Matt LeBlanc has had one incredible Hollywood story. The 55-year-old Boston native grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood with a single mom who was struggling to make ends meet. When he became of age, he moved to New York to try and make a living as a model. “I realized that I didn’t want to be pounding nails in the snow in New England all my life,” he told The Mirror. “I wanted an inside job, where you got to work in the warm. That was the ambition.”
He soon bumped into a potential date on the streets of the Big Apple who ended up introducing him to a casting agent, which prompted Matt to move into acting. After landing a few commercials with Coca-Cola, Levi’s and Doritos, Matt eventually auditioned for a little sitcom called ‘Friends.’ With only $11 in his pockets, according to the outlet, Matt landed the role, changing his life forever.
Even after finding success with a few more TV series, including the British sitcom Episodes, Matt had just as an incredible personal story as his Tinseltown one. He is the proud father of daughter Marina Pearl Blanc and the doting dad to stepkids Tyler and Jacquelyn Esposito! Find out all about the big brood that Matt calls family, below!
During the final season of Friends in 2004, Matt and his wife at the time, Melissa McKnight, welcomed their only child together, daughter Marina Pearl. “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,” he told The Mirror. “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.” Matt had married the British-born American model and a divorced single mother-of-two just a year prior.
At just 11 months old, Marina Pearl was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia, a condition which affects the brain and motor skills, including being prone to seizures. Her vocal cords were also affected at the time. “My daughter was diagnosed with a problem with her head. It was a very dark period,” Matt told the outlet. By the time she was a toddler, the condition had mostly subsided. “Spending time with her is the best thing I’ve ever done,” the Top Gear host added. “We have a great bond and it’s the best thing in my life.”
Marina Pearl has been thriving ever since! “She has a beautiful voice,” Matt told People, explaining how she had an audition for a talent show back in 2016. “I helped her to prepare some new pop song I don’t know.”
Tyler and Jacquelyn
When Matt married Melissa in 2003, he became a stepfather to the two children she shared from a previous marriage to Anthony Esposito: Tyler and Jacquelyn. After Matt and Melissa went their separate ways in 2006, Matt made sure to keep in contact with the stepchildren. Tyler appears to be following in Matt’s Hollywood footsteps as he works in a recording studio as a sound engineer, while Jacquelyn found her passion in her mother’s fashion background by graduating from FIT in 2016. “She’s in the design program,” Matt said of his stepdaughter to People. “She’s a really hard worker, and I’m proud of her. She’s doing fantastic.”