“I’m a fat kid on the inside. I love food so much, and I fluctuate about 25 to 30 pounds between movies. I feel like I have to do a chess movie that requires very little movement at some point, just so I can eat pizza and play chess on the beach all day.”—Channing Tatum.
Channing Tatum took an interesting route to superstardom, including a pit stop at a few male strip clubs. Who could’ve predicted the guy from Step Up would end up leading as Duke in G.I. Joe as well as making appearances in some of our favorite comedies? With his classic movie star good looks, it might seem like Tatum’s had an easy ride of it in Hollywood, but the star has known some serious struggles in his time. Here are our favorite facts about the lovable Channing Tatum.
Channing Tatum Facts
1. Sorry, Emma
Emma Watson was so weirded out by Tatum’s bizarre performance in This is the End that she left the set. The scene featured Tatum acting as Danny McBride’s slave, where he did a breakdance in a thong.
2. We Agree, Channing
Tatum is terrified of porcelain dolls. “I just think they’re freaky!” he exclaimed on Ellen. “I just think they’re really super freaky. They have, like, real eyes and they look real.”
He became a father for the first time at age 33 when his ex-wife Jenna Dewan Tatum gave birth to their daughter Everly Elizabeth Maiselle Tatum on May 31, 2013. Channing claims that having a daughter made him “fappy”—fat and happy.
4. She Bangs
His modeling career led to Tatum landing a job as a dancer in a Ricky Martin music video. In 2000, a 20-year-old Tatum appeared in Martin’s video for his incessantly catchy song “She Bangs.”
5. Footing the Bill
Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh self-financed Magic Mike’s $6.5 million budget. The risk paid off: Magic Mike ended up grossing $167 million, making it the highest-grossing dance genre movie ever.
6. That’s a Whole Lot of Film
The “Chicago” scene in Jupiter Ascending was the longest sequence in the script and took Mila Kunis and Tatum six months of every-day shooting to film.
7. Shattering Expectations
The scene in Foxcatcher where Tatum breaks the mirror is real and was unscripted. He got so into the role that it just happened.
8. A Few Odd Jobs
Tatum worked as a construction worker, a stripper, a mortgage broker, a cologne salesman, and a worker in an animal nursery before he began his modeling career.
9. Military or Preparatory?
In ninth grade, Tatum was given the option of either a military school or a private school. He chose a military school, where he joined the football team with the goal of receiving a scholarship to play after graduation.
10. All American
Tatum’s family has lived in the American South since the 18th century. He moved from Alabama to Mississippi at age 6, where his family lived on a bayou.
11. Childhood Inspiration
His favorite childhood film was The Goonies, a 1985 adventure-comedy.
12. A Near Miss
Tatum almost refused to act in the Step Up movies because he felt he lacked the dance experience. He knew that the rest of the cast had been professional dancers. Not only would he have missed out on his big break, he might never have met his future wife, Jenna Dewan!
13. Love on Set
Jenna Dewan knew she wanted to marry Tatum after he caught her during a Step Up dance sequence. As Dewan said, “After 10 takes and a guy doesn’t struggle to catch you, you know he’s the one.”
14. Seeking Out Challenge
Tatum made the transition from modeling to acting because he did not find modeling challenging enough.
15. Convinced to Go Undercover
Tatum passed on the film 21 Jump Street twice before being convinced by Jonah Hill to take the role. The film was a colossal success, earning $201 million worldwide gross. Its sequel, 22 Jump Street, earned $331 million worldwide gross.
16. True to His Roots
When Tatum was a child, his grandparents raised him during the summer. Now, as a famous movie star, he still spends much of his summer with his grandparents back in Alabama.
17. Too Sexy for His Shirt
Tatum was chosen by People magazine as the Sexiest Man Alive in 2012.
18. Not for Me
Tatum suffered from ADHD and dyslexia as a child. He said the medication he took to help him in school made him feel “soulless” and added that he would “never do it to” his child.
