Who Is Briana Brancato, The Assistant Who Once Saved Matthew Perry's Life?

Matthew Perry had several close-knit friendships that we're only starting to learn about in the aftermath of his death. Former co-star Hank Azaria took to Instagram to share that Perry was like a brother to him and also credited the "Friends" alum with helping him to get sober. Perry's "Fools Rush In" co-star, Salma Hayek, also wrote a touching tribute where she described how the two bonded over their mutual love of the craft and continued to reminisce about their work together years later.

After re-visiting Perry's tell-all memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing," we also learned a lot about Perry's close relationship with his assistant, Briana Brancato, who worked for him for seven years and reportedly left to pursue a career as a personal trainer. The actor described how their paths first crossed, writing, "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," (via The Mirror).

While they initially sparked dating rumors, in his book, Perry clarified their relationship went from professional to platonic as they formed a deep bond. Since Brancato worked at a rehab center, she understood Perry's struggles with addiction all too well, so she stuck by him through the highs and lows and even saved the beloved star's life at one point. 

Briana Brancato helped Matthew Perry in his sobriety journey

After a fateful drug-related incident during a rehab stint, Matthew Perry's colon burst and he had a terrifying near-death experience. Per The Mirror, in his memoir, the "Friends" star detailed how Briana Brancato saved his life by personally rushing him to UCLA even while the rehab staff strongly urged her against it. Perry recalled that the car ride was bumpy and painful, and the last thing he remembered before passing out was Brancato telling him that she needed to speed up so they could get to the hospital in time. 

But she wasn't about to leave Perry alone. The actor described how Brancato, whom he referred to as Erin, helped him during the time: "Erin pulled the night shift for five months in that hospital." Further, "In the sober living house in Southern California, I had a view of West LA and two queen-size beds," one of which was for Brancato. Perry explained that when he first met her, she, too, was facing a similar struggle as she quit smoking, and the two formed a deep connection as a result.

The duo agreed to quit smoking together, and while Brancato often desperately craved a cigarette, his dedicated P.A. never gave in because she honored their pact. Perry succinctly described how much Brancato meant to him: "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."

She wrote him a sweet tribute

After news of Matthew Perry's tragic passing broke, Briana Brancato took to Instagram to write him a heartfelt tribute featuring a carousel of images of the two of them hanging out over the years. In the caption, she wrote, "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 [with] the countless other experiences I'm thankful for." 

Brancato added that she was grateful she got a front-row seat to witness Perry's beautiful mind working and that she got to travel around the world with the "Friends" star. Brancato chose to post pictures to honor Perry by sharing some of her fondest memories of him. She finished her post with, "You'll forever be in my heart. I love you Matty." 

Brancato first posted about Perry in 2020 to welcome him to Instagram. Later, she shared a photo of herself in a hoodie with Perry's face on it to celebrate five years of working for him. Brancato also blessed us with several snaps of Alfred, the dog Perry shared with ex-fiancee Molly Hurwitz. Some commenters even suggested she adopt the pup, but Alfred has reportedly been living with Hurwitz since the split, which is also why Lisa Kudrow couldn't adopt him after Perry's death. When Brancato is off the clock, she loves exercising, cooking, and traveling