As we near one week since the passing of beloved actor Matthew Perry, one of the last people to see him was Athenna Crosby.
Media outlets dubbed her a “mystery woman” after photos were published of her and Perry having lunch at the Hotel Bel-Air a day before his death.
The coverage prompted her to take to social media to identify herself.
“Once again I never intended to say anything but since I have been identified yes that is me with him this past Friday. I want to emphasize that Matthew was in extremely good spirits and talked to me enthusiastically about the things that he has coming up in his life,” she wrote to her Instastory. “He was so happy and vibrant. Please refrain from any speculation surrounding his death and know that the man was on a comeback and truly deserved more time on this earth our entertainment industry has truly lost a legend RIP.”
Crosby provided more details about her friendship with Sam Rubin on the KTLA 5 Morning News.
The model said she first learned of the “Friends” star’s passing while she was in her car and saw the breaking news on her phone.
“I was absolutely in shock,” she explained. “I can’t even begin to describe how insane I felt knowing that I had just spoken to him the day before. He seemed completely fine. I could never have seen this coming in a million years. And it has been just the most insane situation. But I’m glad now that I can provide a little bit of solace to the fans wondering, was he OK?”
The former Miss California USA finalist said Perry was “happy” and “doing great” when the pair met up a week ago.
“Obviously, he’s known in the industry (and) beloved by fans for some of his amazing work in the entertainment industry. But he was also a very passionate activist for substance abuse and alcohol abuse. And that’s something that he had so many big dreams and plans for,” she explained.
She then elaborated on the dreams he had for the future.
“He was sharing with me that he wanted to start his own foundation to help people through recovery,” she continued. “He also wanted to get back on screen and be an actor again, and be a part of a biopic surrounding his life and his achievements. So not only was he okay, he was thriving. It could not be more tragic that he happened to pass away right at the crux of his comeback.”
The Matthew Perry Foundation was launched on Nov. 3 to fulfill that dream.
“He really wanted to use his fame and notoriety to provide a platform for other people struggling with addiction recovery,” she said. “He wanted to use his fame to highlight other people’s stories of addiction and recovery and also use a lot of his own personal funds to donate to people to help them on that journey. Of course, there might be plans that he had, that are unbeknownst to me, that maybe he shared with others, or maybe he kept to himself.”
Many have speculated as to the kind of relationship between Crosby and Perry. She told Sam that she didn’t know the actor that well and she had met him in person before. But, last week was their first time having lunch.
She had no idea this seemingly quiet lunch would end up making headlines days later.
“I don’t even have words to describe how it’s been. (I) was not initially going to say anything about it, given that I’m also in the media, and I’m in entertainment and you don’t really talk about private friendships that you have with celebrities,” she explained. “I’m really just here to clean all of those theories up and say, ‘I was a friend, I’m here to defend his reputation. He was sober, he was clean. His behavior was amazing.’ I’m really here just to preserve his legacy and put all those speculations to rest to assure those fans that he was okay.”
“My heart really goes out to those family members and friends that didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to him. At least I have some comfort knowing that I did get the chance to say goodbye and that it was a beautiful last moment that we shared.”