19. Shocked by Success
When asked about his career, Tatum was quoted as saying, “I got crazy lucky. Like sometimes, I think I won the lottery or something. At times, it feels like the bottom’s gonna fall out. Just ’cause I don’t really know how I got here. But I just keep moving forward, and it just keeps getting better and better.”
20. Well Fought
Tatum really fought for the role of Jody in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. “I basically sent about an email a day for about a month just threatening any other actors that might be up for the role. I was just praying that no one really tough was up for the role.”
21. Kicking Off His Career
His first fashion show was for Men’s Health magazine and it took place in November of 2000 at Level Nightclub in South Beach, Miami. He was asked by his friend Vincent De Paul to participate in the show. Afterward, he began booking editorials for Ocean Drive magazine and his modeling career began.
Throughout his acting career, Tatum has played two characters called “Duke.” He played a Duke in She’s the Man (2006) and in two G.I. Joe movies—The Rise of Cobra (2009) and the sequel Retaliation (2013).
23. Dog Dad
When Tatum and ex-wife Jenna Dewan Tatum were married, they had two dogs: Meeka, a miniature Japanese spitz, and Lulu, a pitbull Catahoula mix. In late 2018, Lulu passed away from cancer, and both actors posted heartbreaking tributes to the dearly departed pooch on Instagram.
24. Changing Perspectives
For a while, Tatum didn’t have a very progressive perspective on female-led action movies. He used to say, “Find a girl that can, pardon my French, whup my butt, and I will go to the movie.” Finally, someone did! They found MMA champion Gina Carano to co-star in the movie Haywire. Tatum later said the experience was awesome and he loved it.
25. Careful, Justin
He’s a concerned fan of Justin Bieber. “I don’t remember who said it, but I do believe that whatever age you become famous, you end up staying that age. Because from that point you’re not asked to be a normal citizen. I worry about Bieber, man. That kid’s wildly talented. I hope he doesn’t fall down into the usual ways of famous young kids because it’s so hard for someone to be responsible when they’re not asked to be.” We’re sure Biebs appreciates the concern.
26. Born to Be
Channing Tatum is the son of Kay (Faust), an airline worker, and Glenn Matthew Tatum, a construction worker.
27. Staying Out of Trouble
Growing up, Tatum was full of energy and somewhat troublesome, so his parents decided to enroll him in track and field, baseball, soccer, and football to keep him out of trouble. In the ninth grade, he became focused on earning an athletic college scholarship.
28. Trained to Kick Butt
Tatum is also trained in Kung Fu and in Gor-Chor Kung Fu, a form of martial arts. He has earned several belts.
29. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
He got into comedy to take himself less seriously, saying, “The more you try to look sexy, the lamer it is, so you just have to commit to the comedy.”
30. A Heart-Warming Interview
Toronto’s Carly Fleischmann became a YouTube sensation after her interview with Channing Tatum. The 21-year-old talk-show host is autistic and non-verbal. She interviewed him using questions she pre-wrote and delivered via a speech program on her iPad. She opened the interview with, “He has been a stripper, a police officer, a secret agent, a reporter, a boyfriend to many and soon he will dump his wife to be with me.” At the end of the interview, an amused and laughing Channing hugs her and kisses her on the head.
31. Must Love Dogs
He’s a strong supporter of DaisyCares.com, a charity created to provide pet food and medical care to needy pets, and to reduce animal abuse through public education and awareness.
32. Baller Status
Tatum’s net worth is $50 million USD.
33. Immortalized In Plastic
Tatum has had every kid’s dream come true by having a Hasbro action figure modeled after Duke, his character from G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra.
34. Contractually Obliged
Tatum didn’t want to make the movie G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra. He had signed a three-picture deal earlier in his career before finding wider fame, and Paramount told him he needed to accept the role or face legal action. When asked about the film, he replied, “I hate that movie.”
