Hollywood heartthrob Channing Tatum, 33, has been married since 2009 to actress Jenna Dewan, 33, whom he met on the set of the dance movie, Step Up, in 2006. Now he’s a new father to daughter, Everly, born in London in May last year. He’s enjoying this hectic time in his life, not only as a new parent, but career-wise he’s been constantly reinventing himself from actor to also producer and future director.
In 2000, his career began when he was cast as a dancer in Ricky Martin’s video, “She Bangs”, for which he was paid $400. He then worked as a model for Armani and Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as Mountain Dew and Pepsi.
The busy family man has several movies due for release: the animation, Book of Life (coming out this month); Foxcatcher (Nov. 2014), which we think he has a good chance at an Oscar bid; Jupiter Ascending (Feb. 2015), and Magic Mike 2 (July 2015).
Tatum is even more handsome in person for his interview and is dressed casually in a pair of old jeans and a white shirt, which reveals a fit and toned body. He’s friendly, smiles easily, and is open about his life.
STRIPLV: When you look at your career – from model to stripper to actor to leading man – it’s nothing short of amazing. If you were a woman, you wouldn’t have that kind of trajectory. The stripping thing would destroy a career for a woman.
TATUM: I would say it depends on what movie and who is directing that movie, because I think there have been females that have played strippers and hookers and stuff, but it depends on how good the movie is. It depends on how it’s done. If it’s done in a tasteful manner and so on, it’s okay, but yeah, I have gotten really lucky. Magic Mike kind of came out at a time that 50 Shades of Grey was out. (laughs) And I think women were kind of like ‘Whoo, what else have we got? Let’s all go do something together! And we are all reading together, so let’s all go see this stripper movie.’ (laughter) I don’t know, but it’s been a fun ride. I got to do a lot of cool stuff.
STRIPLV: And what about the transition into writing and producing shows… I think you’re directing, too?
TATUM: Yeah, we will hopefully be directing in 2015. We have a few things that we are lining up and we want to just start the process. The first movie is probably not going to be as good as your second movie and your third. So we just wanted to get going, because we have now produced, written and financed stuff, and it still just doesn’t feel whole. It doesn’t feel like it’s ours. My partner and I want to now jump off the cliff and say that this is completely us and that our DNA is in this one, completely and wholly.
STRIPLV: You seem so busy…
TATUM: Yes. I have owned a home for five years now and I am there less than a year, less than two years, but I have seen the world and got to do it in a cool way.
STRIPLV: Let’s talk about Magic Mike 2.
TATUM: Yeah, Magic Mike 2 is going to be a road trip and more of kind of an ensemble, a guy’s road trip to a stripper’s convention, if you will, and it’s going to definitely revolutionize male stripping, that’s for sure. It’s not hard to do that though.
STRIPLV: Will Matthew McConnaughey be back for that, as well?
TATUM: Yeah, he says he’s in. We blocked out his time, because we did that movie in a unique way, as far as structuring how people get paid and whatnot, and so now it’s just figuring out that stuff with everybody and making everybody feel like a family.
STRIPLV: You’ve been married for a few years now. What is love to you?
TATUM: What is love? It’s a feeling. If you feel strongly towards someone, it’s a color; it’s a shade, but is it a love that can last? You can find that one person that is perfect for you anywhere, you can find them walking down the street on a beach, on the Internet.
STRIPLV: Where did you find your wife?
TATUM: I met her in an audition randomly. It was for Step Up. (laughter) And she got the movie obviously, and now we’re married.
STRIPLV: So what’s the most romantic thing you’ve done in real life?
TATUM: I’m proud of this one, so I guess I’ll just say this one. I’m not embarrassed to say this one. So I told Jenna that we were going to go out to dinner, and I took her to the airport and we went away on vacation and she had no idea.
STRIPLV: Where did you go?
TATUM: We went to Hawaii, but that was rare. We were very, very fortunate to be able to go somewhere like that. For me, romantic situations don’t have to involve that grand a scheme of things. My favorite things are just doing things on the fly, or on holidays or birthdays or whatever, just to write a little note and leave it somewhere that they’re going to get it in their purse or in their wallet or whatever.
STRIPLV: Did you have to do a lot of crappy jobs while you were climbing the ladder to success?
