However, there’s more to his story than just stripping for women and getting paid. His life as an exotic dancer was filled with drugs and alcohol abuse.
“I wouldn’t say I was losing myself in drugs because I wasn’t doing anything habitually,” he recalls in an upcoming issue of The Hollywood Reporter. “Just experimenting. Experimenting, I would say. Never the big ones — crack or heroin. I never OD’d or anything. Never.”
What about cocaine? “Maybe a couple times, but that was later,” he says. “Drinking was probably the biggest [thing]. I didn’t look at drinking as a problem. It wasn’t at that point, and I still don’t think it’s a problem. But at that time in my life, it was, ‘Let’s go out and have a great time.'”
So when he deemed himself a “functioning alcoholic” in GQ magazine in June, he didn’t mean it literally.
“It was something said that wasn’t meant to be factual. It was said in context with the glutton side of myself. I’m constantly a flip-and-flop of extremes. I take care of it, to an extent—and then I kind of knock it all down and destroy the sand castle. All I meant was that I do things in extreme,” the 34-year-old explains.
And as a stripper, you better believe there were moments that drove him to drink.
He recalls one of the most terrifyingly uncomfortable lap dances he’s ever given. “The lady goes, ‘Oh my God! Look at you! You remind me of my nephew!’ — and then grabs me,” he describes. “It hit me like a hand grenade. It was like tick, tick, tick, boom: She’s grabbing my butt and saying, ‘You remind me of my nephew.’ ”
Today, though, Tatum has been able to put that rocky road behind him and move forward in a positive direction with his wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum and their 17-month-old daughter Everly. The major difficulties they now face stem from the crazy tabloids constantly projecting a divorce.
“It’s all bulls–t,” Tatum says. “These people just [make it up]. Some of our family members don’t see [it’s not true], and they read a stupid thing and don’t understand it’s a tabloid.”
The couple is so far from a divorce–in fact, the opposite. They’re currently hoping to move out of Los Angeles to a more secluded suburb and even hoping to have more kids.
“I don’t think very, very soon,” he says, “but it really depends if Jenna’s show [Witches of East End] gets picked up for a third season. Then we would probably wait.” (After the interview, it was announced that the show will not be renewed).
“I would be immensely happy,” he adds about moving their family out to Ojai, Calif. “I just love the country.”
However, before anything happens, he’s really still trying to figure out this whole balancing process between marriage, family, work and health.
“There’s not enough hours in the day,” the Foxcatcher star admits. “I can’t schedule my life and give my daughter all the time that I want to give her and also my wife and all the creative stuff. You can’t really physically be fully present—mentally, spiritually. And that’s my struggle: putting things in perspective [and] being there for everything.”
Read his full interview on The Hollywood Reporter, which hits stands Nov. 14.