03/01/2004 at 01:00 AM EST
February 8, 2004
7 lbs. 1 oz.
Charm, beauty, impeccable timing: Clearly, tiny Marina LeBlanc is a baby with acting in her blood. Rather than share the stage with dad Matt LeBlanc, Marina waited until her father finished taping the final episode of Friends. Sixteen days later she had the limelight to herself as she made her world debut—a tad overdue—at 2:50 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Los Angeles's Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. A proud LeBlanc, 36, began placing excited calls to friends and family. "Matt has been wanting this for so long," says Friends executive producer Kevin Bright.
"There's nothing he won't do for that little girl."
"I'm looking at her right now," a plainly mesmerized LeBlanc told Bright by phone the next day, "and it's just the most amazing thing that's ever happened in my life."
Though Marina is LeBlanc's first child, he already has ample experience with fatherhood. During the five-year engagement that preceded his marriage last May to model Melissa McKnight, 38, LeBlanc developed tight bonds with her two children from a previous marriage, Tyler, now 13, and Jacquelyn, 9. The family shares a ranch north of L.A., where LeBlanc spends his free hours dirt-biking with Tyler and horsing around with both kids. "At heart, Matt's a kid, so he's just dealing with his peer group," says Bright. "They're a wonderful family unit."
With production on his upcoming sitcom Joey not slated to begin until April, LeBlanc plans to spend the next few weeks getting used to life with Marina. "He's going to be a great dad," says Friends pal Matthew Perry. "He's had years of practice." Of course, spit-up, diapers and all the other things that go with having an infant in the house are new. "Being the daddy of a baby is a different ball game," says Maggie Wheeler, who plays Janice on Friends.
"He's definitely up to the challenge." Agrees Bright: "He's going to hold his nose and love every minute of it."