Matthew Perry demonstrated the significance of uniqueness with his proposal to Julia Roberts. He tried to get her to star in Friends.
An excerpt from his forthcoming memoir, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, reveals that the sitcom actor sent the Eat Pray Love star an entire paper on quantum physics.
Perry attempted to persuade Roberts to be on board in the 1996 Season 2 episode “The One After the Superbowl, Part 2.”
“Julia had been offered the post-Super Bowl episode in season 2, and she would only do the show if she could be in my storyline,” Perry said, according to an excerpt from The Times.
“Let me say that again. She would only do the show if she could be in my storyline. (Was I having a good year or what?) But first, I had to woo her.”
The actor tried to get Roberts to say yes by sending “three dozen roses” and a note. (Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman inspired him to do so.)
The note read: “The only thing more exciting than the prospect of you doing the show is that I finally have the excuse to send you flowers.”
But Perry didn’t get a classic answer.
“Her reply was that if I adequately explained quantum physics to her, she’d agree to be on the show,” Perry recounted. “Wow. First of all, I’m in an exchange with the woman for whom lipstick was invented. And now I have to hit the books.”
He then immediately plunged into the world of quantum mechanics. It was all worth it, because he was rewarded triumphantly.
“The following day, I sent her a paper about wave-particle duality and the uncertainty principle and entanglement. And only some of it was metaphorical,” he said.
“Not only did Julia agree to do the show, but she sent me a gift. Bagels – lots and lots of bagels. Sure, why not? I was Julia f—king Roberts.”
The two quickly became friends through the fax machine. And it bloomed into something more.
“I did let her in, both figuratively and literally. And a relationship began,” he recalled. “We would already be a couple by the time we started filming the Friends Super Bowl episode.”
In the episode, Roberts portrays Chandler’s elementary school classmate Susie Moss. The two came together and started to go out. However, Susie has just planned the scheme to get back to Chandler. During their date, she steals all of his clothes for shaming her in the fourth grade.
Kevin Bright, the series’ executive producer, recounted the academic paper and exchange of faces between Roberts and Perry in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2021.
“Matthew asked her to be on the show. She wrote back to him. ‘Write me a paper on quantum physics, and I’ll do it,” he stated. “My understanding is that Matthew went away and wrote a paper and faxed it to her the next day.”
Perry Cut the Ties
Alexa Junge, a scriptwriter, also remembers the notes vividly.
“There was a lot of flirting over faxing. She was giving him these questionnaires like, ‘Why should I go out with you?’” she stated.
“And everyone in the writers’ room helped him explain to her why. He could do pretty well without us. But there was no question we were on Team Matthew and trying to make it happen for him.”
However, Perry ultimately backed down two months into their relationship because of his insecurities, as stated in his memoir.
“Dating Julia Roberts had been too much for me,” he said, according to the Times.
“I had been constantly certain that she was going to break up with me. Why would she not? I was not enough. I could never be enough. And I was broken, bent, unloveable. So, instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts.
“She might have considered herself slumming it with a TV guy. And TV guy was not breaking up with her. I can’t begin to describe the look of confusion on her face.”
Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing will be available on November 1.