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How Joey Tribbiani, the loving lothario in ‘FRIENDS’ went from having $11 to 1 million per episode

A journey, from being Matt LeBlanc to Joey Tribbiani, went from having $11 in bank account to making $1 million per episode.


Friends, the nineties iconic sitcom, still rules in the hearts of millions, introduced the world with a new spell of humour. It not only changed the lives of its audience with its incessant humour and charm but also turned the lives of its castmates to 360-degrees.

Matt LeBlanc, who played the role of Joey Tribbiani, reminds how before bagging a part in the series, he had seen struggle up close.

LeBlanc was born on 25 July 1967 in Newton, Massachusetts. His mother is of Italian origin and worked as an office manager while his father is from French-Canadian descent, and was a mechanic. He attended Newton North High School and moved to New York at the age of 17 to pursue his career in modelling and acting.

He struggled a lot and saw dejections knocking his doorstep many times, but he never gave up. He remembered, before starting his career as Joey Tribbiani, he had only $11 in his bank account and had even gone as far as doing his own dental work to save some cash. He remembered that after getting the job, the first thing he did was treat himself to a nice meal. He was rejected on the ground that he is too short to be in the industry.

Even, having similarities with his character Joey Tribbiani, creators of the show weren’t convinced if he was the right pick. According to Screen Rant, Hank Azaria had auditioned for the part twice but was later given the role of Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend, David.

Matt LeBlanc at Golden Globe Awards  2012 (Credit: Digital Spy)

Overcoming the insecurities of the creators, he proved, he is the best choice for the portrayal of Joey Tribbiani in the NBC sitcom, Friends. For his impeccable work in the series, LeBlanc received three Emmy Award nominations. He also won a Golden Globe Award and received four additional Emmy Award nominations for Episodes (2011-2017), in which he has starred as the fictionalized version of himself. LeBlanc also played a lead role in the CBS sitcom Man with a Plan, which began airing in 2016 until it was cancelled in 2020.

In February 2016, he also signed on to become one of the new Top Gear hosts. However, he decided to retire from the series in May 2016, having co-hosted it for three years. Despite the show being “great fun”, he stated the “time commitment and extensive travel takes me away from my family and friends more than I’m comfortable with.”


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