It was impossible not to love Joey Tribbiani on Friends. Matt LeBlanc’s portrayal of the character stole the hearts of millions of viewers season after season. LeBlanc received three Emmy nominations for the role and was catapulted to the heights of fame.
Less is known about LeBlanc’s personal life. What happened to end LeBlanc’s picture-perfect marriage to Melissa McKnight? Is there someone in LeBlanc’s life these days? We took a deep dive into his marriage and past relationships, and here’s what we found.
Who Is Melissa McKnight?
Melissa McKnight is a British-born American model who was previously married to rock musician Anthony Esposito. She and Esposito share two children: Tyler and Jacquelyn.
LeBlanc And McKnight Were Introduced In 1997
It was McKnight’s friend, Kelly Phillips and her husband, Lou Diamond Phillips, who brought LeBlanc and McKnight together, and their connection was instant—LeBlanc proposed after less than a year.
The pair got married in May 2003. The wedding took place in a gorgeous locale: a Hawaiian cliffside. There were 75 guests including LeBlanc’s Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow.
One of the wedding guests gushed, “They’re really sweet together. He loves her and she loves him. It’s very real.”
Their Daughter’s Health Issues Placed Strain On The Marriage
When a child has serious health problems, it is obviously extremely tough on the parents. The stress and challenges of trying to hold a marriage together and care for a sick youngster at the same time are hard to overcome.
That may well have been the case with LeBlanc and McKnight. Their daughter, Marina Pearl LeBlanc, was born in 2004. LeBlanc adored his little girl.
According to the Daily Telegraph, he said, “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. 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.”
Terrifyingly, Marina began to have seizures when she was just eight months old. LeBlanc noticed that she was falling on her left side when she was crawling. After being examined by a doctor, she was diagnosed with a condition called cortical dysplasia.
The condition can cause walking difficulties and seizures, along with vocal issues. Even actions as simple as sitting up or crawling can become challenging. Fortunately, the condition apparently diminished by the time she was two—but it still caused an understandable rift in LeBlanc and McKnight’s marriage.
LeBlanc Left McKnight For Another Woman
Unfortunately, LeBlanc’s troubles wouldn’t end there. In 2006, he told McKnight that he was packing up and leaving their home in Encino, California. The news came as a bombshell to McKnight.
According to a now-archived interview with People, McKnight’s friend Kelly Phillips said, “It was very sudden. She was absolutely blindsided by what happened.”
Two months later, the drama between LeBlanc and McKnight escalated when she accused him of being involved with someone else. People reported that LeBlanc said it was true.
Evidently, it was, because that month, he moved in with actress Andrea Anders, who played LeBlanc’s neighbor on Joey, the Friends spin-off he starred in.
Perhaps McKnight hoped they could patch things up, but LeBlanc made their split official on March 30 when his lawyers informed McKnight that he had filed for divorce. News of their shattered marriage became public almost immediately.
They were reportedly able to co-parent amicably, despite the circumstances of their divorce. As for McKnight, her friend Kelly Phillips said to People, “She has her good days and bad days, but she’s incredibly strong. She will heal with time.”
LeBlanc’s Other Romances
LeBlanc’s romantic pursuit of women had gotten to the point where even his own dad, Paul LeBlanc, reportedly had some harsh words for his son.
According to news.com.au, he said, “He’s not the Joey Tribbiani that everybody loves. He’s still my son but I’m very hurt by the type of person he’s become.”
LeBlanc remained with Anders for eight years before they reportedly broke up in January 2015.
LeBlanc’s most recent relationship that we know of, with Top Gear producer Aurora Mulligan, seemed to begin in 2016.
They showed up together in public for the first time at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, causing a stir that was due in part to their 17-year age gap.
At least one published report claimed they had chemistry right off the bat. When they were out on the town, it looked as if they were charmed by each other and enjoyed one another’s company.
However, things did not continue on that happy path. They are reportedly no longer a twosome as of February 2022, supposedly because Mulligan was based in England while LeBlanc was situated in California.
A source told The Sun that the breakup was painful for LeBlanc. “It’s a huge shame and Matt has taken the news particularly hard, as anyone would. He and Aurora fell for each on Top Gear and although there was a pretty big age gap they were a really great match.”
There are been unconfirmed rumors that LeBlanc has squired a number of high-profile ladies, including Kate Hudson, Minnie Driver, adult film star Jenna Jameson, and Playboy playmate Tonya Poole.
There was also speculation that LeBlanc had once been involved with his Friends costar Jennifer Aniston, but the actress has denied those rumors.
Matt LeBlanc’s career since Friends ended its run in 2004 has had its share of peaks and valleys, just as his personal life has. His marriage imploded, as have his subsequent relationships.
The popularity LeBlanc earned as a result of starring in what was arguably one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time has lingered. Nevertheless, we can only wonder what will come next for him.