Name: Matt LeBlanc
Friend: Joey Tribbiani
How We Were First Introduced: Trained as a carpenter, the Newton, Mass. native was in a number of widely run TV commercials, for brands including Levis and Coca-Cola, before winding up in a series of music videos, which included Bob Seger’s “Night Moves,” Jon Bon Jovi’s “Miracle” and Alanis Morissett’s “Walk Away.” He also had a recurring role as Vinnie Verducci on “Married… With Children” that was spun off to into the shortlived “Top of the Heap.”
How He Got Hooked Into “Friends”: According to a ‘Today’ interview with creators Kauffman and Crane, LeBlanc wasn’t impressed with the pilot script, but neither were the producers hot on him. “We didn’t want him,” said Kauffman. The network insisted. “He was shoved down our throat,” added Crane, who also recalled: “When we wrote it, I don’t think we realized that Joey was dim, and that was going to be a major source of comedy.” “And heart,” said Kauffman.
Memorable Quote/Scene: Like Matthew Perry, LeBlanc benefitted from some of the best zingers to come out of the writers room, including this reply to David Schwimmer’s Ross, who was bemoaning in season one that he’d soon be home, obsessing about how his ex-wife sleeping with her lesbian lover. “Forget hockey,” the lovably dim Joey shot back. “Lets all go and do that!”
Personal Life: In 2006, LeBlanc separated from former wife Melissa McKnight, with whom he has a five-year-old daughter, Marina. He’s been dating former “Joey” co-star Andrea Anders since 2006.
Quote: “I really like the half-hour comedy. I really do. I know people that are in movies all the time and they, you know, they don’t see their families as much. And that takes its toll over time. And I don’t want to be one of those families. I want to sleep in my own bed every night. I want to, you know, help the kids with homework. And I like that. That’s fun.”
How He’s Doin’ Now: After “Friends” spin-off series “Joey” cratered in 2006, LeBlanc’s once active career has slowed down a tad. Recently, he’s been involved in legal wranglings with his former manager, who sued him for $1 million for alleged nonpayment of commissions.