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Matt LeBlanc - Biography

The Friends actor is adored for his former role as Joey Tribbiani

Matt LeBlanc at Children's Hospital Los Angeles Gala, Arrivals, USA - 08 Oct 2022
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior Features Writer
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Matt LeBlanc was born on July 25, 1967, in Newton, Massachusetts. As a young boy, he fell in love with motorcycles, but his concerned mum suggested he find another outlet for entertainment. That new outlet was acting and quickly became his new passion.

Shortly after graduating from Newton North High School in 1985, Matt set his sights on the Big Apple. He moved to New York and, low on cash, used his considerable charm to convince two stewardesses he had a massive trust fund and that they should take him in. Seduced by the heart-throb, they did.

Matt LeBlanc's career

Matt went on to star in an award-winning commercial for Heinz ketchup, as well as in spots for Coca-Cola and Doritos to pay the bills. Bit parts in movies like Lookin' Italian co-starring Canadian chanteuse Alanis Morissette followed, as did roles in Vinnie & Bobby on the small screen. Hollywood casting directors assumed he was just a pretty face, however, and cast him time and again as an Italian stud. (For the record, he's of Italian, French, English, Irish and Dutch descent.)

Like his former alter-ego Joey Tribbiani, Matt also toiled playing bit parts in forgettable dramas. That was before Friends aired in 50 countries worldwide and landed his now-famous face on everything from magazine covers to coffee mugs.

It took the team behind Friends to discover that Matt isn't just eye candy. He's funny, too! The 5ft 11in hunk parlayed his early success with the NBC sitcom into starring roles in a handful of silver screen clunkers, including the simian comedy Ed and the high-profile $70 million bomb, Lost In Space. But after a hilarious turn as Lucy Liu's boy toy in Charlie's Angels, the offers began to flow in.

After ten hugely successful seasons of Friends, the iconic show ended in 2004. But it wasn't the end of Joey Tribbiani. The actor reprised his character for the spin-off series, Joey, which ran for two seasons. Although die-hard fans welcomed Joey back on their screens, it failed to match the heights of the original show.

In recent years, Matt has enjoyed a career revival. From 2011 onwards, he began playing a fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom, Episodes – which won him a Golden Globe. The show itself was also nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards.

In 2016, the actor – a keen petrolhead – set his sights on work on this side of the pond when he began hosting the BBC motor series, Top Gear, a role he enjoyed for two years. He then returned to comedy, fronting the CBS sitcom, Man With a Plan, which ran until 2020.

Matt LeBlanc's personal life

Matt found romance with model Melissa McKnight, who became his wife in May 2003. While he once lived by the mantra "Girlfriends come and go, but my mum will always be there for me" in Melissa he found his true love.

"My buddy Michael Douglas told me, 'Marriage is the way to go'," said the actor previously. "And I agree with him 100 per cent. There were times when I ran around town chasing skirts, but those days are over... Every day I go to work with a spring in my step. It's down to Melissa and the stability I've found in our family unit. Some of my buddies ask if I yearn for the good old days. They laugh when I tell them, 'The good new days are better'."

However, in 2006, citing irreconcilable differences, the pair started divorce proceedings. The star then went on to date his Joey co-star Andrea Anders for a number of years following his divorce, but they announced their split in 2015. More recently, he was in a relationship with TV producer Aurora Mulligan, who he met on the set of Top Gear. In 2022, they split after six years of dating.

Matt has endured heartbreak in other ways. In October 2023, his Friends co-star Matthew Perry was found dead in his hot tub in Los Angeles. Posting on social media, Matt shared a tribute which read: "Matthew, It is with a heavy heart I say goodbye," adding: "The times we had together are honestly among the favorite times of my life. Spread your wings and fly brother, you're finally free. Much love. And I guess you're keeping the 20 bucks you owe me.

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