TATUM: I didn’t have to wait tables, but I did shake my junk in people’s faces, so I don’t know which one is worse, (laughter) and I really don’t actually know which one is worse, but I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve framed houses, I’ve worked in a mortgage company, I’ve sold credit cards over the phone. I’ve had a lot of terrible jobs. I’ve worked with puppies, I worked in a puppy/kitty nursery. I’ve had a lot of crazy jobs, but I was lucky enough to be successful enough at modeling once I moved out of my own town that I didn’t have to.
STRIPLV: So how did you find the whole modeling world?
TATUM: Look, it’s great. I’m not going to be like, ‘Oh, it sucked to be a model.’ It’s just not like that. It pays pretty well. Women get paid a thousand times more, but that’s one of the only jobs in the world that that is the case.
STRIPLV: You were probably one of the only straight guys in that world?
TATUM: It’s a big misconception, that’s really not the case. I mean, because I think most gay men want straight men, that’s what I kind of gathered in the industry that they go to middle America and get like the corn-fed sort of Abercrombie boy that’s running around the hayfields. That’s the All-American kid that Abercrombie has sort of built their thing around.
STRIPLV: Is it difficult for Jenna to see you in a romantic movie or where you have a sex scene?
TATUM: No, she’s smart enough to know what’s being “me” up there and what’s being the character. She knows me like I know her. I know when I wake up in the morning whether she’s had good dreams or bad dreams – or if she’s going to be in a good mood or bad mood; she knows me in and out.
STRIPLV: So being famous isn’t important to you at all?
TATUM: No, I think if anything it kind of gets in the way. It starts putting weird things in your head that aren’t true. Just because we’re recorded on film and put on screen, it makes us no different than anyone else – and if anything, I think it’s kind of weird and false to think that you’re any cooler or any better than anyone else. One of those weird reckoning moments: I went to pick up my nephew from elementary school, (this is before I did She’s The Man), I walked through the elementary school in Alabama and I picked him up and I took him home. Later that year, after She’s The Man came out, I went back to the elementary school, and it was just pandemonium, and simply, for no other reason. I couldn’t have changed that much in a year, but just because I was put on screen with a child sort of icon, it changed who I was. I became infinitely cooler. And nothing changed – I mean absolutely nothing. If anything, I probably got less cool. And it’s a strange thing; it’s a really strange thing.
STRIPLV: Who’s one of the coolest people you’ve met or been starstruck by?
TATUM: Will Smith starstruck me. Harrison Ford knocked me on my ass. I kept singing the Indiana Jones song in my head. (laughter)
STRIPLV: You’re one of the guys described as the hottest, sexiest men and all that stuff, and I know it’s a cliché question, but it must be fun in a way. What’s it like? Is there any pressure there or is it just fun?
TATUM: No look, I think all that stuff is pretty much something that happens when you had a good year. Like the whole “Sexiest Man Alive” thing… it’s just that I had a good year. You work just as hard on all these movies, and you don’t know which ones are going to work out and which ones people are going to see. I got lucky with a few good movies in a row and that’s all that it is. But no, I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever, because all you do is, you want to be in good movies with good artists and actors and directors, and that’s it. As long as you keep doing that, that’s my only thing that I keep waking up for every day.
STRIPLV: Is it flattering?
TATUM: Yeah, but my wife even makes fun of me for it, so I wouldn’t call it fun. I would say it’s hilarious for everyone else, and then you just kind of have everyone making fun of you for the rest of your life.
STRIPLV: Did you have time, because you seem to be working back to back and you have a small baby. Did you have time off?
TATUM: We had the baby while we were on Jupiter Ascending, and I don’t ever suggest doing four movies and trying to have a kid. It was not such a good idea. But I will say we have handled it. My wife is a super woman. Like, I don’t know how she did it. She went to work six weeks after she had the baby. And if anyone could have done it, I think we did it in the best way that you can do that stuff. I am going to spend time and be a set dad. It’s really nice. My wife is about to start her TV show, so I am going to be up there playing set daddy and running around with the kid all day. So it’s going to be fun. The only thing guys can really do in the beginning is just be assistants, like diapers: “Give it to me, got it.” And it’s like doing the tire change in the cars, the NASCAR, (does sound effects of changing a tire) and then you just hand her back. (laughter) For the first year, that’s pretty much all guys are – they are just assistants and that’s it. And now it’s starting to get fun. She’s starting to say “dada” and really recognize me and whatnot, starting to walk and everything – so it’s getting really cool.