EXCLUSIVE: How Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston's love for each other on and off screen offered a glimpse of what could've been between the two co-stars

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It was nan romance that almost was.

But nan mates who loved each different truthful overmuch knew that if ever they tumbled into furniture together it would spoil everything.

That whitethorn sound for illustration a storyline from Friends but it wasn't. It really played retired offscreen.

Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston were that couple. And conscionable arsenic Chandler and Rachel were ne'er lovers contempt some having plentifulness of different partners, nor were nan actors who played them.

But now, pursuing Perry's tragic play decease aged conscionable 54, Aniston is near wondering what mightiness person been had she fallen for him.

'Nobody shed much tears for Matthew during nan darkest points of his struggles pinch addiction than Jennifer,' 1 adjacent friend of nan character told DailyMail.com.

Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston had remained adjacent friends years aft Friends ended and up until his decease past weekend 

The formed of nan deed show sewage together for their long-awaited reunion successful 2021 – 17 years aft nan bid ended 

Perry was consoled by his co-star during nan tearful reunion pinch nan cast 

'There was speculation astatine nan clip of nan 2021 Friends reunion that Matthew wouldn't beryllium a portion of it because his demons had gotten nan amended of him. But Jennifer perfectly wouldn't person done it without him.

'He put successful nan activity and made it a occurrence moreover though he seemed frail.

'But Jennifer genuinely thought his worst days were down him. So his decease conscionable 2 years later has travel arsenic a bitter assemblage rustle to her.

'It doesn't matter whether he died arsenic a consequence of a freak mishap aliases whether it was straight connected to his supplier issues, this was a time that Jennifer has dreaded coming for 20 years,' added nan friend.

'She ever wanted to thief Matthew immoderate measurement she could – that was a changeless for her.'

Perry died past Saturday aft cutting short a crippled of pickleball. He was recovered underwater successful nan basking tub astatine his location successful Pacific Palisades, California.

The origin of decease has been deferred while waiting for toxicology reports which typically return six to 8 weeks. Police opportunity they recovered medicine pills astatine his location but nary forbidden drugs.

Aniston and Perry – calved conscionable six months isolated – were nan youngest of nan six Friends and arsenic specified stuck up an contiguous camaraderie erstwhile nan show first started shooting successful 1994.

He wrote successful his 2022 memoir Friends, Lovers and nan Big Terrible Thing that they had first met 3 years earlier Friends started and he tried to day her but she turned him down. 

Aniston and Perry's enslaved ne'er went beyond friendship, pinch insiders describing it arsenic 'a emblematic brother-sister type narration wherever they really watched retired for each other'

The heavy emotion and closeness betwixt nan brace was evident complete nan years, though nan 2 ne'er took a changeable astatine romance 

A clip of Jennifer breaking down successful tears arsenic she discussed nan 'idea of losing' her co-star and friend, Matthew, owed to addiction has resurfaced – 2 days aft nan character was recovered dead

'I was instantly taken by her (how could I not be?) and liked her, and I sewage nan consciousness she was intrigued excessively – possibly it was going to beryllium something,' he wrote.

When he landed nan Friends role, Jennifer was nan first personification he called, but he soon realized he had made a mistake.

'Bad idea,' he wrote. 'I could consciousness crystal forming done nan phone.

'Looking back, it was clear that this made her deliberation I liked her excessively overmuch aliases successful nan incorrect benignant of way.

'I only compounded nan correction by past asking her out,' he continued. 'She declined (which made it very difficult to really spell retired pinch her) but said that she'd emotion to beryllium friends pinch me, and I compounded nan compound by blurting, 'We can't beryllium friends!'

But contempt making that bad first belief he said things sewage overmuch amended erstwhile they showed up connected group for nan biggest deed sitcom of nan 1990s.

'Fortunately, moreover though I was still attracted to her and thought she was truthful great, that first time we were capable to sail correct past nan past and attraction connected nan truth that we had some gotten nan champion occupation Hollywood had to offer.'

And that closeness continued erstwhile nan show went disconnected nan aerial 10 years later.

'Right up until Matthew's first extended enactment successful rehab astir 2001, Jen and he partied and drank and conscionable blew disconnected steam together,' said Aniston's friend.

'I deliberation they were reluctant to return it further for fearfulness it would effect their adjacent friendship.

Aniston and Perry – calved conscionable six months isolated – were nan youngest of nan six Friends. They walked nan reddish carpet hand-in-hand astatine nan 1995 Emmys

Heartbroken Friends fans person flooded nan net pinch tributes to Matthew Perry 's adjacent enslaved pinch co-star Jennifer Aniston pursuing his untimely decease astatine nan weekend

Just arsenic Chandler and Rachel were ne'er lovers contempt some having plentifulness of different partners, neither were nan actors who played them

'So it was a emblematic brother-sister type narration wherever they really watched retired for each other.'

But erstwhile Perry's addictions kicked successful it was clear to Jennifer that she did not want to alteration him. 

Her parties, particularly earlier Brad Pitt near her for Angelina Jolie, progressive brew and vino and she knew that was not nan type of arena an alcoholic should beryllium attending.

'But she was ever checking successful connected him. She had a nonstop statement to him that nan different Friends formed simply didn't have.

In his 2022 memoir, Perry admitted he harbored a immense crush connected his co-star and moreover asked her retired connected a day erstwhile Friends first started filming successful 1994 

'She was nan 1 who would update nan remainder of nan group connected what Matt told her astir his superior wellness problems during nan 2010s.'

Jennifer collapsed down successful tears during a 2004 question and reply pinch Diane Sawyer. 'We didn't know,' she said. 

'We weren't equipped to woody pinch it and nan thought of losing him…'. she said earlier trailing off.

And successful a 2022 question and reply while promoting his book – again pinch Sawyer – Perry said astir Aniston: 'She was nan 1 that reached retired nan most,

'You know, I'm really grateful to her for that.'

When they moved successful their different directions – Aniston becoming an world sensation, Perry falling into addiction – Jennifer 'kind of replaced him' pinch Jason Bateman, nan friend said.

'Jason has a very akin vibe to Matthew,' he added. 'But without each nan baggage of a chronic supplier problem.

'However, she would driblet everything to drawback up pinch Matthew, moreover though he didn't want to beryllium a burden.

'He carried a batch much connected his shoulders than he had to, and that collapsed Jen's heart,' nan friend said.

'She would person done thing for that guy, and their relationship had matured into thing really enduring and respectful. 'She ever wanted to walk much clip pinch Matthew, not less, nary matter what he was going through.'

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