Search icon


30th Oct 2023

Psychologist explains why we react so strongly when a celebrity dies

Callum Boyle

Matthew Perry

Many of us have mourned someone we’ve never met

Celebrity deaths can hit just as hard as the deaths of our much-loved ones in so many different ways.

Fans around the world have mourned the tragic news about the death of Matthew Perry, the popular actor who sadly died on Saturday October 28.

Perry was reportedly found in his hot tub at his home in Los Angeles.

Tributes from all around the world have poured in as people look back at his brilliant career, in which he was best known for his character Chandler Bing on hit US sitcom Friends.

While many didn’t know Perry personally, many have still been affected by the sad news and a psychologist has explained why we feel these emotions when it comes to celebrity deaths.

Mental health expert Tom Kersting told Reader’s Digest: “For example, Tom Petty’s passing can trigger past memories of his songs that can take a person back to that specific time in life.

“An actor’s death can bring back memories of a movie he or she did, triggering memories from that time in your own life.”

Kersting also provided some advice for those struggling with the news of Perry’s death, adding that people should “be grateful for the positive memories and fixate on that rather than on the sadness”.

Additionally, he added that while some people may not understand the reasons behind your grief, it doesn’t make them any less valid and if you begin find the grief overwhelming, don’t shy away from seeking professional help.

An investigation into the death of Perry remains ongoing and a cause of death is yet to be confirmed.

Related links: