Matt LeBlanc reveals how he stepped "into a media sh*tstorm" on Top Gear
The Friends star has opened up about the show and why he walked away from acting.
Matt LeBlanc has admitted that he didn't realise he'd be "stepping into a media shitstorm" on Top Gear when he joined the rebranded show in 2016 alongside DJ Chris Evans. In an interview with the Times, LeBlanc also stated that his co-star didn't even inform him he was leaving the show after only the first series:
"I didn’t know he was leaving. I get along fine with the guy. I read it in the paper," he said.
He does, however, believe it improved the balance and tone of the show. It was no longer Top Gear presented by Chris Evans, but more of a collective. "I was just there to deliver some jokes and drive some cars. I think the second season, after Chris Evans left, it became more of a collaboration. In Chris’ hands, he was the guy in charge and when he left it became more of a collaboration", he explained.
The show's debut run was plagued by a number of production issues - not to mention Chris Evans doing donuts around the cenotaph - low viewing numbers and a general panning by audiences and critics alike, leading Evans to quit and leaving LeBlanc as the only big name left on the long running motor show. He currently presents alongside Chris Harris and Rory Reid, a more "productive and creative mix", according to the American.
Despite its troubles, the show is serving as a bit of a late-career revival for LeBlanc, who disappeared from screens and out of the public eye altogether in 2013.
"I was going through a divorce [with Melissa McKnight], I had a new baby, my daughter was diagnosed with some health issues — she’s OK now — and it was a rough time.
Work wasn’t a priority," he said. "I realised the most important thing in life is your family so I hit the reset button, focused on the things that were really important and got through it."