Matt LeBlanc ‘Almost Had a Nervous Breakdown’ During Self-Exile from Hollywood

Things haven’t always been so cheery for Friends star Matt LeBlanc. In fact, the actor said that there was a period in his life, “for years and years,” where he “barely left the house” and came close to a breakdown.

“I was burnt out,” he told the Mirror, in advance of his debut as the new host of Top Gear. “I wanted to not have a schedule, not be somewhere. I was in a position to do that. 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.”

LeBlanc, 48, described retreating to his California cattle ranch following the end of his sitcom spin-off, Joey, in 2006, and cutting his hair into a Mohawk to further discourage the limelight, according to the Mirror.

Even while his marriage to Melissa McKnight crumbled amidst personal and professional difficulties, he still had his daughter, Marina, to think about.

“The second I laid eyes on her [when she was born], I was in love, and I had never felt that way before,” LeBlanc 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.”

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But Marina’s young life was thrown for a loop after she was diagnosed with cortical dysplasia, an abnormality in the brain’s development from birth, which is a common cause of epilepsy.

“It was a very dark period,” LeBlanc told the Mirror. “But I got through it. Don’t they say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger?”

In the years since Marina’s diagnosis, LeBlanc and McKnight amicably split, in 2006, and share custody of Marina, who “outgrew her medical condition,” according to the Mirror.

“We make breakfast, go horseback-riding, hiking, I really try to off-set this computer age kid thing that’s going on now with as much time outside,” LeBlanc said. “Spending time with her is the best thing I’ve ever done. We have a great bond and it’s the best thing in my life.”

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