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Keith Morrison says stepson Matthew Perry was happy before death: 'It's a source of comfort'

"But also he didn't get to have his third act, and that's not fair," the "Dateline" correspondent shares of Perry's shocking death.

Nearly five months after the unexpected death of his stepson Matthew Perry, Keith Morrison is opening up about the grief that he still lives with “every day.”

During a Wednesday appearance on Hoda Kotb’s Making Space podcast, the Dateline correspondent said, “It’s as other people have told me hundreds of times. It doesn’t go away yet. It’s with you every day. It’s with you all the time. And there’s some new aspect of it that assaults your brain, and it’s not easy.”

Morrison, who married Perry’s mother Suzanne when the future Friends star was 12 years old, added that he takes comfort in knowing that Perry was in a good place before he passed.

“He was happy, and he said so. And he hadn’t said that for a long time,” Morrison said. “It’s a source of comfort, but also, he didn’t get to have his third act, and that’s not fair. And as he said himself, ‘If if I suddenly died, people would be shocked, but not too many people would be surprised.’ And he was right.”

<p>Mike Smith/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images</p> Keith Morrison and Matthew Perry

Mike Smith/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Keith Morrison and Matthew Perry

Perry was ​​found unresponsive in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home on Oct. 28, 2023 and pronounced dead at the scene. Morrison was photographed arriving at his home that night, along with his wife, Suzanne Langford Perry.

“It’s especially (not easy) for his mom,” Morrison added. “I don’t think I’m giving away too much if I say that toward the end of his life, they were closer than I had seen them for decades, and texting each other constantly and him sharing things with her that most middle-aged men don’t share with their mothers.”

As for his own relationship with Perry, Morrison spoke fondly of watching the actor grow and develop a “fiery” personality that was so different from his own. “In a way our personalities were, as they say, chalk and cheese,” he said. “He was loud and out there and funny and aggressive.”

He continued, “He had that kind of very fiery personality. And mine is not like that, as you can imagine. But we got along fine. I never tried to replace his dad, but I was there for him, and he knew it. We were close.”

<p>Gregg DeGuire/WireImage</p> Matthew Perry with mom Suzanne

Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Matthew Perry with mom Suzanne

That closeness remained as Perry entered adulthood, with the Dateline host noting how the actor endured a “whirlwind” as he grappled with the sudden fame that came from starring in Friends to the struggle of “fighting an addiction that was so virulent” in the public eye.

He added, “He came to understand he’d get to a certain point, and then he knew he had to go and get treatment. And he’d accept help when he needed it. But as he said himself, it just kept happening, and it was it was a big bear. It was a tough thing to be — big, terrible thing.”

The sentiment that Perry was doing well prior to his unexpected death was previously voiced by his Friends costar Jennifer Aniston who said in a December interview with Variety, "He was happy. He was healthy. He had quit smoking. He was getting in shape. He was happy — that’s all I know. I was literally texting with him that morning, funny Matty. He was not in pain. He wasn’t struggling.”

Perry, who was candid about his addiction struggles and difficult road to sobriety, became an outspoken advocate for substance use treatment. He had plans to establish a foundation to support others working through substance use issues before his death, and his loved ones opted to carry out that goal in his honor. In the wake of the actor’s death, Morrison and Perry’s mother started the Matthew Perry Foundation to help others struggling with addiction issues.

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