The 'Friends' actor gave up a very public life to make sure his daughter recovered and was taken care of.
Matt LeBlanc will forever be Joey in the average person's mind, so it's quite surprising when people find out that he likes to keep to himself. Unlike the immature character LeBlanc plays in Friends, he is much more grounded in reality and has the utmost love and respect for his family.
An old photo of Matt LeBlanc and his daughter Marina Pearl. pic.twitter.com/bmgTJaHc— FriendsShow (@FriendsShow) July 28, 2012
So when his daughter, Marina Pearl LeBlanc, was diagnosed with a form of dysplasia, a condition that can affect the brain, bones and motor skills, LeBlanc decided to take a break from public life and take care of her. "I didn't feel like being funny. I had a lot going on in my personal life," he said in a 2014 interview with Telegraph UK. When Marina was two, he moved to his 1,200-acre cattle ranch in Santa Barbara in 2006 and away from the public eye to be a full-time father and take a break from acting.
Marina was 11 months old when she was diagnosed. While her condition got better on its own a year later, news of her diagnosis was sold to the media by her nanny. Recalling the incident, the Joey star said: "I really had to restrain myself and think about my next move. If someone messes with your infant child, that instinct is very hard to suppress. I chose wisely. Nobody got hurt." At that point, his marriage with Melissa McKnight was also bowing under the pressure. "It was a great relationship once. Maybe it was my daughter's diagnosis. Maybe I got lost, focused on my work too much..." he reminisced.
LeBlanc has a very close bond with his daughter now. According to PEOPLE, when she wanted Rihanna to come to her 12th birthday, he said, "I’ll get right on that, sure." For him, being Marina's father is the one true role of his life. "She's a daddy's girl," he said. "She can wrap me around her little finger. I'm powerless." LeBlanc has most recently appeared in Man With A Plan, which as described by IMDb is a show about how "a dad finds out that parenting is harder than he thought after his wife goes back to work and he's left at home to take care of the kids."
Even though it maintained consistent viewership throughout the four seasons, the show was canceled from CBS. However, it was streaming on Netflix for a year from September 2020 to September 2021 before being dropped. Now, viewers can catch the show on Amazon Prime Video. The cast included Liza Snyder, Matt Cook, Grace Kaufman, Jenna Dewan and others.
Apart from this, he has also appeared in the show Episodes as an over-exaggerated and dramatized version of himself. The show is about how "a couple of British TV producers move to Hollywood to export their most popular series, and find it is not what they expected." The show ran for five seasons spanning six years. This was the first project where he made a regular return after NBC's Joey. It was a show that received critical acclaim and was well-received by the general public.
Season 5 this Friday. Check it out. pic.twitter.com/whexaDlHgM— Matt LeBlanc (@Matt_LeBlanc) March 28, 2018
In 2020, LeBlanc revealed that although Marina isn't allowed to watch Episodes yet, she was inclined to enjoy Man With a Plan. He also noted how the shooting schedule allowed him to be home for dinner with his daughter. "I have a young daughter, so for me, that makes a lot more sense. This is also something she can watch," he said. "She came when we shot the pilot—that's the first time she's ever seen me work." The Top Gear host has mostly kept his life with Marina quite private, making rare appearances at events like the Moves 2014 Power Women Gala held at the India House Club in New York City. LeBlanc said that this doesn't deter him, as he's already had a taste of the celebrity life and the public persona. "I knew I wasn't missing out on anything... But there wasn't anything there that could fulfill me," he explained.