life. 

Before joining Dateline, Keith – who has a son, named Michael, from a previous marriage – worked for a bunch of impressive publications including The Journal, NBC Nightly News, and the Today show. 

In his book, Matthew credited Keith with ‘holding’ his family ‘together.’

‘My family was held together by one man, and that was Keith Morrison,’ he gushed. 

Keith has spoken very highly of Matthew and has been very supportive of his career over the years.

Keith (seen this week) was by the actor's side after he suffered from a life-threatening health scare when his colon burst in 2018

Keith (seen this week) was by the actor’s side after he suffered from a life-threatening health scare when his colon burst in 2018

‘There’s no describing what a wonder it is, Matthew is one of those people who always is the center of the room for a reason and it was so as a kid,’ he told People in 2020.

‘He’s an intense, talented, focused character. He’s very bright. That was always the case as he was growing up. He was the guy.’

He was also by the actor’s side after he suffered from a life-threatening health scare when his colon burst in 2018, which left him in a coma for two weeks and in the hospital for five months.

‘We were able to be with him a lot of the time through that, which was I think good for everybody,’ Keith said to People.

‘It’s awful when people have a serious [illness] and have to have operations and worry about whether or not they’re going to make it through. 

‘But it brings the whole family closer. We all get to be there to pull for him. He’s coming through it.’

Becoming a big brother: Suzanne and Keith welcomed four kids together, and Matthew has credited his ‘beautiful’ siblings with helping him get through his recovery after his colon burst in 2018

Suzanne and Keith welcomed four kids together over the years: Caitlin in 1981, Emily in 1985, Will in 1987, and Madeleine in 1989. Matthew is seen with Madeline in 2002

Suzanne and Keith welcomed four kids together over the years: Caitlin in 1981, Emily in 1985, Will in 1987, and Madeleine in 1989. Matthew is seen with Madeline in 2002

Matthew has credited becoming a big brother with eventually leading to him wanting to have kids of his own in adulthood. He's seen with his brother in 2001

Matthew has credited becoming a big brother with eventually leading to him wanting to have kids of his own in adulthood. He’s seen with his brother in 2001

Months after tying the knot, Suzanne and Keith welcomed their first child together, a daughter, named Caitlin.

Matthew said in his book that he loved her ‘instantly’ and credited becoming a big brother with leading to him wanting to have kids of his own in adulthood.

'I loved playing with them all, babysitting them, playing dumb games with them. There is no greater sound than a child’s laughter,' the actor (seen with his mom and sister) recalled

‘I loved playing with them all, babysitting them, playing dumb games with them. There is no greater sound than a child’s laughter,’ the actor (seen with his mom and sister) recalled

His second sister, Emily, was born in 1985, followed by his brother, Will, in 1987, and another sister, Madeline, in 1989.

‘I loved playing with them all, babysitting them, playing dumb games with them. There is no greater sound on the face of the planet than a child’s laughter,’ the actor recalled.

But he admitted that he sometimes felt left out due his age difference from his other siblings, which contributed to his ‘bad behavior’ as a teen.

‘There was a family growing up around me, a family I didn’t really feel part of,’ he wrote.

‘Things at home just got worse and worse. My mom had a wonderful new family with Keith.

‘[When] Emily arrived, and she was blond and cute as a button. And just like Caitlin, I loved her instantly. 

‘However, I was so often on the outside looking in, still that kid up in the clouds on a flight to somewhere else, unaccompanied.’

Despite Matthew being open about how he struggled to cope with his ‘new family’ as a child, he credited his siblings with helping him to get through his problems later in life. 

But he admitted that he sometimes felt left out due his age difference from his other siblings, which contributed to his 'bad behavior' as a teen. He's seen with his sister Emily in 2000

But he admitted that he sometimes felt left out due his age difference from his other siblings, which contributed to his ‘bad behavior’ as a teen. He’s seen with his sister Emily in 2000

'There was a family growing up around me, a family I didn’t really feel part of,' Matthew (seen with Madeline in 2004) wrote. 'I was so often on the outside looking in'

‘There was a family growing up around me, a family I didn’t really feel part of,’ Matthew (seen with Madeline in 2004) wrote. ‘I was so often on the outside looking in’

But Matthew (seen with his brother, Will) has credited his 'beautiful' siblings with helping him to get through his problems later in life

But Matthew (seen with his sister Madeline) has credited his 'beautiful' siblings with being there for him during his problems later in life

But Matthew (seen left with his brother, Will, and right with his sister Madeline) has credited his ‘beautiful’ siblings with helping him to get through his problems later in life

‘My sisters’ faces shadow my parents’, as does my brother’s, each of them beaming at me, not just at a hospital bedside, but also in Canada, and Los Angeles as I tried to crack them up with my patter,’ he wrote.

‘They never dropped the ball once, any of them, never turned their backs on me, ever. Imagine such love if you can.’

He added that he especially leaned on them while he was recovering from his colon bursting in 2018.

‘During the days in the hospital I threw myself into family, spending hours with my beautiful sisters Emily, Maria, and Madeline who were funny and caring and there,’ he said.

While his siblings have accompanied Matthew at a few events over the years, they’ve mostly stayed out of the spotlight.

Caitlin briefly dabbled in acting – she starred in the 2000 movie The Whole Ten Yards alongside her brother – but hasn’t appeared in anything else since then.

Madeleine works as a Dateline producer, but the rest of their jobs are not known. 



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