Channing Tatum Flexing Shirtless As A Teenage Boy

By: Andrea Simpson / June 28, 2013

Ladies, eat your heart out.

Channing Tatum is flexing. Without a shirt. As a fresh-faced ninth grader.

And it’s obvious the future big screen hunk was a heartthrob-in-the-making.

Just ask his (older) high school girlfriend.

“He was just the guy who played sports, he was so cute,” said Lauren Greenbaum, who went to Gaither High School with her future famous ex-boyfriend in Tampa, Florida.

“He used to write me love letters. It was 15-year-old stuff, you know. It was so sweet and kind of funny. Apparently Chan and I used to watch that cartoon, Bobby’s World, I totally forgot about that. 

“He lived down the street and all my friends made fun of me because he was a sophomore and I was a senior,” she added. “But then we broke up and that was that.”

Best friend Matt McQuay said if Tatum wasn’t the jock talking football he was dreaming about Hollywood: “We were the hottest guys in school. All the ladies loved him. All the moms loved him. He was a handsome young man, funny and outgoing,” McQuay told CB!. “He said ‘let’s move to Cali to be actors and models.’ We promised that whatever happened we’d take care of each other, he’d bring me and I’d bring him if we made it.”

The now 33-year-old new dad, who tied the knot with actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum in 2009, wasn’t shy about his youthful ambitions to make it to the big screen.

“I remember him sitting on my couch and saying, ‘I’m gonna be famous,'” said Tampa Catholic football teammate and BFF Chris Medero. “He always wanted to be the best.”

And that meant even taking the parts no one else wanted.

Fellow Tampa Catholic classmate Eric Chillura remembers hooking Tatum up with one of his first minor (but juicy) roles: “My agent called me for a project and I wasn’t 100 percent comfortable with the role. I had to kiss another guy,” Chillura told CB!. “I think at the time it was my age and I just had too much pride. So I told my agent Channing would probably do it because he was more outgoing… and he took the job.”

But by then, he was already making a name for himself with the female Florida locals as a male stripper (which inspired the Tatum’s biggest hit to date, Magic Mike).

“The ladies loved him,” said Tampa Catholic grad and Tatum’s football co-captain, Kenneth Bell. “A lot of girls from our high school would go there with their moms just to see him perform.”

But he left all that behind with a little professional help along the way. Photographer Dianne Paulson with MPC Models discovered Tatum during a local runway show when he jumped on stage: “I saw this bleached blonde guy on the runway doing some wiggle wiggle moves, but he wasn’t one of the models,” Paulson said.

It was her photographs that put the future action star in front of the camera for the first time.

“All he knew how to do was jump on the walls and do back flips,” she told CB! with a laugh. “I had to tell him ‘put your face forward’, ‘head on’, ‘look at me with your eyes.’ He couldn’t even walk straight. I had to tell him to hold still!”

By then, taking off his clothes for dollar bills was a thing of the past.

“I always had the talk with him about doing it the right way,” she added. “I told him with the stripping thing you’ve got to be careful. I was worried so much for him. Those were my words of wisdom and I think they helped.

“No one deserves the success more.”

For more exclusive photos of Channing Tatum before he was famous, click through the CB! gallery above.