Matthew Perry revealed his close and loving – but platonic – relationship with the woman who was his personal assistant in his autobiography last year.
The person who made the frantic call to 911 to report finding Perry’s body in the jacuzzi at his Pacific Palisades home was described as his assistant – but whether or not the caller was that woman – Briana Brancato – has not been confirmed.
Perry, whose body was found in his hot tub on Saturday, let the world know how lonely he was and how he yearned for children, in his deeply personal memoir published October 2022.
But in the book he revealed one of his closest, years-long relationships was with Brancato, 34 – though he never named her, only describing her under the pseudonym ‘Erin’.
He said she was his ‘best friend’, that she ‘saved my life’ and that she even sat by his bedside every night for five months as he recovered from an exploded colon, and featured her in vivid, touching scenes in both the first and final chapters.
Dispatch audio mentions the call from an assistant, and gave a code that corresponded to drowning. The Los Angeles County coroner has listed Perry’s cause of death as ‘deferred’, pending the final results of toxicology tests.
The late Friends actor said his relationship with his assistant never turned romantic, but that she quickly became one of his closest companions.
In his autobiography, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, Perry said he met ‘Erin’ several years ago when she worked in a rehab clinic he was attending.
‘In the sober living house in Southern California, I had a view of West LA and two queen-size beds.’ The other bed, he said, was occupied by Erin..
‘I’d met her two years earlier, at another rehab where she had been working at the time. I didn’t get sober back then, but I saw how wonderful she was in every way and promptly stole her from that sober living rehab and made her my assistant, and she became my best friend.’
Brancato has also been clandestine at times about her links to Perry, only listing on LinkedIn her work as a ‘Personal Assistant’ to an ‘A List Celebrity’ at Phil Shubano Inc.
But California company records show the firm was controlled by Perry, and is named after a pseudonym he previously used to obtain prescription drugs.
In the wake of his death, Brancato wrote on social media, along with heartfelt pictures with Perry: ‘I’ve expressed my deepest gratitude to him on numerous occasions, not only for guiding me into a career I cherish but also for allowing me to take care of him for 7 years.
‘Along w [with] the countless other experiences I’m thankful for. From witnessing him in his genius to sharing in his worldly adventures living around the world, he took me on a remarkable journey.
‘My heart is heavy, but celebrating my memories is the most profound way to honor his legacy.
‘I hope that up there, in the great beyond, Mattman is sending us signs. We truly need them. You’ll forever be in my heart. I love you Matty.’
Rumors swirled in 2021 that he had a romantic relationship with Brancato that caused his split with his then-fiancée Molly Hurwitz, after he posted a picture sitting on a couch with his assistant just days after the break up.
But in his book he insisted his and ‘Erin’s bond was never sexual.’
He described how she saved his life, when staff at a rehab he was at in 2019 tried to stop him going to hospital after his colon exploded.
The scene, written vividly in the first chapter of the book, tells how she pushed past the nurses, she bundled him into her car and they sped to UCLA on a bumpy ride that left Perry unconscious from the headsplitting pain.
‘”I have to go fast,” Erin said, her brown, compassionate eyes looking over at me with concern and fear. “We have to get you there now.” It was right about here that I drifted out of consciousness,’ Perry wrote.
‘She saved my life at the rehab when my insides exploded, and she saves it every day still,’ he later added.
The diligent friend and employee then stayed by his bedside for months, Perry wrote.
‘Erin pulled the night shift for five months in that hospital,’ he said.
He wrote the assistant even lived with Perry for a period in his Century City penthouse condo, and he described trying to sneak past her and a nurse to pick up OxyContin from his drug dealer when his doctors refused to give him more.
Residency records show Brancato did indeed live at Penthouse 40 at 1 Century Drive, the luxury tower the Chandler Bing actor owned at the time.
Perry also wrote how he first bonded with Brancato over their shared struggles with addiction, and his gratitude that she supported his sobriety by quitting smoking with him – ‘because she remains the single nicest person in the world’.
He devoted the last heart-wrenching passage in the final pages of his memoir to his ‘best friend’.
‘She’s always there when I need her,’ he wrote. ‘Erin, Erin, Erin… She saved my life at the rehab when my insides exploded, and she saves it every day still. Who knows what I’d do without her; I intend to never find out.
‘I can tell she’s itching for a cigarette, but she doesn’t break. Find a friend who’ll quit something with you—you’ll be amazed what that does for a friendship.’
Perry died on Saturday aged 54. He had not been in his hot tub for very long before his assistant discovered his lifeless body and attempted to resuscitate him, according to a new report.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Perry’s body was not ‘waterlogged’ when emergency services arrived at the actor’s home on Saturday.
He was pronounced dead at the scene after firefighters lifted him from the jacuzzi.