35. Favorite Place in the World
Tatum’s favorite place in the world is his Uncle Bruce’s ranch in Wetumpka, Alabama, where his mother grew up. He goes there often to remind himself of real life in the place that represents a deep connection to his roots.
36. Paying the Bills
Tatum dropped out of college and worked odd jobs before becoming a male stripper. Reflecting on his on-stage career, he said, “Men go to strip clubs for a pretty simple reason. It’s a carnal, visual thing. The point of male stripping is to bring women onstage and embarrass them so their friends can cheer them on. Women go to watch their friends’ faces turn red and to have a night of camaraderie with their girlfriends.” His stage name was “Chan Crawford.”
37. Thanks, Coach!
Tatum made his way into the movie industry with 2005’s Coach Carter, where he co-starred as a member of the basketball team.
38. Fairies Forever
Channing’s wedding was fairy-themed, complete with a cake topper that featured fairy versions of him and Jenna making out. Their flower girls also wore wings.
39. Matching Ink
Tatum and his ex-wife have matching tattoos. The newlyweds got the Balinese words for “side by side” inked onto them during their honeymoon in Bali.
40. A Cool Place to Grab a Bite
In 2012, Tatum and his (now) ex-wife Jenna Dewan Tatum opened up a restaurant and bar called Saints & Sinners in New Orleans. The hotspot features live entertainment after 9 pm and doesn’t have a definitive closing time.
41. Cooler Than Mickey Mouse?
His favorite Disney character is the sentient broom from Fantasia.
42. Smoke and I Have That in Common
Tatum has two rescue horses named Smoke and Cajun. Smoke enjoys the smell of beer, and Cajun was a birthday gift from Jenna Dewan.
43. Imagine That!
Tatum had a childhood imaginary friend named Boy. “I would make a plate for him and all that. Crazy behavior. I think I just lived in an imaginary world.” Tatum and Boy also had a reunion on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2015.
44. Gilbert the Legend
Tatum confessed that his umm…male member has a nickname: Gilbert. He didn’t clarify if it was named after Gilbert Gottfried or Little House on the Prairie’s Melissa Gilbert.
Tatum adds Cheetos to his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
46. End of an Era
Having met on the set of Step Up, Tatum and Jenna Dewan seemed to have a fairytale romance and marriage, but in April 2018, the couple announced that they were separating after almost nine years together. Six months after the initial announcement, Jenna Dewan filed the divorce papers.
47. Playing the Hand He Was Dealt
Tatum auditioned for the role of Gambit in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) before the role was eliminated. We hope it didn’t weigh on him too hard because it took more than a decade for the character to be re-added to the franchise. In 2014, it was announced that Gambit would get his own solo film. There’s been a revolving door of directors attached to the project, with conflicting arguments about the possible tone of the film. Finally, in February 2019, it was announced that the film was on hold due to Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
48. The Reasons Why
When Tatum and ex-wife Jenna Dewan Tatum announced their separation and eventual divorce, fans were heartbroken, but the couple remained tight-lipped about the reasons behind their split, until they finally revealed the details. They said, “There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision—just two best-friends realizing it’s time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible.”
49. Don’t Worry About Me!
Fans were heartbroken and surprised when Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan announced their divorce after nearly nine years of marriage—but they were even more stunned when he moved on so quickly and so seriously. Tatum and singer Jessie J were spotted playing mini-golf together on a date in October 2018, just weeks before Dewan filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. They’ve continued to date since, and frequently post gushing Instagram posts about the other. Meanwhile, Dewan has moved on with actor Steve Kazee.
Tatum severely burned the tip of his penis when he was on the set of The Eagle and a crew member poured boiling water down his wet suit to keep him warm. They had been using boiled kettle water to keep warm, but this crewman had forgotten to dilute the scalding liquid. He was rushed to the nearest hospital. “I said to the driver, who was ex-special-forces Marines, ‘You might have to knock me out, because I don’t know if I can take the pain. Just grab something and hit me on the back of my head.” The worst part? The hospital was an hour away from where they’d been filming. What a nightmare!