Popular culture has forever associated Matthew LeBlanc with his role as Joey Tribbiani on the long-running NBC sitcom “Friends.”
Millions of viewers around the world tuned in to watch Joey and his friends (Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, and Matthew Perry) go on countless adventures, always ending with Joey’s signature line, “How you doin’?”
The show’s success provided its stars not only recognition but also material wealth.
LeBlanc played a goofy, fun-loving character for all ten seasons of the TV phenomenon, but behind the scenes, he was silently suffering with stardom and going through a number of personal crises that took his mind off of his job.
By the middle of the 2000s, the “Friends” star’s life and profession had undergone a radical transformation. And it was fine by him. According to an interview he gave in 2020 to Watch magazine, he said, “I’m not looking to be an A-list movie star. I’m happy where I am. I feel successful. And I feel fulfilled.”
So what ended up happening to Matt LeBlanc? Let’s get into it.
Matt LeBlanc withdrew from public view
Matt LeBlanc was one of the six main performers on “Friends,” and he played the lovable klutz Joey for the whole series’ ten seasons.
The show’s massive success propelled him to international stardom; he was soon recognized wherever he went.
In a segment from the year 2020 of “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” LeBlanc discussed the “Friends” hysteria that he still remembers.
He recalled turning on the television one day to find aerial photographs of the residences of the six “Friends” actors. “Just showing the houses,” he explained, “there was no information, no news, really.”
When filming on “Friends” and its spinoff “Joey” ended, Matt LeBlanc took some time off. “I really didn’t think about work at all,” he said in a discussion for The Hollywood Reporter.
Additionally, he distanced himself from the spotlight by taking some time off. The Mirror reported that LeBlanc said, “For years and years, I barely left the house. I was burnt out. I wanted to not have a schedule, not be somewhere.” (LeBlanc later tweeted that he did not give the outlet an interview.)
In 2011, he returned to television with the series “Episodes,” and has since appeared in “Top Gear” and “Man with a Plan.”
His daughter had health issues as a baby
In 2004, Matt LeBlanc and his then-wife, Melissa McKnight, had a daughter they called Marina.
Marina was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia when she was just a baby, the Mirror reports.
“Cortical dysplasia occurs before a child is born, when developing brain cells, or neurons, fail to reach the parts of the brain for which they are genetically destined. … This condition is one of the most common causes of epilepsy and seizures.”
In 2014, LeBlanc reflected on that time, telling The Telegraph, “I didn’t feel like being funny. I had a lot going on in my personal life.”
The Telegraph also reported that Marina’s condition had improved while she was still an infant.
LeBlanc added that someone close to the family sold details about his daughter’s illness to the media.
The actor was understandably upset that this was released without his permission, but he kept his cool.
“If someone messes with your infant child, that instinct is very hard to suppress. I chose wisely. Nobody got hurt,” he explained.
He halted his career for six years
Matt LeBlanc had become accustomed to a hectic schedule during the filming of “Friends,” and when the massively successful comedy ended, he dove headfirst into filming the spinoff show, “Joey.”
LeBlanc remarked in a roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter, “I wanna take at least a year to not do anything, and that turned into six years, I was enjoying myself.”
He went on to explain that he was having a wonderful vacation and that he especially enjoyed being at home with his daughter Marina.
‘I really try to offset this computer age kid thing that’s going on now with as much time outside,’ he reportedly told the Mirror. ‘We prepare breakfast, go horseback riding, hiking.’ He said, “spending time with her is the best thing I’ve ever done. We have a great bond and it’s the best thing in my life.”
In that same article, he shared, “I remember when my daughter, Marina, was born. The second I laid eyes on her, I was in love, and I had never felt that way before.”
Having a comedic superstar as a father certainly has its advantages, but it doesn’t mean you can ask for anything you want for your birthday.
LeBlanc told People in 2016 that his daughter had requested that he utilize his influence to get Rihanna to her birthday bash. He joked, “I was like, ‘I’ll get right on that, sure.’”
A night at a strip club made headlines
After rumors spread that Matt LeBlanc had been too physical with a dancer at a nightclub in 2005, his reputation as a womanizer skyrocketed. LeBlanc made an open confession for his actions.
“The stripper was all over me, took off her top and wanted to perform a private dance, LeBlanc said to The Sun (via Female First). “She was in my face, pushing her breasts into me and grabbing my hands to go all over her body,” he said.
He then blamed his actions on the fact that he had been drinking that evening, but ultimately accepted responsibility. “If I had been sober perhaps I would have acted quicker but I was drunk,” LeBlanc reportedly stated. “I knew I was wrong.”
According to the Metro, the dancer, Stephanie Stephens, filed a lawsuit against LeBlanc in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that she lost income as a result of LeBlanc’s comments about the incident that were published in the National Inquirer.
Matt LeBlanc’s marriage came to an end
When asked about what ultimately doomed his relationship with Melissa McKnight, “Friends” star Matt LeBlanc said in a 2005 interview with the National Enquirer, “The stripper was all over me. I acted like a fool in allowing myself to be led astray and placed in such a horrible situation and I feel ashamed.” In spite of his admission of guilt, LeBlanc was not able to salvage his relationship and his personal life quickly began to unravel. “As a family man, I’ve asked myself, ‘How could I have been so stupid and naïve to get myself into such a situation with a stripper?’” LeBlanc told the outlet.
In March 2006, LeBlanc filed for divorce from McKnight, citing irreconcilable differences. “It was very sudden,” a friend of McKnight’s told People. “She was absolutely blindsided by what transpired.” LeBlanc’s publicist stated, “The dissolution is amicable.” They continue to be loving parents and friends since finalizing their divorce in September.
Shortly later, it was reported that LeBlanc was seeing his “Joey” co-star Andrea Anders.
He had an active dating life
According to the Mirror, Matt LeBlanc has been romantically linked to a long list of famous women, including Minnie Driver, Kate Hudson, Brandi Glanville, and Playboy Playmate Tonya Poole, all of whom gained notoriety after their relationships with the “Friends” star became public knowledge.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though; in 2010, LeBlanc met British actor Holly Magrath on the set of “Episodes,” and the two allegedly became romantically involved while he was still married, per E! News.
After the couple divorced, he began dating Andrea Anders, his co-star from the spinoff show “Joey.”
After meeting TV producer Aurora Mulligan on the set of “Top Gear,” LeBlanc pursued a relationship with her and the two dated for almost six years before breaking up in February 2022, as reported by The Sun.
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Matt LeBlanc kept earning millions
After “Friends” and “Joey,” Matt LeBlanc took a break from the sitcom industry, but that didn’t stop him from making millions of dollars as he spent his days at home with his daughter and avoided the spotlight.
In 2015, USA Today reported that a decade after the show ended, “Friends” reruns continued to generate $1 billion annually for Warner Bros.
Each cast member was reportedly earning 2% of the profits during syndication, which equated to $20 million a year.
A whopping $85 million is what LeBlanc is now worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth; not bad for a guy who, as co-creator Marta Kauffman revealed on HBO’s “Friends” reunion special (via The Sun), just had $11 to his name when he tried out for the job.
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