Matt LeBlanc: ‘I almost had a nervous breakdown after ‘Friends”

Actor says he was 'burnt out' after playing Joey Tribbiani for 12 years

Matt LeBlanc has revealed that he “almost had a nervous breakdown” after Friends and his spin-off series Joey came to an end.

The actor played Joey Tribbiani on Friends for 10 years from 1994 to 2004, then reprised the role for another two years in the spin-off. After Joey was cancelled in 2006, LeBlanc did not accept another acting job until 2011, when he began playing a fictionalised version of himself in BBC Two’s Episodes.

“For years and years, I barely left the house. I was burnt out,” the new Top Gear presenter recalled in an interview with The Mirror.

“I wanted to not have a schedule, not be somewhere. I was in a position to do that,” he continued. “My agent was bummed. Most actors call their agents and say, ‘What’s going on?’. I’d call mine and say, ‘Please lose my number for a few years.’ It was a very dark time. I almost had a nervous breakdown.”

Following on from his Golden Globe-winning role in Episodes, LeBlanc has now continued his TV comeback by joining the new series of Top Gear as Chris Evans’ co-presenter.

Evans said when the announcement was made last week (February 4): “Matt’s a lifelong fellow petrolhead and I’m thrilled he’s joining Top Gear. Acting out our craziest car notions on screen is a dream job and I know we’ll both be debating some epic road trip ideas. We can’t wait to share what we’ve been up to on screen later this year.”