The 'Friends' star made a flippant but incendiary comment when addressing the deaths of River Phoenix and Chris Farley.
In a recently released excerpt from his candid new book, Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry has a flippant remark about Reeves in the context of his friendship with the late River Phoenix.
"River was a beautiful man, inside and out -- too beautiful for this world, it turned out. It always seems to be the really talented guys who go down," Perry writes in an excerpt published by Variety. "Why is it that the original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger die, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?"
In another selection from the book, Perry circles back to the same sentiment when discussing the 1997 death of Chris Farley.
"His disease has progressed faster than mine had. (Plus, I had a healthy fear of the word 'heroin,' a fear we did not share)," the Friends star writes. "I punched a hole through Jennifer Aniston's dressing room wall when I found out. Keanu Reeves walks among us."
Responding to fan outrage over the incendiary reflection, Perry, 53, walked back his comments in a statement to People.
"I'm actually a big fan of Keanu," Perry said in a mea culpa. "I just chose a random name, my mistake. I apologize. I should have used my own name instead."
Perry's memoir details his long history with substance abuse and road to getting sober.
The actor previously told People about his struggles with alcohol and opioids, including his near-death experience just a few years ago as a result of his battle with addiction. Perry recalled suffering a gastrointestinal perforation at age 49 when his colon burst from opioid overuse. The star fought for his life, spending two weeks in a coma and five months in the hospital, and had to use a colostomy bag for nine months.
"The doctors told my family that I had a two percent chance to live," he said. "I was put on a thing called an ECMO machine, which does all the breathing for your heart and your lungs. And that's called a Hail Mary. No one survives that."
The book also recounts a failed romance he shared with the iconic Julia Roberts in the '90s, when she booked a guest appearance on Friends.
In an excerpt published by The Times of London, he writes, "Dating Julia Roberts had been too much for me. 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; I was broken, bent, unlovable."
He continues that the pressures of dating such a famous star made him decide to break up with her.
"Instead of facing the inevitable agony of losing her, I broke up with the beautiful and brilliant Julia Roberts," he writes. "She might have considered herself slumming it with a TV guy, and TV guy was now breaking up with her. I can’t begin to describe the look of confusion on her face."
Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing is out on Nov. 1.