The 48-year-old mouthed the words "thank you" to the jury of eight women and four men who dismissed a string of allegations made by his accuser, who claimed she had been raped and abused while a young girl.
Mr Le Vell kept his emotions in check but his family members in the public gallery wept as, one by one, not guilty verdicts on the 12 counts were delivered. However, the strain of the seven-day trial was apparent as he appeared drained when he left the dock.
Jurors took just under five hours to reach their verdicts at Manchester Crown Court after they were told by the judge yesterday that their assessment of Mr Le Vell's accuser was "critical".
They faced a stark decision on the truth in that either the girl had entered the witness box to recall traumatic events she had suffered or she was a dishonest person who had come to court to "quite literally destroy" the life of the defendant, said Judge Michael Henshell.
The "demons" in Mr Le Vell's private life were laid bare by the trial - his alcoholism and womanising while his wife battled breast cancer.
The court heard of his "dark secrets" that he had a string of one-night stands and an affair behind the back of his wife of 25 years, actr-ess Janette Beverley. And he had abandoned the family home to drink up to nine pints in the pub most nights.
But while Mr Le Vell might be described as a "weak, stupid and drunk man" and a "bad husband", he was not a child rapist, his barrister Alisdair Williamson told the jury.
Alcohol was on Mr Le Vell's mind as he left court. He thanked his family, his legal team and his employers, ITV, before he said: "I might go have a drink now."
Crown prosecutor Eleanor Laws QC had argued Mr Le Vell was a "troubled man" who had sexually assaulted his victim but that account was rejected by the jury. His accuser, who can't be named for legal reasons, was not in court to hear the verdicts.
The jury heard from Mr Williamson that it was a "strange case of child rape" without any DNA evidence or injuries to the alleged victim - although medical experts agreed it could not be ruled out for certain.
Mr Le Vell, on trial under his real name of Michael Turner, had denied five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child, and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
Friend and former Coronation Street star Nigel Pivaro said: "He has suffered two years of hell and probably, also due to his high profile, far more than most.
"It has been a long journey for him. Now the jury has spoken, he can pick up his career and his life."
Asked if had spoken to Mr Le Vell, Mr Pivaro said: "He was probably calmer than anyone around him.
"It is a tremendous relief for all his family who have travelled from around the world to support him."
Mr Le Vell, of Hale, Cheshire, was arrested on September 30 2011, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed with the case.
After a review of the evidence following fresh allegations by the alleged victim, Mr Le Vell was charged in February.
Mr Le Vell, who joined Coronation Street in 1983, to play Kevn Webster did not appear in the soap during legal proceedings. After the case, a spokeswoman for the show said: "We are looking forward to meeting with Michael to discuss his return to the programme."