THE father of Friends star Matt LeBlanc says the actor is a “mother’s boy” and reveals they have not spoken in NINE years.
Furious Paul LeBlanc today reveals the Hollywood star — returning to our screens in Friends: The Reunion on Thursday on Sky One — fell out after a petty row over him giving away a motorbike.
Paul claims it led to a bitter dispute that saw the 53-year-old heart-throb cut off his dad financially — resulting in him having to move out of his beloved home.
Paul, 79, reveals how he is resigned to watching re-runs of the hit sitcom to feel connected to his son as Matt continues to ignore text messages.
Paul told The Sun on Sunday: “I’ve been living without any contact for nine years and it is still hard to believe what has happened.
“I’ve been cut off and locked out of my house over a humiliating argument about money and a motorbike.
“I’m an old man now and I live off social security. If it wasn’t for my savings, I wouldn’t be able to survive.
‘TOTALLY IGNORED ME’
“But I never hear from Matt and he’s only sent me one birthday card in my entire life. I’ve sent him text messages including one this year asking if we can get back in touch, but he has totally ignored me.
“It’s humiliating. But the truth is Matt has always been a mother’s boy and there have been so many fallings out. We are all getting older.
“My message to Matt is, ‘You need to get your act together before it is too late. You’re going to miss me when I’m gone.’ ”
In an exclusive interview, Paul claims fame and money have changed his son for the worse.
Friends fans will be thrilled when Matt and his co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer and Matthew Perry return to our screens after 17 years.
But one person who won’t be watching is Paul. The Vietnam war veteran can no longer afford cable television.
Paul, who has only just got round to watching every episode of Friends in the last few years, said: “I only have one TV channel so I won’t be watching the reunion. I can’t figure out what all the fuss is.
“I’ve always thought Friends was a silly show for young people.”
Matt, who is reported to be getting paid £2million for the reunion, grew up in the suburban town of Newton, Massachusetts, with his mother Patricia, who was an office manager.
Paul worked as a mechanic but split from Patricia and moved to Australia to start a new life when Matt was a small boy.
He had a son called Justin before returning to the US when his first-born was eight years old. He would visit Matt on occasional weekends.
Matt moved to New York at the age of 17 to pursue a career in modelling but at 5ft 10in was told he was too short for the catwalk.
A chance encounter with a woman set him on the road to acting.
Showing off the photos of Matt he still keeps in his wallet, Paul said: “He never really had dreams of being an actor growing up. It just kind of happened. Matt met some girl in New York who was going to read for a part and she asked him to come along. He said, ‘Yeah’, and he read for the part with her and wound up with a contract.” Matt starred in a series of adverts and small TV shows but was down to his last £8 when he auditioned to play Joey in 1994.
Friends, about six flatmates living in Manhattan, ran for ten years, turning Matt and his co-stars into world-famous names.
His own spin-off show, Joey, ran for two seasons and helped him amass an estimated £58million fortune. After appearing in movies Lost In Space in 1998 and Charlie’s Angels two years later, his career stagnated until he took over from Jeremy Clarkson and Co hosting BBC’s Top Gear in 2016.
Yet Paul fears fame and fortune took its toll on his son.
We’ve had no contact for 9 years. I’ve been cut off in a silly argument. He’ll miss me when I’m gone
He said: “Matt went wild when he was younger, as young kids with some money do. But we used to be close despite it all and I moved out to Malibu when he was starring on Friends so I could see more of him.
“The problem is that when someone has money, you don’t get into their lifestyle unless they want you there, and they can shut you down.
“Matt is erratic with me and he has a short temper. One minute he is nice, the next he is cutting your throat — not literally obviously.”
In 1998 Matt helped his dad get his dream home in a mountain village in Colorado and started paying him an allowance.
Paul said: “He visited me and we would hang out drinking beers and messing around on bikes. That was a good time, but Matt is obsessed with acting. The last time he came out to see me was in 2011.”
A year later, Paul says he gave away a motorbike to his nephew and Matt “inexplicably” hit the roof.
Paul said: “I’d had a bad accident — it was a miracle I survived — so I gave all five of my bikes away. It’s none of his business if I give a bike away, but Matt wouldn’t hear it.
“He was so angry. He told me, ‘I’m shutting your allowance off’. He probably thought I’d beg for him to turn it on, but it will be a cold day in hell before that happens.”
“You should ask him why he got annoyed on that. I don’t understand it. I’ve spent the last nine years thinking about it and I still find it unbelievable. He just cut me off.”
Paul claims after his allowance was stopped he could no longer afford the rent — resulting in sheriffs changing the locks when he could not make the payments.
He said: “All of the furnishings were mine. I lost everything — my safe, jewellery, clothes, tools.” Sadly, fuel was added to the fire when Matt read quotes attributed to Paul which claimed his son had grown close to co-star Jennifer Aniston — something Paul insisted he never said. Paul says he now struggles to live on his £450-a-month pension and still feels bitter about their fall out. But he hopes he will get to see Matt and the star’s daughter Marina before it is too late.
He added: “Matt doesn’t respond to my texts but I still try. I want to have some kind of a relationship with them before I wind up on my deathbed.”
A spokeswoman for Matt said tonight: “To put this in perspective, Matt’s father abandoned Matt and his mother when he was an infant.”
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