“The sudden passing of anybody so young is heartbreaking. I think that, you know, it just helps all of us just appreciate what we have and to keep going in a positive way as best we can,” Roberts told Entertainment Tonight on Monday, December 4.
The Pretty Woman star, 56, dated Perry from 1995 to 1996. The pair connected when he went to extreme lengths to convince her to be a guest star in the 1996 Friends episode “The One After the Superbowl,” in which she played a revenge-seeking childhood friend of his character, Chandler.
“They were all so welcoming to me as just a kind of one-off character and it was a really fun time,” Roberts told ET about the appearance, adding that she has “all good thoughts and feelings” about her stint on Friends.
“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 story line,” he wrote. “Let me say that again — she would only do the show if she could be in my story line. (Was I having a good year or what?) But first, I had to woo her.”
Perry initially sent Roberts three dozen roses with a note about his excitement for her potential guest role, but Roberts wanted something a bit more unconventional than flowers. “Her reply was that if I adequately explained quantum physics to her, she’d agree to be on the show,” he recalled. “The following day, I sent her a paper all about wave-particle duality and the uncertainty principle and entanglement, and only some of it was metaphorical.”
Roberts was so impressed with Perry’s response that she signed on to appear on Friends, and the two struck up a romance. “Not only did Julia agree to do the show, but she also sent me a gift: bagels — lots and lots of bagels,” he noted. “I did let her in, both figuratively and literally, and a relationship began. We would already be a couple by the time we started filming the Friends Super Bowl episode.”
While Roberts was smitten with Perry — she gushed on The Late Show With David Letterman in 1996 that she was originally intimidated by him because he was “awfully clever and funny and handsome” — Perry ultimately ended things with Roberts due to his insecurities about the relationship.
“Dating Julia Roberts had been too much for me. I had been constantly certain that she was going to break up with me,” he recounted. “Why would she not? I was not enough; I could never be enough; I was broken, bent, unlovable. So instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts.”
Perry had convinced himself that Roberts was “slumming it” with him, adding, “I can’t begin to describe the look of confusion on her face.”
Roberts went on to marry Danny Moder in 2002. The couple welcomed twins Hazel and Phinnaeus in 2004 and son Henry in 2007. Perry, for his part, was engaged to Molly Hurwitz from 2020 to 2021.