Friends’ Matt LeBlanc had just $11 to his name as career hit rock bottom before bagging Joey role

FRIENDS’ Matt LeBlanc had just $11 to his name as his career hit rock bottom before bagging his iconic Joey Tribiani role.

The 53-year-old star played part of the Italian hunk for 10 seasons in the hit sitcom which changed his life.

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The cast reunited for the first time in 17 years for the Friends: The Reunion, a special episode called The One Where They Get Back Together. 

Co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane joined the cast to take an emotional trip down memory lane and spoke about how they came to hire the six main stars.

Speaking at Matt's audition, Marta revealed: "If I remember correctly, he had like $11 in his pocket when he auditioned, maybe it was nine, but it wasn't a lot."

Writer and producer David said that Matt was the perfect fit for the role of Joey, as he was able to make it believable.

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David said: "We saw a lot of guys who you believe were actors, guys who liked women, but they weren't funny.

"Then Matt came in, and suddenly on him the lines felt funny."

The creators explained that they could spot talent when they saw it, despite Matt not appearing in many shows before landing his big break.

Marta explained: "He hadn't done an awful lot. He's done another show, but he hadn't done an awful lot."

Director and producer Kevin Bright added: "So Matt, went right down to the wire – auditioned for the network and NBC with another actor and he killed it and he got the partners Joey.

"But the funny thing about it is the other actor ended up in the show in The One with the Unagi, playing fake Joey."

Since filming ended the cast members have only all been in the same room again once before, until now.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer share their behind the scenes secrets from their days on the sitcom.

It might have been decades since they last played their characters but old habits die hard with David turning up first on the set of the show in true Ross style.

He was shortly joined by Lisa Kudrow who noticed a beam that had been removed for getting in the way had been put back.

A teary-eyed Jennifer was next who looked straight for the tissues, then Matt, followed by Courtney in tears and Matthew.

As Matt gently dried Courtney’s eyes when she burst into tears, it felt like the years were fading away since the last episode.

One fan posted: "Oh my god could we be more emotional? #friendsreunion"

Another shared: "10 mins in and I'm already crying. #friendsreunion"

Another teary fan added: "This is too emotional, I'm a blubbering mess. #illbethereforyou #friends"

The co-stars spilled the beans on the behind-the-scenes antics including Jennifer and David confessing that they almost became a real-life Ross and Rachel.

The duo became the ultimate will they/won’t they couple during the 10-year run of the NBC sitcom, and almost 25 years later, they admitted their sexual chemistry came largely down to their off-screen flirtations.

James Corden, who hosted the special, managed to find out the truth by saying: “Will you allow me to ask what I would consider to be a cheeky question? 

“It's impossible not to realise and see that you're all young, hot, good looking successful actors, that it's inconceivable to me that there weren't perhaps off-screen romances.” 

Looking awkward, Jennifer coughed before going: “Well.. I mean, David?”

“The first season, I had a major crush  on Jen,” David admits, with Jennifer agreeing the feelings were reciprocal.  

“At some point we were both crushing hard on each other but it was like two ships passing because one of us was always in a relationship. 

“So, and we never crossed that boundary, you know we respected that.” 

While they may not have worked out, Ross and Rachel did – and after 10 years millions watched as they finally decided to give their on/off romance a real try. 

During the special, the team were reunited on recreations of some of the most iconic sets to talk about the success of the series. 

Despite being off-air for the past 16 years, it still remains one of the most watched shows ever. 

Friends: The Reunion Special is available on Sky and NOW TV.

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