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Heartwarming reason Matt LeBlanc put his career on hold after Joey from Friends
Featured Image Credit: Tsuni/USA/LANDMARK MEDIA/Alamy Stock Photo

Heartwarming reason Matt LeBlanc put his career on hold after Joey from Friends

Matt LeBlanc took a five-year hiatus from acting to spend time with his daughter Marina, who has a brain condition

It turns out Matt LeBlanc is just as loving and kind as his iconic character from Friends.

LeBlanc is best known for his role as Joey Tribbiani, a goofy lothario with a loveable personality, whom he played for 10 seasons between 1994-2004.

Once Friends ended, LeBlanc went on to play Joey in the spin-off, titled Joey, which was cancelled after only two seasons.

But behind the scenes, the former Top Gear presenter put his career on hold to help his daughter, Marina, who started to suffer seizures at the age of just eight months.

LeBlanc tied the knot with Melissa McKnight, an American actress, and the couple expanded their family the same year when they welcomed Marina in February.

LeBlanc started to notice something was amiss when his daughter would always fall to her left side when crawling.

She was eventually diagnosed with cortical dysplasia, a brain disorder that affects neurological functions.

LeBlanc and McKnight divorced in October 2006, Joey was cancelled two months earlier, making the end of a 12-year stint as the same character.

Matt LeBlanc and his daughter Marina.
Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

He described this period in his life as a ‘dark time’ in an interview with The Mirror, saying: “For years and years, I hardly left the house. I was burned out. I wanted to have no commitments and not be anywhere.

"And I was in a position to do that. Most actors call their agents and ask what they have for them. I called mine and told him to lose my number for a few years.

"It was a dark time. I almost had a nervous breakdown.”

LeBlanc had announced he would take a year-long hiatus from television, but this eventually turned into five years. During this period he lived on a ranch in California with his daughter.

LeBlanc took a break from acting for five years.
REUTERS/Alamy Stock Photo.

“My daughter was diagnosed with a brain problem. It was a very dark period, but we were able to get through it — don’t they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?”

He told The Telegraph: “I didn’t feel like being funny. I had a lot going on in my personal life. I knew I wasn’t missing out on anything. I had dabbled with the celebrity world.

"I’d partied a bit. But there wasn’t anything there that could fulfil me. I mean, I have beers in the fridge at home.”

Marina is doing a lot better now and not only is the 18-year-old a ‘daddy’s girl’, but she's also a fan of ‘horses and Rihanna’.

The pair have also watched episodes of Friends together and he has a very special name for the show.

The actor has admitted that he and his daughter have watched episodes of Friends together.
Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo.

"It's still on all the time, so we'll stop and watch it if we're channel surfing and it pops up," he told Radio Times.

She loves to ask me questions about it. She'll say: 'Was that real? Did you really eat that? What did that taste like? Ooh, you ate that off the floor? That's gross! You're so funny, Dad’.

“ It’s fun to sit and watch it with her. She used to call it The Joey Tribbiani Show – but now she knows to call it Friends.”

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Topics: Film and TV, Friends, Parenting