Yay! Joey from Friends turns petrolhead and joins the new-look Top Gear team. Park up and check out everything you ever wanted to know about Matt LeBlanc...

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1. Matt LeBlanc, or rather Matthew Steven LeBlanc, was born at 4.18am on 25th July 1967, making him an outgoing Leo. Rrrrr! He was born in Newton, Massachusetts (near Boston) to office-manager mum Patricia and mechanic dad Paul. (They’ve since split.)

Matt LeBlanc's dad, Paul

Matt’s dad Paul LeBlanc (Rex Features)

2. He’s 5ft 10in tall.

3.  Forget that Friends episode The One where Joey speaks French… he actually speaks the lingo fluently. His dad is French-Canadian; Mum is from an Italian family.

4. In 2000, he was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine. We agree – and think he’s getting more distinguished with age.

Matt LeBlanc recent photo

Rex Features

5. He’s a trained carpenter and still does DIY for his mum. We do like a man who’s good with his hands (and who can put a shelf up).

6. When he auditioned for the role of Joey in Friends, Matt only had $11 dollars to his name (about £7.60). When the cast got paid, the first thing Courteney Cox bought was a car. Matt bought a hot dinner.

The cast of Friends

PA Photos

7. He married British model Melissa McKnight in 2003. They divorced in 2006. Their marriage broke down amid stories of Matt doing the dirty. A year before, he publicly apologised to her after he drunkenly groped a naked stripper in a nightclub. Nice.
Matt LeBlanc with Melissa McKnight

With ex-wife Melissa McKnight (Rex Features)

8. Matt and Melissa have shared custody of their daughter, Marina Pearl LeBlanc, who was born on 8 February 2004. At 11 months, little Marina was diagnosed with rare disorder cortical dysplasia, a condition which affects the brain, bones and motor skills. Fortunately, Marina, now 11, outgrew the condition.

9. The boy’s bonkers about bikes. From the age of 8, Matt wanted to be a motorcycle racer, and entered loads of junior competitions. He hosted his own TV Show The 5 Coolest Things, based on the 5 coolest things in each motorcycle specialty (off-road, motocross, road racing, freestyle).

Matt LeBlanc and motorbike

Rex Features

10. He’s not so bad on four wheels. Matt scored the fastest lap on Top Gear‘s Star In A Reasonably Priced Car, driving the Kia Cee’d at 1:42.1, beating Rowan Atkinson (1:42.2) and Michael Fassbender (1:42.8). Yay, Joey beat Mr Bean!

11. Other hobbies include parachute jumping and landscape photography.

12. Pre-Friends, Matt was King Of The Ads: appearing in commercials for Levi’s 501s, Doritos and Coca-Cola.

13. His 1987 Heinz ketchup ad won a top prize at Cannes. You probably remember it… Matt  lines up a ketchup bottle on a tall building so that when he buys a hotdog down in the street, he can hold it out and catch the sauce on it. Because ‘the best things come to those who wait’… Saucy!

Matt LeBlanc: Heinz Ketchup ad
14. He’s a dog man: proud ‘daddy’ to Lady and Jay.

 

And finally… Our top 3 Matt LeBlanc quotes:

1. ‘I don’t like silk underwear. They don’t do the job, you know?’

2. ‘Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of the earth is multiform.’

3. ‘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. I couldn’t believe it. I knew from that moment there was nothing that would ever stop me from loving her – even if she crashed my Ferrari.’